People — 08 February 2016
Want to follow or buck the travel trends? First, you have to know what they are…

AARP recently released a survey highlighting travel trends for adults age 50+. According to the survey, adults age 50+ are expected to spend over $120 billion this year on leisure travel; they plan on taking 4-5 trips within the year. Travel continues to be the number one aspirational activity for people 50+.

2016 will bring a travel boom for Boomers:

  • 99% of survey respondents said they are planning to travel in 2016.
  • One in 10 said they booked their trip by September 2015, leaving time to research and plan things to do, places to eat and other activities to enjoy once they arrive at their destination.

Cost isn’t a factor:

  • 55% of survey respondents said cost was not a factor when planning their vacation. This is a sharp contrast to Millennials and
  • Gen Xers, more than half of whom said cost was a barrier for leisure travel.
  • Baby Boomers control 70% of the nation’s disposable income, so in 2016 they plan to use this income to treat themselves to fun leisure trips. Survey respondents said the reason for these trips is to spend time with family and friends, relax and get away from normal everyday life.
  • However, 50+ survey respondents said they are still interested in getting great deals as they book their travel and want to get the most out of their dollars.

AARPTypes of trips the 50+ group will be embarking on in 2016:

  • Domestic: 95% said they will travel domestically this summer. These trips primarily include summer vacations, multi-generational trips and weekend getaways. Popular domestic destinations include Florida, Las Vegas, California, New York and Hawaii.
  • International: 32% said they will be embarking on an international once-in-a-lifetime trip. International trips will be especially popular in the spring, when 29% of respondents plan to travel. England, the Caribbean and Mexico will be the top international destinations for these travelers.
  • Extended Family Trips: 26% of travelers 50+ will take at least one multi-generational domestic trip in 2016. While this is still a high percentage, it is down from 2015 when approximately 32% of 50+ travelers took a multi-generational trip.

What 50+ travels are looking for during these trips:

  • 43% of respondents said they must have free Wi-Fi in their hotel; 86% said they must have complimentary Wi-Fi in their vacation rental home.
  • 40% of respondents said they will stay at a hotel or motel. However, Airbnb and VRBO are gaining in popularity, with 9% of respondents saying they will be staying at one of these properties.
Celebration Vacations

Additional research focused on romantic travel and celebration vacation trends, which tend to be to adults-oriented destinations. Taking a trip to celebrate special milestones in life, such as birthdays and anniversaries, is a preferred activity among adults age 45+. Approximately three-fourths of adults in this age group have taken, or intend to take, a Celebration Vacation.

AARPFor celebration vacations, cities are the most popular destinations, followed by beaches. Romantic travel getaways tend to be shorter and closer to home, such as to a bed and breakfast or a nearby city. AARP found that adult travelers know that they are often going to the same places as families, so aim to visit during off season when the kids are in school.

  • There are a number of reasons why people choose travel as a way to celebrate, but the sheer enjoyment of it and the desire to get away top the list.
  • Celebration vacationers are looking for a laid back and relaxing trip, with many looking forward to spending time with family and friends.
  • Anniversaries and Birthdays are the most common milestones to celebrate with a trip, although they do not appear to be planned far in advance and may be a bit more spontaneous than other milestone trips.
  • Those celebrating the milestone are most likely the person doing all the planning, with the exception of those who are celebrating bigger birthdays (i.e. 70th), which are often planned by someone else.
  • Traveling within the U.S. is a popular choice for celebration vacations, followed by trips to a tropical location or Europe.
  • Approximately 50% of respondents claim to travel with just one other person, primarily their significant other. This is driven by the high incidence of anniversary trips; trips to celebrate birthdays or other milestones are more likely enjoyed with a variety of family and friends.
  • The hardest part of the travel process is planning the budget and sticking to it. Among those still in the planning phase of the celebration vacation, choosing the destination and travel dates are also challenges.
  • Regardless of the issues one might have faced, celebration vacations are extremely satisfying (96% Very/Somewhat Satisfied) to the point that most (92%) are likely to take one again in the near future.

– Text & images courtesy SBC Advertising for AARP

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