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Trend Alert: Americans 50-plus Say Au Revoir Europe and Bienvenido a Latin America

AARP’s Annual Travel Survey shows Boomers are spending on travel and headed to new destinations – both domestically and internationally

Media Contacts:
Eden Godbee, AARP, (202) 412-2687, egodbee@aarp.org

WASHINGTON D.C.   With 99% of Americans age 50 and older traveling for fun and spending roughly $125 billion on leisure travel, it is no wonder Boomers are using their vacation days to travel south of the border and domestically, according to AARP’s new 2017 Travel Trends survey released today. 

The majority of Boomers plan to take, at least, one leisure trip in 2017 and the average Boomer plans to take five or more leisure trips throughout the year. Sound like a lot, huh? Well Boomers are on the move, both, domestically and internationally!

Among domestic destinations, Boomers still favor Florida, California and Las Vegas, much like previous years. But among international destinations for Boomers, Latin America is heating up! While European travel is cooling off, significantly.

AARP Travel Ambassador Samantha Brown thinks many factors may be influencing this shift.

“Boomers have been travelling to Europe since the 1960s – it was probably their first big trip. They slept on trains and stayed in hostels and have been going back again and again. And now they want a change,” Brown says.

Latin America has emerged as the most popular destination for Boomers traveling internationally – with 3 of the Top 5 destinations falling south of the U.S. border!

Top 5 Destinations for International Boomer travel include:

  1. Mexico
  2. The Caribbean
  3. England/UK/Ireland
  4. Central/South America
  5. Italy  

According to Brown, “Latin America could be a closer flight or an easier flight. And it’s an easier time change, for the most part. There are travel trends that Latin America speaks to more than Europe, like wellness. That could be anything from yoga retreats, hiking or helping out the community.”

Boomer travelers are intrigued by the idea of an authentic or “off the beaten path” travel experience, both, domestic and international.

  • 50% of Boomers want to eat a meal with locals
  • 23% of Boomers want to tour with locals
  • 18% of Boomers want to stay with a local host/host family 

People are travelling to feel included in the world, so they don’t want to ride on tour buses anymore or wait in long lines. They want to be in the moment and to go where the people are,” Brown said.

44% of Boomers want to take more domestic trips in 2017. And according to Brown, the popular domestic destinations remain popular because of their expansive landscapes and varied price points.

“California could be its own country; it offers deserts, mountains, forests. There are endless possibilities for adventure, culture and fun. And Florida has over 2K miles of coastline; so you can go on a budget or you can go all out.”

But Boomers aren’t too concerned about budget.

Only 40% of the Boomers set a budget – as opposed to 62% of Millennials and 54% of GenXers. In addition, the majority of Boomers don’t seem to be deterred by high priced airfare. And those who are do not let it stop them.  They take a road trip instead.

Nonetheless, very few travelers encountered major issues with leisure travel plans.

Most Boomers are members of one or more travel loyalty programs. And they usually book directly through those programs online. However, AARP is making travel simple with trip planning and helpful travel information on how to plan your next getaway or vacation. For more information, visit travel.aarp.org

 “AARP Travel uniquely focuses on Boomers and those over the age of 50-plus. Our content is curated for mature travelers, diverse in thought and experience – we offer information for those taking their first trip and those who’ve been travelling their entire lives,” says Stephanie Miles, SVP of Integrated Marketing and Member Benefits at AARP.

AARP has been a leader in the field of travel for people 50-plus and their families since 1958 and identifies emerging trends that influence how their members dream, plan and book vacations.  AARP Travel provides information, tools, and gives access to discounts to help people 50-plus plan, book, and experience trips they want to take – whether it is a quick getaway or a trip of a lifetime. For the full report on 2017 AARP Travel Trends, visit www.aarp.org/2017traveltrends

Suggested tweets:

  • Did you know? Boomers are interested in traveling to Latin America. See more cool facts in @AARP 2017 #Travel Trends. www.aarp.org/2017traveltrends
  • Boomer Travelers are interested in local experiences & are a part of loyalty programs. See @AARP 2017 #Travel Trends. www.aarp.org/2017traveltrends
  • According to @AARP 2017 #Travel Trends, nearly all Boomers will take at least one leisure trip next year. Learn more. www.aarp.org/2017traveltrends

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About AARP
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.

About the 2017 AARP Travel Trends Survey
This 15-minute online survey was conducted September 15-24, 2016 among males and females 18 and older who had taken at least one trip 50 miles or more away from home, with a two-night stay, in the past two years

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