The better you understand your audience, the easier it becomes to sell to them. Whether your tour company or attraction caters to Gen-Zers or Baby Boomers, each generation has its own preferences and habits when it comes to booking travel.
As each generation evolves, so do their travel priorities. As each generation ages and becomes more financially stable, the types of trips they can take changes. Meanwhile, Americans of all ages are fueling the post-pandemic travel rebound — and they’re ready to spend big. About 72% of Gen-Zers planned or considered a big, splurge-worthy trip in 2022, followed by Millennials (68%), Gen-Xers (60%), and Baby Boomers (51%).
Keeping up with your audience’s travel preferences will help you better cater to them. In this post, we’re sharing the most important travel statistics by age group to help you reach the right travelers, at the right time.
How does age affect travel and tourism?
Every generation has a different approach to travel. Millennials, for example, are fine working and traveling at the same time — something Baby Boomers and Gen Xers don’t find very appealing.
Older generations have more time and money on their hands, especially as they near retirement. A retiree is going to travel a lot differently than a recent college graduate. Their trip might be farther away and last longer. Younger generations, on the other hand, might be more spontaneous and adventurous in their planning.
Understanding the way different generations are researching and booking their trips helps travel businesses better market themselves to the right audience.
Do Baby Boomers travel more than Gen X?
Baby Boomers represent the post-World War II generation. They were born between 1946 and 1964 and traveled the world through student exchange programs, the Peace Corps, military, or other non-traditional trips.
They have held onto their love for travel — and now they have the time and money to do so.
Baby Boomers take about 27 vacation days per year, which is quite close to the 26 days Gen Xers take. When they travel, they’re almost always doing so for vacation. They’re the least likely to travel for work; about 44% never do.
Does Gen X travel more than Millennials?
Millennials have long been known as a generation that prioritizes experiences and loves to travel — far more than Generation X.
Gen X is a small group born between 1965 and 1980. The generation does prioritize work-life balance, yet travels less than other generations due to hectic schedules. This generation faces heavy work and family commitments, which curbs their ability to travel as much as other generations.
Gen Xers also tend to allow their children to inform their travel decisions, making them largely dependent on secondary school or work schedules. They’re also deal-conscious and tend to stick to domestic trips.
On average, Gen Xers travel 26 days out of the year.
Do Millennials travel more than Gen Z?
This generation is known to travel the most, or 35 days each year to be exact. This might be because millennials don’t mind mixing work with vacation. They’re at the center of the “bleisure” trend, which is when a traveler adds a day or two of leisure vacation to their business trip.
Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials grew up in a tech-forward world. They’re very online, tech-savvy, and entrepreneurial-minded. This makes them the driving force behind the “work from anywhere” philosophy.
Needless to say, millennials are more prone to hit the road while working than any other generation. In fact:
- 70% have traveled for work in the last six months
- 92% would extend a business trip for pleasure
- 63% travel while working remotely
Does Gen Z travel the most?
Millennial travelers are closely followed by Generation Z.
Generation Z is made up of people born between 1996 to 2009. As Gen Z ages, they’re starting to enter the workforce and travel more with family, friends, or on their own. Before the pandemic, Gen Zers took nearly three leisure trips per year.
Now that the pandemic is subsiding, this generation of young travelers is leading the comeback: 72% say they intend to spend more or the same amount on travel in 2022 as they did before the pandemic.
Gen Zers prioritize adventure travel and don’t mind staying in cheap accommodations. Their trips are heavily influenced by social media and are bucket list-oriented. The generation is also showing a rising interest in sustainable travel, according to Expedia.
What generation is most likely to travel?
Millennials have typically traveled more than Gen Z, but the younger generation is quickly catching up. Both generations are eager to hit the road now that restrictions are easing and borders are reopening.
Over 71% of Millennials say they’re making plans to travel more, or the same amount, in 2022 than they did before the pandemic. Gen Z, specifically, is all about “revenge travel,” or planning big trips to make up for the past two years of lockdowns.
But the desire to travel again is seen across all generations: 82% of Baby Boomers and 75% of Gen-Xers plan on taking between one and five leisure trips within the coming year.
How much do Baby Boomers spend on travel each year?
How much do Gen Xers spend on travel each year?
Gen X travels less than other generations, yet they tend to spend more on vacation. These travelers spend an average of $914 per trip, versus $724 for Boomers and $836 for Millennials. Overall, Gen-Xers had a $5,400 budget for travel in 2019.
How much do Millennials spend on travel each year?
How much does Gen Z spend on travel each year?
Top Baby Boomer Travel Trends
- Baby Boomers are prioritizing small, private group travel, river cruising, and dream vacations.
- They find travel inspiration through word-of-mouth: 51% of Baby Boomers trust their friends’ recommendations for trips and experiences.
- About half of them say they’re already planning or considering splurging on a really big trip in 2022.
- Just over 80% of Baby Boomers plan to travel this year.
- As they retire, Baby Boomers are getting more spontaneous: 64% say they might book a trip no more than a month, or even less, in advance.
Top Gen X Travel Travel Trends
- Gen X travelers enjoy a broad range of experiences and attractions: 29% would try a group activity like an escape room and another 29% like the idea of seasonally themed tours.
- The majority of Gen Xers are fine with planning an experience, tour, or activity only 24 to 48 hours in advance.
- Where do they find their travel information? Google is Gen X’s top choice for discovering things to do while traveling.
- When it comes to booking, about 55% prefer to book travel through an Online Travel Agency (OTA)
Top Millennial Travel Trends
- Nearly 50% of Millennials prefer to book transportation and accommodations through an OTA.
- One in three typically plan their visits to a museum or attraction only 24 to 48 hours in advance. Meanwhile, about 25% only require a few hours notice.
- Millennials are willing to pay extra for a special, more personalized experience. For example:
- 33% would pay to interact with the animals at a zoo or aquarium
- 28% would pay to see an exhibit of a temporary seasonal event
- 27% would pay for a guided tour
- Millennials are the most likely to research trips and find things to do on travel blogs, online publications, and social media.
- Over half (53%) book travel through an OTA.
Top Gen Z Travel Trends
- Gen Z travelers typically visit three museums or attractions during a trip.
- About 54% of Gen Z travelers trust the recommendations of travel booking sites and apps.
- They’re actively researching travel on social media, too. Most Gen Z travelers (90%) use social media to find sources for booking and accommodation for their vacations.
- About 87% find it helpful to book all travel like flights, rental cars, and hotels under a single platform or website.
- So it makes sense that half of Gen Z says they prefer to book transportation and accommodations through an OTA.
- In fact, they are using OTAs and destination sites 30% more than before the pandemic.
In conclusion, most travelers are eager to hop in a car or a plane in 2022. They’re ready to
make up for lost time, and if you know your audience well enough, you can be the one to help them do that.