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AARP Travel Research: Road Trips

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Road Trips are a popular form of travel among the 45-plus leisure travel audience, with 87% taking part in this mode of travel approximately three times a year.

Learn:  Find more reports from AARP Research

Key findings include:

  • On average, the one-way drive time for a Road Trip is 9 hours.  Upon arrival at the final destination, road trippers spend approximately 5 days, making the total Road Trip a 7-day excursion.
  • Regardless of drive time, the 45-plus road tripping audience consistently cites their trips involve 2-3 family members driving together in only one vehicle (95%) - likely a car (55%) or SUV (30%).

The 45-plus travel audience has embraced Road Trips, with 72% claiming it as their favorite way to travel, and 45% indicating the trip is about both the journey and the destination. The most popular reasons why travelers choose road trips are to have a vehicle at their destination (58%), for flexibility (46%), and for cost (35%).

Some common Road Trips must haves:

  • Water, sunglasses and snacks top the list of non-tech items.
  • And when it comes to tech must-haves (beyond a cell phone), 62% cite cell coverage as imperative, followed by an iPad/Tablet (40%) and a digital camera (39%).

Road trip activities show some differences between Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers:

  • Gen-Xers are more likely to use technology to assist them on their road trip than are Boomers. Seventy percent of Gen-Xers used the Internet to plan their most recent road trip, compared to just 47% of Boomers.
  • Boomers are more likely than Gen-Xers to do some routine maintenance on their vehicle prior to their trip.
  • Boomers are more likely to use a car on their road trip, while Gen-Xers are more likely to drive an SUV.

A 10-minute online survey was conducted among males and females age 45-plus who have taken at least one Road Trip in the past year.  The survey was fielded from May 5 through May 13, 2015.  Final data has been weighted to the U.S. Census for analysis. For more information contact Vicki Gelfeld at


Suggested Citation:

Kulwicki, Allison, and Vicki Gelfeld. AARP Travel Research: Road Trips. Washington, DC: AARP Research, June 2015.

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