The travel choices Baby Boomers make have attracted interest for decades. And their children – the Millennials – are an influential new force in travel. But what about the generation sandwiched between them: Generation X travel preferences?
Age ranges vary, but typically Gen X was born between 1965 and 1982. They’re about 25 percent of the U.S. population – some 68 million strong. They’re established in their careers, and MMGY Global reports that 61 percent have children at home. They’re paying off mortgages and other debt, and saving for college educations for the kids and retirement for themselves.
How do these factors and more influence Generation X travel? Read on for these 9 factors that shape how Gen Xers choose to vacation.
They have money to spend on trips
Generation X has been in the workforce for some time. It’s in the midst of – or entering – its prime earning years. Gen Xers are just 25 percent of the population, but Web.com says they account for 31 percent of total U.S. income and 29 percent of total net worth.
A Virtuoso study into generational travel differences found that Generation X spends the most of any generation each day while on a trip, at $627. MMGY Global reports that Gen Xers plan to spend $4,517 on vacation in the next year on average, which is up 10 percent from the year before. And a Gallup study found Generation X spent $538 at the hotel they visited most frequently in the past year. That’s also the highest of any generation.
Gen Xers take shorter trips
Given demanding careers, raising children and caring for aging parents, Generation X is busy. So Gen Xers don’t have time to travel far from home, particularly during the school year. Weekend getaways and other short trips are popular.
They love family travel
Virtuoso’s study found that family life shapes Generation X travel preferences. The timing of their trips reflects school calendars. MMGY Global reports that visiting family and friends is the top purpose of Generation X travel, named by 40 percent.
Multigenerational travel, with three or even four generations, is especially huge. As a result, resorts and cruise ships with kids’ clubs are appealing for Generation X travel.
Generation X travel is motivated by relaxation
Virtuoso found that unwinding is the top vacation motivation for Gen X. Similarly, MMGY Global found that beach vacations were a high priority for this generation. Thirty-five percent named it as the primary purpose of their trip – the largest percentage of any generation.
Wellness travel is also emerging as Gen Xers look to chill during their trips.
Generation X seeks out child-friendly destinations
Since they lack time and crave relaxation, it’s not surprising that Sun Belt locales are popular with Gen Xers. The Virtuoso study found that they’re winging their way to fave spots such as Orlando, Miami Beach, Los Angeles, Mexico and the Caribbean.
For longer trips during school holidays, Generation X travel preferences lean towards Europe. London, Paris and Italy are all easy for families to navigate. They’re also prime destinations for helping young people become global citizens.
Celebration trips are big
Generation X loves to honor special occasions with a trip. They’ll travel to celebrate 40th and 50th birthdays and 10th or 20th anniversaries. Another life milestone being celebrated with travel: divorce. Newly single Gen Xers want to mark their fresh start with a trip.
Celebration trips aren’t limited to just family. Gen Xers also enjoy traveling with friends. They’ll vacation with other couples or delight in a girls’ or guys’ getaway to honor a milestone.
Gen X values experiences
Gen Xers enjoy a wide range of activities while away from home. Some crave physical activity, such as biking, hiking, skiing and golf. And some seek cultural experiences that help immerse them in the character of a place.
Generation X also wants to cover fresh ground. That could be a new boutique property. Or a culinary experience unique to a locale. Or a private guide who tailors a tour to their preferences, showing them a new aspect of the destination.
Generation X cares about hotel convenience, price and quality
The Gallup study found Gen X prizes a convenient hotel location above all other deciding factors. Price of room and hotel quality are important as well. Gen Xers also value reliable services when evaluating if they’ll book a hotel again. Internet connectivity is key.
Those factors are more important than brand when Generation X decides on a hotel. Only about one in five Gen Xers has a strong emotional attachment to a hotel brand.
Gen Xers value their travel advisors
Gen Xers came of age as online travel agencies came into being. That might be why they’re more likely to book trips online. MMGY Global reports that 82 percent book travel online and 71 percent research travel through online agencies.
While Generation Xers use the internet for validating travel decisions, they value opinions from their community. Recommendations from friends strongly influence Generation X travel choices, including social media posts.
A small but significant number of Gen Xers include travel advisors as part of their community. MMGY Global found that 15 percent of Gen Xers planned to use a travel advisor for at least one trip in the next two years.
As more people discover the benefits of planning travel with an advisor, that number is expected to grow. The American Society of Travel Agents says that 22 percent of travelers have worked with an advisor to book a trip in the past year. That’s up 57 percent from three years ago.
Once travelers do take the plunge with an advisor, they come to value the personal service they receive. With increased loyalty comes increased bookings. Gen Xers who work with a Virtuoso travel advisor spend $8,458 a year on trips.
Are you ready to discover the benefits of working with a travel advisor firsthand? Take a short interactive quiz to be matched with a Virtuoso advisor – no matter what generation you are.