Baby boomers travel statistics and trends infographic

Table of Contents


This work was carried out through the Osint (Open Source INTelligence) techniques aimed at finding and analyzing useful information for the purposes of the research.

The analysis through open sources consists in the application of analytical methodologies for the collection, processing and analysis of information. The ultimate goal is to transform what is apparently a confused set of disconnected data, facts and news into exploitable knowledge, thus offering a context consistent with the objective of this report.

Some of the Osint sources include:

  • Scientific and technical commercial databases;
  • Official and unofficial data of institutional bodies;
  • Information from professional and academic sources;
  • Search engines, used both with Boolean operators and with advanced operators;
  • Meta-browsers;
  • Software for the analysis of the social graph;
  • Software for the analysis of metadata and geolocation;
  • Social network;
  • Domain intelligence tools;
  • Network analysis;
  • Newspapers and magazines, institutional publications.

Given the consistency of the information to be compared and considering any cases of harmony, we inform you that the processing may present limited cases of inaccuracies or inaccuracies.

Market Research

The base year for data collection was 2019 due to the extraordinary impact of Covid-19 on the tourism and travel industry. However, to make the article complete, some of the trends that have arisen during the last years of the pandemic are also reported.

Key Facts and Statistics

Baby boomers have changed the face of the global population for more than 70 years. They make up a substantial portion of the world’s population, especially in developed nations. It represents 21.19% of the population of the United States of America, as of 2019 figures. In terms of travel, boomers spend a whopping $157 billion per year on travel.

The generation of baby boomers often have more time and money than their Genz Z, millennial and Gen X counterparts, they are far more likely to travel. Baby boomer travel statistics indicate that international and domestic travel are both popular among the boomer population, but during the pandemic Boomers preferred to travel domestically. They usually have a travel bucket list of locations they want to visit!

Travel is becoming more accessible and this demographic travels more and more often. Many Baby Boomers book their trips online! In addition, a growing number of boomers use their smartphones while traveling to search for places, to communicate, to program and to use industry-specific apps. Additionally, among boomers who travel, most take between 4-5 leisure trips a year. 88% of leisure travel clients fall into this age group, and they bring in billions of dollars in annual revenue. Last but not least, Boomers often plan ahead and book their trips months in advance.

Essential Baby Boomer Travel Statistics 20201/2021

  • Boomers travel a lot, most of them (53%) are retired, so they have a lot of time to spend on travel. Furthermore, taking into account that they have a higher generational income, it is not surprising that they plan ⅘ trips per year, even in the middle of the pandemic (2020/2021)
  • More than half of them (51%) would make at least one international trip, the same statistic as in the years prior to Covid.
  • Amsterdam, Amalfi and Barcelona are the most popular destinations in the EU, Tokyo, Japan, Sydney, Australia, and Marrakech are the most popular in the world.
  • 26% of all international trips will be taken via a cruise.
  • Most Boomers will travel domestically, averaging 3 or 4 trips in 2020 (½ are international).
  • The most common types of domestic travel are family trips (including multiple generations), weekend getaways, and summer vacations.
  • In the US, many will head south for some R&R (Florida, Texas, California), with the individual cities of Orlando, Las Vegas, New York, Boston, and Los Angeles mentioned most.
  • Boomers don’t mind spending in a pandemic, spending an average of $ 7,800, a significant increase over 2019 ($ 6,600). Boomers are planning more expensive destinations, longer stays, higher quality accommodations, and more activities.
  • On international travel, boomers’ favorite activities are sightseeing (both tour and personal) and dining out. For domestic travel, eating out, cooking, and / or relaxing, and some personal sightseeing.
  • The main reason boomers travel in 2021 is relaxing and rejuvenating, also spending time with family or friends, getting away from everyday life, and relaxing and rejuvenating as their top motives for travel.
  • Although the generations anticipate a similar number of trips in 2020 how much they spend on travel differs: Boomers with $7,800 are spending more than Millennials: $4,464 and Gen X: $6,191.
  • Boomers are more likely to cite a bucket list trip than are Gen Xers (23% vs. 13%) and more likely to cite a solo trip than Millennials (12% vs. 6%).
  • Boomers go to “see”, Boomers are more likely than those younger to say they travel because they want to “visit somewhere they’ve always wanted to go” (36% vs. ~26%)
  • Boomers are significantly more likely to take an international cruise than other generations (26% vs 7%).
  • On vacation, Boomers are more likely to engage in both tour and personal sightseeing and finding quiet time than are Millennials.
  • Boomers are using smartphone primarily as communication devices, it is not surprising that they tend to wait until they arrive at their destination to lock down plans.

Post Covid Trends

  • 70% of Baby Boomers know that travel in 2021 will differ from travel in past years.
  • They are more likely to take domestic road trips and visit only with immediate family.
  • 23% of boomers who are making travel plans for 2021 did not travel at all in 2020.
  • Many are motivated to travel in 2021 by a desire to reconnect with loved ones: 57% said that they are planning a trip in 2021 to spend time with friends or family.
  • The most enticing incentive for boomers are fully refundable tickets/reservations.
  • 84% of boomer travelers, when asked what would ease travel concerns, chose non refundable tickets.
  • 79% of boomers are concerned about “mandatory mask wearing”.
  • 93% percent said fear of COVID-19 was the reason to not to travel in 2020/2021, and 84% said any future travel would be dependent on a vaccine.
  • Boomers (58%) were more likely to have set aside unused travel funds for future getaways.
  • The majority (57%) of non traveling boomers said that they would save money for a trip after the pandemic.
  • When asked which travel destinations baby boomers would like to visit most post-COVID-19, Tokyo, Japan, Sydney, Australia, and Marrakech, Morocco were a few of the top destinations selected by the largest percentage of survey respondents. Amsterdam, Barcelona, and the Amalfi coast in Italy top the list of European travel destinations, while Honolulu, Costa Rica, and Toronto won out as the most desired destinations within North & Central America.
  • In a post-COVID-19 world, the majority of female baby boomers (36%) would most like to visit the beach, whereas the majority of male baby boomers (42%) would most like to visit the mountains.
  • Eating, drinking, and dining out are the activities of choice for the 55 and up generation post-COVID-19 but many are also looking forward to sightseeing tours and socializing with friends and family again.

How much do they spend on travel?

  • In the last few years, they spent roughly $2,000/4,000 more on vacations than both Millennials and Gen Xers.
  • about 95% of this demographic like to know that they have found the best deal before booking a trip,
  • Boomers spend over double the amount ($1,540) on accommodation than Millennials, however both groups will pay more for luxury.
  • A $157 billion is spent by boomers on vacations every year.
  • Over half (56%) of Boomers are willing to pay extra for a luxury trip.
  • Just 57% in this age bracket say that they consider budget as a factor in their trip.
  • 83% of boomers planning international trips had already chosen their destination for the next year.
  • Likewise, 88% had chosen their next year’s destination for domestic travel.
  • By September 2018, 14% had booked their 2019 destination. No data is available for 2020.
  • over half (55%) of Boomers take online reviews into consideration when planning a trip.
  • TripAdvisor, Travelocity, Expedia, Google Maps and Yelp. are the most popular online tools for booking and planning trips among boomers.
  • 89 % of Baby Boomers are planning to pay when doing a Multi-Generational holiday.

These travel statistics tell us a lot about the fact that boomers have the most spending power of all generations. In fact, they spend 157 billion a year on vacation, and they want this to be perfect. With only 57% of them taking the budget into consideration, the boomers are spared no expense and have a preference for luxury.

In fact, they spend more than double the other generations on accommodation.

How Often Do Baby Boomers Travel and What Type of Trips Do They Take?

  • 31% of Boomers planning international travel have already booked their trips for the next 6 month/1year.
  • 94% of Baby Boomers are expected to take a minimum of one domestic trip per year, with the average number of anticipated trips being 3-4.
  • Only 17% of boomers flying on business planned to combine it with a leisure trip.
  • travel bucket lists were checked off by 24% of boomers who traveled internationally in 2019.
  • Most boomers planned between 1 and 2 international trips in 2019, at 53% and also 2020/2021.
  • When they travel, the weekend is selected by 12% of domestic trips by boomers .
  • 13% will Travel with Grandchild(ren) domestically.

The boomers not only travel, but they do so many times during the year. Most prefer the summer months, so summer vacations are the most popular among travelers. On the other hand, 12% travel on weekends, but despite the length of the journey, they tend to experience it to the full.

Boomers are more likely to take trips where they can participate in a specific activity or relax, as opposed to seeking information. For example, they may prefer to go to Disney World over a museum or cultural landmark. Heritage trips, which appeal to younger generations, are the least popular travel activity for boomers. Only a paltry 1% of boomers have traveled in recent years to discover their origins and very few have chosen cultural destinations.

Where and how Do Baby Boomers Travel?

  • Boomers spend almost 1 month per year travelling (27 days) .
  • Baby boomers make up the biggest percentage Guernsey’s tourism. 61.6% those taking breaks to Guernsey are between 40 and 65, 25% are over 65.
  • The EU is considered by 41% of Boomers as their first choice for international travel.
  • The three most popular European countries for boomers to visit are Netherlands, France, and Italy.
  • And while the Caribbean and South and Central American draw significant attention as well, interest in Mexico continues to wane; down from 22% in 2017 to 4% in 2019.
  • 87% of boomers say that aircraft is their preferred method of travel.
  • 30% of Baby Boomers are renting a car during domestic trips and only 18% are renting a car during international trips.
  • Baby Boomers are using the train 18% of time when traveling internationally, against the 5% of time while travelling domestically.
  • 3% of them are travelling by Boat, Shuttle or Bus in a domestic trip, while 11% of boomers use these transportations during their international travel.
  • 61% of boomers cited their vehicles as the main mode of domestic travel.
  • Boomers who choose to fly only domestically in the last few years are 66%.
  • The most popular domestic destinations in the United States for boomers are Florida, California, and New York.
  • Most travelers are drawn to the Southern (38% interested) and Western (29% interested) American states.
  • 62% of boomers traveling domestically prefer hotels and motels as accommodation.
  • Boomers who traveled internationally preferred staying in a hotel/motel 66% of the time.
  • Only 3% of them are renting a house while travelling and just 1% are RV/camping.
  • 38% of boomers were interested in visiting the South American.
  • 29% of boomers prefer visiting the Western United States.

The average baby boomer spends almost a month every year traveling, with 41% of this age group preferring to visit Europe.

Both on domestic and international travel, boomers prefer to use the plane because it is the most convenient in terms of speed and comfort. Boomers prefer to stay in hotels / motels rather than live with the locals. The United States is regarded as a boomer-friendly destination.

Why do baby boomers travel?

  • 24% of baby boomers are travelling because of Summer Vacation.
  • 10% of them are traveling for a Romantic Getaway.
  • Family trips account for 10% of Baby Boomers trips.
  • Baby Boomers are traveling to celebrate vacation 8% of the time.
  • 8% of Baby Boomers want to perform Solo Travel.
  • Baby Boomers travel to celebrate weddings or graduation 7% of the time.
  • 4% of Baby Boomers are traveling because of a Family Reunion.
  • 5% because of Girls Getaway, while 1% for Guys Getaway.
  • Only 3% for Holiday Travel during the pandemic.
  • Unfortunately, the 3% because they are obliged or it is required to travel.
  • Only 2% are travelling for a Weekend Getaway.
  • 2% of them are having the Spring Break.
  • Just 2% of Baby Boomers are adventurers.
  • 1% of them are traveling to finalize a heritage process.

Most of the boomers travel for summer holidays, however a good 10% say they are on a romantic getaway with their partner or on a family trip. While other generations are more likely to travel alone, a good 8% of boomers have traveled alone in the last few trips, nevertheless, boomers love luxury and only 2% consider themselves an adventurer when traveling.

How Do Baby Boomers Use Their Phones When Traveling?

  • 92% of boomers who travel bring their smartphones with them on domestic trips.
  • When on an international holiday, they carry their smartphones on them 52% of the time.
  • Only 7% of boomers do not use phones during any trip.
  • The majority of boomers (85%) take photos on domestic holidays.
  • Instead, while on international holidays, 83% of travelers take photos.
  • On international holiday travels, boomers are less likely to use their phones, at a rate of 54%.
  • 72% of baby boomers use their phones on domestic holidays.

Now more than ever, smartphones are a necessity for boomers. Boomers will usually keep their phones close when traveling domestically because they can use it to make calls or search online for the latest news. As for international travel, boomers use their phones less frequently. Those who do opt to take their phones with them only use them to take photographs of their trips. With more boomers on social media, they are now more familiar with how these platforms work and use their smartphones to share their travel experiences with others. Although phones are considered essential accessories for most people nowadays, boomers are still content to go without them. However, the statistics show that this trend is changing.

Which Loyalty Programs Are Most Popular with Boomers?

  • loyalty membership for cruises is the most popular (27%) of subscribers.
  • 78% of boomers have an airplane rewards membership.
  • The majority of boomers (76%) are enrolled in hotel rewards programs.
  • Car rental loyalty programs are very popular between boomers with 40% holdership.

Due to the fact that boomers travel more, there is also an increase in loyalty programs among them. In fact, most of them who hold an airline pass are enrolled in a loyalty program.

What Do Baby Boomers Seek When They Travel?

  • One of the primary reasons for boomer travel before pandemic was cited as visiting friends and family, at 57%.
  • Leisure is the second most popular reason for travel before the pandemic, at 48%.
  • Half of boomers (47%) want to change their normale life and take a break from their responsibilities.
  • Roughly half of respondents (48%) want to relax and rejuvenate when traveling.
  • Only 22% of baby boomers prefer staying with locals in international and local destinations.
  • 53% of boomers who travel internationally want to eat local food.
  • 42% of them have an interest in eating local food while travelling domestically.
  • Most boomers (50%) prefer sightseeing with a local at an international destination.
  • 24% of Boomers want to stay with locals in a domestic destination.

Among travelers, boomers are looking for more and more rich experiences. Often, they have children and grandchildren who live far away, so it is common for most pre-pandemic travel to be family in nature. More and more boomers enjoy learning about the local culture, despite always appreciating their traditions. The majority of people in the boomer age group still prefer sightseeing in international destinations. That’s why travel markets are paying more attention to this angle, thanks to boomers’ purchasing power, and offer domestic services that cater to and appeal to boomers.