As the travel and tourism industry keeps growing, travel trends keep changing. The switch to online solutions brought about one of the most significant changes in terms of booking. More and more people book their vacations with online travel agencies, as it’s easier, faster, and more convenient.
However, most of the latest travel trends have to do with different age groups and their changing habits regarding travel. Let’s dig deeper into those travel trends by age demographic to better understand who travels the most and how age affects their travel decisions.
Who Likes to Travel More: Older People or Younger People?
Numerous studies published over the years have shown that younger people like to travel more than older people.
According to US travel statistics by Expedia Media Solutions published on Skift, millennials travel the most, with an average of 35 annual vacation days. Generation Z members follow closely behind, using approximately 29 days per year for their vacations.
With about 27 vacation days per year, baby boomers take third place, while Generation Xers use an average of 26 days per year for traveling.
Eurostat confirms that senior travelers in Europe also participate less in tourism. In 2018, only 15.5% of UK residents in the 55-64 age group participated in tourism, and 18.6% of people aged 65+.
Almost half (46%) of the European population aged 65+ didn’t travel in 2018 due to health reasons.
Despite health reasons, what else influences these differences in the frequency of travel?
Well, older generations typically have more commitments, such as work and family. Younger people usually have more free time to travel, especially during school holidays.
However, the youngest generation travels the least because they have less time and finances than their older counterparts.
What Inspires Different Age Groups to Travel?
Expedia Media Solutions also researched the reasons why different age demographics travel.
Visiting family is the top reason why 67% of baby boomers and 56% of Generation Z travel. Relaxing is the number one reason why 55% of millennials and 51% of Generation Xers travel.
Other reasons include sightseeing, special events, and romantic getaways.
When it comes to younger generations, especially millennials, traveling is a way of meeting new people, learning about history and different cultures, and creating memorable experiences.
While some older people care about such experiences, too, most of them prefer visiting their family and friends.
The Most Popular Travel Destinations by Age Demographic
As we age, we also seem to change our desires regarding visiting certain travel destinations. When we’re younger, we tend to visit more exotic places where we can have fun.
When we get older, we want a more laid-back journey where we can spend quality time with friends and
family. That often means taking domestic trips, or at least shorter international trips.
According to AARP, the most popular international travel destinations of baby boomers in the US are the Caribbean, Mexico, and the British Isles, while California and Florida remain their domestic favorites.
When it comes to senior UK residents aged 65+, they love visiting France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal, according to Avanti.
Groups Today found that the top travel destinations of millennials are Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Sydney, Buenos Aires, and San Francisco.
When it comes to older Chinese tourists, they prefer visiting Thailand, Japan, and Singapore.
Booking Trends by Age Groups
The Expedia Media Solutions research above also found different travel trends by age demographic regarding booking and accommodation.
Most of the Generation Z members (90%) use social media to find sources for booking and accommodation for their vacations. Only 10% of baby boomers use social media for the same reasons, while 66% of them make booking and accommodation decisions after seeing online ads.
Online ads also influence millennials, with 72% making their travel decisions after clicking through.
Booking through online travel agencies is the most popular choice among millennials (53%) and Gen Xers (55%).
Travel Spending Habits of Different Age Groups
When it comes to spending habits, baby boomers tend to spend more on traveling than any other age group.
The Expedia Media Solutions poll showed that they were willing to spend an average of $6,600 per year for all their trips.
Millennials weren’t too far behind, with plans to spend $5,000 or more on traveling. Generation Z had plans to spend approximately $2,628.
How Does Age Affect Travel and Tourism?
As we age, we tend to change our mindset about exploring the world. We still want to see the world, but we prefer to take trips in a leisurely manner and stay longer to explore new places fully.
That’s why baby boomers usually take the longest trips.
Younger generations typically want more excitement, and they’re not often tied to the budget. They prefer all-inclusive bookings, as they’re primarily looking for relaxation and comfort.
So, whether it’s luxury trips or more affordable yet longer trips, both strengthen the tourism industry.
Solo Travel Is on the Rise
According to Condor Ferries, solo travel bookings have increased by 42% in the past couple of years.
In the US, 58% of millennials prefer solo travel, as opposed to 47% of older people.
Again, millennials are all about new and exciting experiences and embracing the YOLO lifestyle. So, traveling alone, on their own terms, only inspires them to keep exploring the world and checking items off their bucket list.
These travel trends by age demographic are quite insightful and can significantly help provide a better customer journey to travelers in different age groups.
So, whether you’re a hotel distributor or a travel wholesaler, or you run a travel agency, consider these useful stats. They’ll help you optimize your marketing and the booking process, boost sales, and take your business to a whole new level.
Marc, who graduated from Balearic Is. University of Tourism, is an experienced Business Development Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the leisure, travel & tourism industry. His skills in Negotiation, Hospitality Management, Customer Service, Sales, and Hotel Management, make him a strong business development professional in the Travel Industry.