According to a new survey released by AARP Travel, baby boomers report that in 2018 they will have fewer barriers preventing them from vacationing. Of those surveyed, 20 percent predict they will experience no vacation barriers. This is up from the 12 percent reported for 2017.
The AARP Travel survey, which was conducted online in September 2017, included 1,728 participants age 20 and above. All respondents had taken at least one trip in the past two years during which they traveled more than 50 miles away from their homes and stayed at least two nights. They also frequented travel websites, and they already planned to take a leisure trip in 2018. After the data was collected, AARP weighed it with the U.S. Census for analysis by generation.
The survey found that for baby boomers who do predict vacation barriers, cost tops the list, with 40 percent of them reporting it as the most common vacation barrier. Other barriers that prevent baby boomers from vacationing include health (31 percent), weather (25 percent), family obligations (23 percent), security (22 percent), political or social unrest (18 percent), work responsibilities (9 percent) and lack of vacation time for their spouse or significant other (8 percent).
An increasing number of baby boomers reported their motivation for traveling will be to relax and rejuvenate, with 49 percent of them reporting this reason, compared to 38 percent reporting it last year. However, spending time with friends and family (57 percent) remains the primary motivation for them to travel. Additional travel motivations that made the list are “to get away from normal, everyday life” (47 percent), “to visit a place I’ve always wanted to go” (37 percent), “to share new experiences with significant other” (32 percent), “to go on an adventure” (21 percent), and “to try something new” (15 percent).
The survey also found that while Gen Xers and millennials are still more likely to stay with locals while traveling abroad, an increasing number of baby boomers are interested in “partaking in a more authentic, local experience.” More than half (53 percent) of baby boomers responding to the survey reported that they would be interested in eating a meal with locals while traveling internationally. Touring with locals also saw significant interest, with 49 percent of baby boomers traveling internationally reporting it as an area of interest. This number has increased significantly since last year, when only 40 percent reported interest.
Over all, the baby boomers surveyed expect to take four or five leisure trips in 2018. They anticipate spending, on average, around $6,400 on leisure travel, as much or more than they spent in 2017. Similarly, millennials forecast that they will spend even more than baby boomers at $6,800. Gen Xers, however, anticipate spending less than either group, with their projected numbers averaging around $5,400.
Other significant statistics gleaned from the survey involve the dynamic between work and vacation. Of employed baby boomers, 68 percent reported that they would use all or most of their vacation time. This is up from 59 percent for 2017.
More millennials plan to bring work with them than their counterparts in any other group. The majority of millennials, 74 percent, will take work with them on vacation, as opposed to 65 percent of Gen Xers and 56 percent of baby boomers. Those baby boomers say they will try to limit their work to just 10 percent of their leisure time.
For baby boomers “2018 travel plans are all about connecting with family while getting away from our daily stressors,” said Stephanie Miles, AARP senior vice president of integrated marketing and member benefits. “A vacation is often one of the best ways to renew and recharge ourselves, and it provides an opportunity for us to connect with others and build stronger relationships.”