Baby Boomers, Undeterred, Plan to Travel Often in 2017

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Everyone loves vacation, and, according to data collected by AARP, most baby boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — said they will take at least one vacation in 2017, and on average, five.

The survey was conducted through e-rewards, a website that provides incentives to participate in online surveys, according to Patty David, senior research adviser for AARP.

Here are five insights AARP found about how boomers plan to travel, compared with their younger counterparts.

Warm and sunny make for a good getaway.

A 2017 vacation for baby boomers most likely will be in Florida (16 percent) or California (11 percent) during one of the warmer months of the year.

When it comes to domestic travel, the South (38 percent) and the West (32 percent) were overwhelmingly the popular choices with baby boomers.

The Northeast and Midwest lagged behind at 15 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

Internationally, the affinity for the warm weather continues with Latin America (Mexico, the Caribbean) being the most popular destination.

Additionally, more than 50 percent of boomers said they plan to take their vacation in either the spring or summer.

Europe is becoming less desirable.

Europe dropped in popularity among boomers, from 44 percent (2016) to 34 percent (2017).

The AARP’s David said this shift might reflect current events.

One of the top three travel barriers for boomers is a concern for security. Similarly, they expressed concern about political and social unrest, which went up 7 points with boomers to 22 percent.

Brands are a big deal.

Brand loyalty is a major factor: 82 percent of boomers are members of an airline loyalty program. In addition, roughly 70 percent of boomers will book their major travel expenses (flight, hotel and car rental) through a loyalty program provider.

Their “affinity for [loyalty programs] is higher than other generations,” said David.

But businesses beware, loyalty only goes so far.

“That does not mean they won’t back out of them,” she said.

Relaxation with friendly faces is the goal of a good vacation.

While millennials tend to travel for a new adventure, boomers remain most interested in relaxing with friends and family.

More than half of boomers said friends and family were their top motivation for traveling.

And whether it is domestic or international, the majority want their vacation to be laid back and relaxing.

Millennials and members of Generation X are more interested in physically active vacations.

Facebook is the social media network of choice.

Boomers are not heavily influenced by social media, relative to younger generations, when it comes to picking restaurants, airlines and making other travel choices. But if they are going to use social media on vacation, they tend to choose Facebook (57 percent).

Other websites such as YouTube (9 percent), Twitter (4 percent) and Instagram (3 percent) see slim to no attention from boomers, 68 percent of whom choose to not engage social media at all during their vacations.

jkatz@midatlanticmedia.com

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