AARP: Baby Boomers Show No Sign of Slowing Down

Older couple walking on a beach
Photo by OJO Images/Getty Images

Older Americans are planning to invest more in travel this year. A new AARP travel trends survey indicates that most Baby Boomers are expecting to spend $7,800 on vacations in 2020, a significant jump from $6,600 in 2019. The annual survey of travel behaviors, expectations and planning also looks at Gen Xers, Millennials and families.

For domestic travelers, Florida is the most popular vacation state, with Orlando, Las Vegas, New York, Boston and Los Angeles mentioned as favorite cities. “Family or multi-generational trip” is most often cited as the reason for U.S. travel. Of the four-to-five leisure trips Boomers are expected to take this year, at least half plan to take one or two trips abroad, with Paris, Aruba, London and Barcelona topping the list of international destinations. 

“This research shows that as more people retire, they’re willing to travel to higher-quality destinations and for longer periods, both abroad and domestically,” said Patty David, AARP’s director of consumer insights and personal fulfillment, in a written release. “Across all generations, though, connecting with family and friends, escaping from everyday life, and relaxation continue to be driving forces for wanderlust.”

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Additional travel trends from the survey include:

  • For Boomers, the primary motivation for international travel includes “bucket list” trips (23 percent), multi-generational trips (12 percent) and solo travel (12 percent).
  • About half (51 percent) of all older travelers anticipate going abroad in 2020, with cruises accounting for a quarter (26 percent) of all international trips taken.
  • Thirty-six percent of Boomers mention visiting somewhere they’ve always wanted to go compared to 28 percent of Gen Xers and 26 percent of Millennials; however, Millennials are more likely to want to try something new on vacation (26 percent) versus Boomers (15 percent) and Gen Xers (16 percent).  
  • Boomers prefer dining out, tours and personal sightseeing, visiting museums, and quiet time, while Millennials seek out food and beverage tours, adventure, theater, high adrenaline activities and theme parks.
  • Younger adults are more likely to book travel activities ahead of time.
  • Boomers appear to take more advantage of social connection while on trips, developing new friendships or relationships on vacation (83 percent), compared to Gen Xers and Millennials. (73 and 69 percent, respectively). 

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