Higher Prices at the Pump Fuel Changes in Holiday Travel Plans

Americans Determined to Travel for the Holidays; Majority Still Planning to Travel

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 23 /PRNewswire/ — Despite the impact of higher fuel prices on the cost of travel, resourceful Americans are finding ways to travel for the holidays this year — even if it means adjusting their plans. More than half of American adults (53 percent) are planning to travel this year, according to a recent survey by discount travel site Hotwire.com. Of those traveling, 61 percent stated that fuel prices have impacted their travel plans.

The survey results underscore how Americans continue to value celebrating the holiday tradition of traveling to see family and friends — or to simply get away. While fuel prices have impacted travel plans, the majority of Americans are still traveling. In fact, only 7 percent of those surveyed decided not to travel this holiday season as originally planned. Americans determined to travel this season are finding ways to adjust their plans and compensate for higher fuel prices. The top three strategies for those whose plans have been affected by fuel prices: taking fewer holiday trips, cutting down on the amount of time traveling or using a different mode of transportation.

For those Americans balancing the cost of holiday travel and gift purchases, many are finding that their shopping list is outweighing the cost of traveling for the holidays. The majority of those planning travel and purchasing gifts (63 percent) will spend less on travel compared to holiday gift purchases. In fact, only 17 percent of those traveling will spend more on travel than holiday gifts.

“The good news is that there are still ways for travelers to find savings on holiday travel. By traveling on off-peak days between Nov. 29 and Dec. 19, you can find significantly lower prices,” said Barbara Messing, vice president of customer experience at Hotwire. “And traveling on the holiday itself like Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, or New Year’s Eve can also yield lower prices for yuletide airfares, but still allow Americans to be home for the holidays.”

To help travelers maximize their holiday budget, Hotwire offers the following tips:

— Book early. The best deals won’t come to those who wait this year. As
the holidays draw near, prices will rise and there will be less
availability. It’s more important than ever to book early; if you see
a low airfare, don’t hesitate.
— Travel during off-peak times. Some of the best deals in travel are
during shoulder season, which is before and between the peak holiday
travel periods around Thanksgiving and Christmas. For more information,
check out Hotwire’s Plan Smart calendar:
— Don’t sleep on the couch. Because business travel comes to a halt
during the holidays and hotels face lower occupancy, there are some
incredible prices at many metropolitan hotels. Avoid your friend or
relative’s couch, and relax in a hotel room of your own.

– $41 / night 3.5-star hotel, St. Louis, Missouri — Downtown St. Louis
– $51 / night 3.5-star hotel, Orange County, Calif. — Anaheim
– $61 / night 4-star hotel, Dallas, Texas — Downtown Dallas
– $63 / night 3.5-star hotel, Phoenix, Ariz. — Downtown Phoenix
– $72 / night 4-star hotel, Chicago, Ill. — Magnificent Mile
– $79 / night 4-star hotel, Washington, D.C., — Dulles Airport

Survey Methodology

Harris Interactive(R) fielded the study on behalf of Hotwire from November 9-11, 2005, via its QuickQuery(SM) online omnibus, interviewing a nationwide sample of 2,086 U.S. adults aged 18 and over, of whom 1,134 are planning travel during the holidays this year. Data were weighted to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity, and propensity to be online. In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points of what they would be if the entire population of U.S. adults had been polled with complete accuracy. Sampling error for the sub-sample results of those planning travel for the holidays (1,134) is +/- 5 percentage points. This online sample is not a probability sample.

About Harris Interactive(R)

Harris Interactive Inc. (www.harrisinteractive.com), based in Rochester, New York, is the 13th largest and the fastest-growing market research firm in the world, most widely known for The Harris Poll(R) and for its pioneering leadership in the online market research industry. Long recognized by its clients for delivering insights that enable confident business decisions, the Company blends the science of innovative research with the art of strategic consulting to deliver knowledge that leads to measurable and enduring value.

Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe (www.harrisinteractive.com/europe) and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in Paris, France (www.novatris.com), and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE M/F/D/V

About Hotwire

Hotwire.com(R) is a leading discount travel site with low prices on airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, cruises and vacation packages. Launched in 2000, Hotwire negotiates deep discounts from its travel suppliers to help distribute their excess inventory. Hotwire is an operating company of Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPE) . CST: 2053390-40. For more information, visit www.hotwire.com.

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