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Christmas travel spending to increase, survey says

October 17, 2011 |  2:12 pm

LAXatXMAS

Despite continued high unemployment rates and a volatile stock market, American who plan to travel for the holidays expect to spend up to 43% more this year, according to a new survey.

The online survey released Monday by the American Express credit card company found that the percentage of Americans planning to travel for the holidays will stay about the same as last year.

But the survey also found that those Americans who plan to travel expect to spend about $659 on holiday travel this year, an increase of $200, or 43%, over last year.

Most of the additional spending, according to the survey, will go toward dining out and entertainment.

Although most Americans plan to drive to their holiday destinations, the percentage of travelers who will fly is expected to increase 10% to 36%.

"No matter where consumers choose to go, there is a clear interest in getting more out of travel," said Claire Bennett, senior vice president and general manager of American Express Travel.

Still, Americans continued to look for bargains. When asked what their first consideration was in planning holiday travel, 40% of those surveyed said budget while 25% said destination.

The survey, conducted by Echo Research for American Express, was completed online by 2,017 adults between Sept. 28 and Oct. 2.

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-- Hugo Martin

Photo: Holiday travelers line up at Los Angeles International Airport. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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