Last updated: 09:50 AM ET, Mon November 25 2013

Poll Details Latest Trends During Holiday Season

Destination & Tourism | Ryan Rudnansky | November 25, 2013

Poll Details Latest Trends During Holiday Season

The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker polled 1,500 people before the holiday season this year and revealed some interesting travel trends.

During the holiday season—Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah and New Year's—70 percent of travelers polled will travel by car. On the flip side, 35 percent will travel by plane (a 7 percent drop from last year).

The grand majority of travelers (68 percent) will meet up with family or friends.

Many people are focused on finding the best savings this holiday season. Over one-half of travelers (55 percent) expect to spend less than $600 per person (compared to 48 percent in 2012), cutting costs by staying at the homes of family and friends, researching deals online and using reward points.

One-third of those polled focus more on their budget than the destination. Another one-third target complimentary amenities at hotels such as spa treatments and dining credits. More than one-half of travelers who will be working with a travel agent consider "value added" to be the biggest factor in choosing an agent.

But just because people are seeking ways to save this holiday season doesn't mean they are willing to abandon their travel plans.

An amazing 75 percent of those polled claimed they would rather take a vacation than receive holiday gifts.

The reason why is simple: friends, family and relaxation are bigger priorities. Sixty-two percent said visiting family and friends was their main motivation for travel during the holiday season, while 49 percent said relaxation was their biggest priority.

But where is everybody going?

Well, during Thanksgiving, St. Thomas, New Orleans and Aruba are receiving the greatest uptick in tourist growth compared to last year. During Christmas, Kona, Punta Cana and Bangkok have seen the greatest spike.

Travelers continue to find ways to save during the holidays as the years roll by. And if that means skipping out on gifts, then so be it.

The holidays continue to be about visiting with family and friends, and the need to relax from the year's stresses is growing stronger.

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