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Baby Boomers And Millennials Disagree When Planning Travel

Travelers Today       By    Staff Reporter

Updated: Aug 11, 2020 10:16 AM EDT

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Summary

  • Boomers take quite a different approach to Millennials when it comes to planning a vacation.

  • For example, Baby Boomers are much less price-sensitive than younger generations, so they rarely change their travel plans to get a better deal. 

  • On the other hand, pricing is the most important thing for most Millennials, so they are easily swayed by special deals even if it means changing the dates or destinations. 

  • Most of these differences stem from the fact Boomers are, on average, much better off than Millennials, so they are in the enviable position of not being particularly price sensitive.

  • However, not all of the differences in their travel planning habits are due to this - some of the differences are simply due to older travelers having different priorities and tastes. 

Different generations in the United States have different consumer spending habits, and, as it turns out, there's a noticeable difference in their recreational travel preferences as well. 

This difference is especially clear to see when comparing Baby Boomers to Millennials. For instance, the former much prefer cruises when compared to their younger counterparts. 

Another important difference is the factors each generation considers and prioritizes when planning their vacations. For example, Millennials center their travel plans around their budget, which is often quite limited, especially when compared to Boomers. 

This means deals can influence their vacation decisions to certain locations (or altering their vacation to different dates). In contrast, Boomers usually end up going to the place they had in mind as they are less price sensitive.

Furthermore, less budget-conscious Baby Boomers are typically willing to spend more on hotels than all other generations. They also tend to have much longer vacations than Millennials (the average Boomer vacation is just under two weeks long.)

What's Behind These Differences?

Ultimately, in most cases, the different preferences and spending habits between Boomers and Millennials when it comes to travel stem from the vast difference in wealth between the two groups. 

Baby Boomers, who control around 60 percent of the US's wealth, have considerably more money to spend on recreational activities than Millennials - and this is why they can prioritize things other than cost when planning their vacations. 

Some of the other differences, such as Boomers' love for cruises, are simply due to older people having different tastes and preferences to younger generations. However, there are many Millennials who also find cruise vacations appealing. 

However, such vacations are expensive and out of budget for most Millennials. 

COVID-19 Impacts Vacation Plans

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to the travel and aviation industries, and although many popular tourist destinations have now reopened, the pandemic is still impacting travel plans indirectly. 

Many Baby Boomers who once made cruises an annual tradition are reconsidering plans in light of COVID-19. This will likely have a serious impact on cruise lines when restrictions are lifted.

Over half of Americans are planning on staying close to home for their next vacation, according to a recent National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) poll. Specifically, 61 percent of Millennials surveyed said they will stay close to home, while 48 percent of Boomers said they would do the same.

"With local parks and recreation, families and individuals don't have to look far to find fun, safe and affordable summertime activities close to home, even during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Kevin Roth spokesman for the NRPA. 

Continuing, he said, "We encourage everyone to explore the innovative ways their local parks and recreation is addressing COVID-19, and how they can safely participate in the activities they enjoy during the pandemic."

A Quick Summary

  • Boomers take quite a different approach to Millennials when it comes to planning a vacation.

  • For example, Baby Boomers are much less price-sensitive than younger generations, so they rarely change their travel plans to get a better deal. 

  • On the other hand, pricing is the most important thing for most Millennials, so they are easily swayed by special deals even if it means changing the dates or destinations. 

  • Most of these differences stem from the fact Boomers are, on average, much better off than Millennials, so they are in the enviable position of not being particularly price sensitive.

  • However, not all of the differences in their travel planning habits are due to this - some of the differences are simply due to older travelers having different priorities and tastes. 

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