According to a study by AARP, Baby Boomers – and those Generation Xers aged 45-49 – will have taken 4-5 trips by the end of the year. That means all year long millions of educated and affluent travelers over the age of 45 are taking to sky, sea, road, and rail en route to destination vacation. They spend about $120 billion yearly for leisure travel, and there is no sign of this trend slowing down.
So where are they going?
All over! More than half stay within the United States – but a (huge) 42% divide their travel between the U.S. and other countries. For those going to Europe or someplace tropical, many categorize their trips – especially in the summer months – as highly anticipated “bucket list” adventures. These travelers want to see castles in Ireland, eat great food in Italy, explore tropical reefs while scuba diving, or discover the cultural heritage of their ancestors. Multi-destination cruises within the Caribbean remain hugely popular as well.
Travel within the United States includes long weekend getaways to cities like Las Vegas, Boston, and New York City. For domestic trips of a longer duration, Boomers are choosing the coasts (think: Florida beaches, California wine country; and more New York City), along with places like Texas for all things country and the Rocky Mountains for ski adventures, hiking, and camping.
And why are they going?
This group of travelers has been in the workforce for well over 20+ years. Now they are using their accumulated vacation time – or perhaps retirement – for personal time. Indeed, according to the study, the number one motivator, at 57%, is to “get away from normal, everyday life.” Another 54% say they simply want to “relax and rejuvenate” on a hassle-free vacation.
Still, it’s hard to ever completely disconnect, and a full one-third of travelers that are still working take work with them. And 20% pack a laptop. (Insert frown face here.) But at least the intent is to relax and get away from everyday life.…
But who are they going with then?
It depends. At this point in their lives, Boomers have been married, remarried, divorced, maybe widowed, maybe always single. They are parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, and friends.
In addition to multi-generational trips and those vacations taken with a spouse or partner, Boomers are planning guys’ weekends; girls’ getaways; and an increasing number of singles’ vacations. In fact, for those that are not married, the study finds that they are “significantly more likely to be thinking about or planning a solo vacation.”
Indeed, solo traveling has been increasing among travelers of all ages, but Baby Boomers and older GenXers are leading that trend as about one-third of them are single. Some may prefer to travel alone, but others simply do not have a traveling companion.
For those travelers aged 45+ that are single and do want the fun, comfort, ease, and safety of traveling with others, many are opting for singles group travel. Gone are the days of your grandmother’s bus tours. Single group travel vacations can take you to places you’ve always dreamed about – the Galapagos, South America, Scotland, Yellowstone – with an interesting and exciting mix of people from all over the country, all seeking the same adventure.