AARP Travel Trend Survey: Boomers Show No Sign of Slowing Down

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Annual survey shows family trips are top reason to travel, older adults to spend big

WASHINGTONA new AARP Travel survey reveals older Americans are embracing the chance to take flight this year, with most Baby Boomers expecting to spend $7,800 on vacations in 2020, a big jump from $6,600 in 2019. The annual travel trends survey examines the travel behaviors, expectations and planning among Boomers (ages 55 to 73), Gen Xers (39 to 54), Millennials (22 to 38), and families.

For domestic travelers, Florida is the most popular vacation state, with Orlando, Las Vegas, New York, Boston, and Los Angeles mentioned as favorite cities.  “Family or multi-generational trip” is most often cited as the reason for U.S. travel.  Of the four-to-five leisure trips Boomers are expected to take this year, at least half plan to take one or two trips abroad, with Paris, Aruba, London, and Barcelona topping the list of international destinations.

“This research shows that as more people retire, they’re willing to travel to higher-quality destinations and for longer periods, both abroad and domestically,” says Patty David, Director Consumer Insights, Personal Fulfillment. “Across all generations, though, connecting with family and friends, escaping from everyday life, and relaxation continue to be driving forces for wanderlust.”

Additional travel trends from the survey include:

  • For Boomers, the primary motivation for international travel includes “bucket list” trips (23%), multi-generational trips (12%) and solo travel (12%).
  • Half (51%) of all older travelers anticipate going abroad in 2020, with a quarter of all international trips (26%) taken by cruise ships.
  • 36% of Boomers mention visiting somewhere they’ve always wanted to go compared to 28% of Gen X and 26% of Millennials; however, Millennials are more likely to want to try something new on vacation (26%) versus 15% of Boomers and 16% of Gen X.
  • It’s sometimes said “Boomers go to see, while Millennials go to do,” and the survey confirms that: Boomers prefer dining out, tours and personal sightseeing, visiting museums, and quiet time; Millennials seek out food and beverage tours, adventure, theater, high adrenaline activities, and theme parks.
  • Younger adults are more likely to book travel activities ahead of time.
  • Boomers appear to take advantage of social connection while on trips, developing new friendships or relationships on vacation (83%), compared to 73% of Gen Xers and 69% of Millennials.

To view the full survey results, visit

AARP Travel, a valuable resource for Americans 50-plus, who spend over $149 billion annually on leisure travel, helps travelers stretch their dollar and itineraries while also stretching their minds and possibilities. AARP Travel provides all interested travelers with vacation ideas, tips and inspiration for their next getaway.

For more information travel tips, vacation ideas and destinations visit:


About AARP
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.


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