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AARP Research

AARP Online Travel Study

Those who are 50 or older take about six non-business related overnight trips of at least 50 miles from home per year.

  • The top two reasons that those 50 or older travel are (1) to spend time connecting with family or friends, and (2) a vacation of 5 or more nights.
  • Eight out of 10 persons age 50 or older use websites to plan as well as book their non-business travel. 
  • Of those 50 or older who do not plan or book non-business travel online, their top reason is that they prefer to call directly to the local area (21% for planning, 25% for booking).
  • The top three websites for those 50 or older for both planning and booking non-business related travel are: hotel websites, airline websites, and travel websites  (i.e. Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz). 
  • Currently those 50 and older use, on average, 4 websites to plan and 3 websites to book their non-business related travel.  Almost a quarter would prefer to use fewer websites to plan or book non-business travel.  On average, for those preferring fewer, the preference would be about 2 for planning and 1 for booking, half as many as they currently use.
  • The top two reasons those 50 or older use their current number of websites to plan or book non-business travel are: want to get the best deals (68%) and information wanted cannot be found on just one site (61%).
  • Currently those 50 and older spend, on average, about 30-36 hours a year online planning their non-business related trips (~6 trips x 5-6 hours per trip).  On average, the preference would be about 12-18 hours per year (3 hours less per trip) online planning non-business related travel.  Additionally, they spend about 18 hours a year (~6 trips x 3 hours per trip) online booking non-business travel, and would prefer to spend about 12 hours per year (at least an hour less per trip).  
  • The most used planning sites are airline websites, TripAdvisor, and hotel websites.  The most used booking sites are airline and hotel websites. TripAdvisor planning users are the most satisfied (89%) and prefer TripAdvisor for its Reviews/ Recommendations/ Feedback from others.
  • Four out of ten of those 50 or older watch travel shows on TV.   Of those who watch, they are most likely to select Rick Steves as their favorite host (37%).

This survey was done on a sample of 1,000 travelers age 50 or older (500 AARP members/500 non-AARP members) who have used an online travel site in the past 2 years and a sample of 125 travelers who have never used an online travel site via an online survey using e-Rewards Opinion Panel. Data were weighted by age to match the US population. For more information, please contact Patty David at

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Rebecca Gillian

AARP Research's Senior Vice President Becky Gillan blogs about recent AARP research and her experiences as a member of the 50+. Read

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