AARP Research

AARP Travel Research: 2017 Travel Bucket Lists

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Travel bucket lists are common among Baby Boomers. On average, 38% have one and have already completed 25% of their trips. Other key findings from recent AARP Research on travel bucket lists showed:

  • Approximately half of all Baby Boomers have any kind of bucket list (46%).  Among those who do, the overwhelming majority (83%) report having travel-related items on their list.

    • Millennials and GenXers are more likely to have a Travel Bucket List (51% and 44%, respectively).

    • Roughly seven-in-ten African Americans, Acculturated Hispanics, and Acculturated Asians have travel-related items on their bucket list.
  • The creation of a Travel Bucket List is typically triggered when one hits a certain age, for Boomers, GenXers, and Millennials alike, with occasional revisions happening over time. The majority of Boomers (69%) keep a mental list.

  • On average, Boomers have 8 different destinations on their list; half are international destinations, half are domestic.  More than half (52%) identify a specific city or town they would like to visit, as opposed to a different type of location (beach, mountain, park, lake).

    • Millennials and GenXers have more destinations on their list than Boomers; 15 and 12, respectively.
  • Traveling to experience the destination in general is the motivation for half of these trips, while a specific attraction or activity is the motivation for the other half.

  • Although not much planning has actually taken place for the next trip on their list, many anticipate taking the trip in the next 2-5 years, most likely with just a significant other.

  • Boomers and GenXers, but to a lesser extent, most often report that their list gives them something to look forward to (37% and 27%, respectively) and gives them hope and motivation. 

    • Millennials are more likely to say that their list pushes them to experience new things (24%).
  • And while there is great joy in the planning and thinking about such trips, the reason for the list is to actually take the trip with most (69%) being fairly optimistic it will actually happen.  In fact, just a mere 3% admit the list is just for fun, with no real intention of taking the trips.

    • GenXers and Millennials are slightly more optimistic about the potential for their next Bucket List trip to actually come to fruition than are Boomers (77% each).

A 15-minute online survey was conducted among males and females age 18-plus who have traveled for a leisure trip in the past 2 years. The survey was fielded in December 2016. Final data have been weighted to the U.S. Census for analysis.  For more information contact Vicki Gelfeld at

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