Baby Boomer travel continues to rise! World Economic Forum said it best: “Forget millennial backpackers – globetrotting Baby Boomers are transforming travel.” This actually comes as no surprise, with industry research finding Baby Boomers spend a whopping $157 billion on trips every year.
Since the Baby Boomer generation is so large, their impact on the travel industry doesn’t go unnoticed. A slice of the population that sizable having the time and money to spend means great things for global tourism.
But why? What caused the uptick in Baby Boomer travel? Many contributing factors – including having more free time during retirement, ease of travel and planning as technology continues to improve, and having money to spend – have ushered in a new wave of older travelers.
BABY BOOMER TRAVEL MADE EASIER
Technology has arguably made travel an easier prospect for everyone – Baby Boomers included – from ease of booking travel, to ease of research and comparing trips, to staying connected on the go.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. An impressive 84% of Baby Boomer travel trips are booked online (source: Sabre). This habit isn’t limited to simply hopping online and booking a flight. Many boomers also book hotels and car rentals online.
Thanks to the Internet, Baby Boomers dive more into traveling now because they have so much more information right at their fingertips. In addition to booking through travel websites, studies find that 72% of boomers research and compare trips online during the planning process.
Then there’s the consideration of staying connected. While vacation is a perfect time to unplug and get away, that doesn’t necessarily apply to the entirety of a trip. With 59% of younger Baby Boomers (aged 51-59) and 46% of older Baby Boomers (aged 60-69) owning smartphones (according to Pew Research), it comes as no surprise that 55% of Boomers say having their smartphone is essential while traveling.
Don’t forget your wifi! According to AARP, nearly half of Baby Boomers say they’ll only choose hotels with free wifi.
TRAVELING THROUGH THE GOLDEN YEARS
While it is true that not all Baby Boomers are retired, many are. After oftentimes spending an entire lifetime working, raising a family, etc., bigger, more involved trips are on the horizon! Baby Boomer travel differs from other traveling demographics in a financial way. This is a demographic who has the money and time to spend – and they’re willing to spend both. An incredible 99% of boomers will take at least one leisure trip this year – with an average of a total of five trips throughout the year.
Boomers come from a more hands-on, people-oriented, learn-through-experiencing era. Unlike their younger counterparts, they have a bit more drive to get out there and do & experience things, rather than viewing them through the lens of an Instagram filter or Facebook feed.
These are lifelong learners – with intrinsic motivation for self improvement. The desire to learn from other cultures and to oftentimes give back through volunteer vacationing isn’t surprising, since 43% of boomers hope to travel domestically and internationally in 2017.
Finally – and maybe most obviously – the most popular reason for baby boomer travel involving international trips: Bucket Lists! What better time to mark off those boxes than when you retire?!
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Baby Boomer travel will continue to make an impact on travel and tourism. Between traveling five or more times per year (with at least one international trip), spending upwards of $157 billion on travel, and controlling more than 70 percent of disposable in the United States by 2017, these Boomers are here (and there, and everywhere!) to stay!
What’s on your retirement travel bucket list? Tell us in the comments below!