The top priority of baby boomers is traveling the world, and they’re turning traditional ideas of retirement on its head as they do so.

That’s what Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew Upchurch told CNBC viewers July 10, in an interview on Squawk Box focusing on baby boomer travel priorities.

Baby Boomer Travel Booming

“The number one desire of boomers to do in their retirement is travel by far,” stated Upchurch. “They have the money and the time, and they’re reinventing the way they retire.”

Boomers spend $150 billion a year on travel, taking an average of 3.7 trips a year. They rank travel as their top leisure activity. Adults over 50 account for 80% of travel spending.

“The Boomers were the first generation … that did not see travel as a luxury,” explained Upchurch. “They saw it as a part of their life. They saw it as a right.”

Baby boomer travel: world cruise
Taking a luxury cruise around the world is a popular baby boomer travel experience

Baby Boomer Travel Priority: Experiences

Baby boomer travel choices also reflect a new preference for spending money on experiences instead of goods. “What we’ve seen over the last 20 years is a huge shift in priorities from the accumulation of stuff to life experiences,” Upchurch said. “Quite frankly a lot of people are focusing on life experiences and travel as being one of the key if not the key conduit for that.”

The baby boom generation chooses travel experiences with a purpose, such as volunteering while abroad; those providing education or intellectual stimulation; and ones that are active.

Some popular baby boomer travel destinations are dream trips of a lifetime:

  • Taking a world cruise, spending months on a luxury liner visiting exotic ports of call that could include Easter Island, French Polynesia and South Africa
  • Enjoying an upscale safari in search of the Big Five, visiting multiple countries such as Kenya and Tanzania
  • Voyaging Down Under and seeing the highlights of Australia including Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef and rainforest
Baby boomer travel: multigenerational travel
One booming baby boomer travel trend: taking along multiple generations

Boomers Bring The Family Along

Baby boomer travel also incorporates the entire family. Bringing their parents and children along on a multigenerational trip is a growing trend. Almost three-quarters (74%) of Virtuoso clients travel with their immediate family, and 17% take trips with extended family members.

Boomers have given the gift of travel to the next generation as well. “Millenials are the children of the boomers and they’re spending more per diem than the boomers did,” noted Upchurch.

A host of Virtuoso travel advisors specialize in baby boom travel priorities, whether they be cruising, multigenerational travel or other options. Click here to browse the advisor catalog, and go to the specialty – interest box on the left to select specific niches.