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Purdue survey: Many expect same or lower holiday travel costs this year

December 23, 2014
Car packed for vacation

Most people who said in a Purdue University nationwide survey that they planned to travel over the Christmas holiday expected to spend about the same on travel as last year or even less.

An expected decrease in travel costs could be the result, at least in part, of plummeting gasoline prices.

"Given the lower expenses U.S. residents are experiencing at the gas pump recently, it is not surprising that venturing over the hills and through the woods this Christmas is expected to be less expensive than in previous years," the researchers said in an Agricultural Economic Insights blog posting that detailed the survey results.

Twenty-four percent of the 620 U.S. residents participating in the survey said they expected to travel over the Christmas holiday. Of those, 53 percent expected to spend about the same amount on holiday travel as last year and 12 percent less. Thirty-five percent expected to spend more.

The online survey was conducted Nov. 17-19 by researchers in the agricultural economics and consumer sciences departments - before gasoline prices dropped so drastically. The survey gathered respondents' insight into plans for this holiday season, including intended spending and meal planning.

As expected, the most common reason given for traveling over the holiday was to visit family and friends.

"When looking at the intentions for spending on holiday travel by income level, we notice that the sentiment is the same across the board; there aren't major differences in anticipated travel spending related to household income," the researchers said.

The survey was conducted by agricultural economics associate professor Nicole Olynk Widmar and doctoral student Elizabeth Byrd, and consumer science assistant professor Lalatendu Acharya.

The survey consisted of male and female respondents in a range of ages, income and education, and from all regions of the country. The results were not projected to reflect the expected spending of the U.S. population as a whole.

The complete survey results, including other holiday topics such as meal planning and health, are available at http://ageconomists.com/2014/12/21/healthy-holidays.

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