5 Baby Boomer Travel Trends

The 50-plus crowd wants to take memorable trips with loved ones, an AARP study shows.

By Julie Loffredi, ContributorOct. 8, 2015
U.S. News & World Report

5 Baby Boomer Travel Trends

A senior couple takes a walk in nature.

Older travelers are booking cruises and planning trips to Europe and tropical locales this year.(iStockPhoto)

A growing number of older Americans are traveling. While an increasing number of travel brands are targeting millennial travelers with tech-savvy digital tools, according to 2014 AARP survey of more than 800 participants ages 50 and up, baby boomers are making travel a priority. The study, which evaluated travel trends for 2015 among the 50-plus demographic, found that baby boomers are planning to hit the road and take to the skies with the hope of creating lasting memories with family and friends.

So, for those 50-plus travelers planning a trip, here's what research reveals will likely drive your next vacation.

You'll Want to Relax

According to the survey, the top motivators for baby boomers to plan personal getaways include getting away from normal, everyday life, spending time with family and friends and relaxing. The survey also found that that older travelers are likely to bring practical items, like sturdy shoes, sunglasses and prescription medication to maximize comfort and relaxation during their vacation.

Beyond escaping the daily grind to catch up on rest and relaxation, AARP Travel Ambassador Samantha Brown encourages older adults to book that next vacation, in part, for the health and emotional benefits. "It is proven psychologically that we make stronger family bonds when we travel than any other time of the year when we are home. It really is an investment in your life," she says.

You'll Prefer Summer Vacations and Weekend Getaways

The AARP survey found that those 50 and older prefer domestic travel during the summer months and enjoy weekend getaways. And according to a 2014 survey conducted by AAA Travel, an increasing number of travelers are choosing to book a trip with extended family members. The survey shows multigenerational family vacations were up 4 percent from the previous year, and 36 percent of families were planning to take a multigenerational family trip in the following year. A 2014 Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts survey also revealed that one in five grandparents reported going on a Disney vacation with their grandchildren.

You'll Plan a Trip to Europe, a Tropical Location or a Cruise

Internationally, Europe and tropical locations are the most sought-after destinations abroad for older adults, according to the AARP survey. In addition, cruises continue to attract an older clientele, with 18 percent of baby boomers reporting to plan a cruise in 2015.

Another popular trend among those over 70 is bucket-list trips. And according to the survey findings, those planning bucket-list vacations are likely to define their vacation as educational, while those organizing a domestic trip are likely to classify their trip as adventurous.

You May Consider Travel Medical Insurance

This is especially true for travelers who are enrolled in Medicare and do not have coverage extended outside the United States. Travel medical insurance is a popular option for adults, especially seniors, who want coverage for emergency medical insurance and emergency medical evacuation coverage.

You'll Seek Out Travel Perks

Older adults will likely take advantage of perks, especially those 60 and up who fall under the senior category.

How to find these discounts? Check AARP for members-only travel deals for senior travelers. AARP members can also take advantage of discounts on select hotels and up to 25 percent savings on cruise credits and car rentals.

Also look for reduced rates on state and city websites. Hotel brands also offer substantial discounts. For example, Marriott slashes rates by 15 percent or more for seniors 62 and older staying at any of their 4,000-plus properties across the globe. And Norwegian Cruise Line offers a 5 percent discount to AARP members who book their trip at least nine months ahead of their sail date. Conduct plenty of research, and don't forget to inquire about special senior rates.

Julie Loffredi, Contributor

Julie Loffredi is an award-winning journalist and correspondent. She writes about travel tips ...  Read more

Tags: travel

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Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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