Hawaii is the top bucket-list travel destination among boomers dreaming of taking a domestic vacation, according to a recent AARP study, which found that 18 percent of those polled hope to slip a lei over their shoulders and soak in some island sun within the next few years.
Rounding out the top five domestic travel bucket list destinations for boomers were Alaska (12 percent), California (8 percent), Arizona (8 percent) and Nevada (7 percent). Among international bucket list destinations for boomers, Australia tops the list at 13 percent, followed by Italy (12 percent), the U.K./Ireland (11 percent), France (10 percent) and the Caribbean (7 percent).
The recent survey, which polled 1,630 people over age 18 who had traveled on a pleasure trip within the past two years, found that nearly half of all boomers who responded actually keep a bucket list of things they’d like to do. Of that group, travel was the most popular inclusion, appearing on 83 percent of all wish lists. That number drops slightly for younger generations, as Gen Xers surveyed included travel on 76 percent of their bucket lists and millennials, only 69 percent.
Boomers, however, seem to be more selective: The average number of bucket list destinations among boomers was eight (four domestic, four international), while the average Gen Xer lists 12 destinations, and the average millennial includes 15. Though they may have fewer places in mind, boomers were less optimistic that their next bucket list trip will actually happen. While more than three-quarters of Gen Xers and millennials believe they will surely check off the next trip on their bucket lists, only 69 percent of boomers have such a rosy outlook for their travel plans.
As for traveling companions, spouses or significant others topped the survey by a wide margin, with 65 percent of respondents pointing toward a couples’ getaway. But don’t underestimate the solo traveler; more people who responded to the poll indicated they would take their next dream trip by themselves (18 percent) than with their children (16 percent) or grandchildren (4 percent).
For all respondents, keeping a bucket list seems to have a positive effect on their states of mind, with nearly 40 percent citing that they maintain the list of aspirational destinations in order to have something to look forward to. Other popular reasons for keeping a travel bucket list included: “Make the most of my life,” “Experience new things” and “Dream.”
And, according to the survey, the daydreaming of all the places you’ll see is just as fun as actually seeing those places. When asked which part of a trip brought the most pleasure, dreaming about it tied with experiencing it — with 29 percent of respondents choosing each stage as their favorite part of the bucket list trip experience.