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Younger Travelers Plan to Travel More, Spend More Post-Pandemic - TRAVEL MARKET REPORT

Dori Saltzman

Apr 8, 2022

Younger travelers, both Millennials and Generations Z (called Zoomers), are planning more travel post-pandemic than older travelers, though the vast majority of all generations are planning at least one trip this year.

And all American travelers, regardless of age, agree that budget is their biggest limiting factor when it comes to leisure travel in 2022. Yet, the younger generations report being more willing to splurge.

These are just a few of the findings by Avail, a car sharing service, which surveyed 2,000 American travelers, divided evenly by generation.

Overall, the company found that 69% of all Americans plan to travel more, or the same amount, in 2022 than prior to the pandemic. And, seeing family and friends beat out other motivating factors as the main drive to take a trip.

Available only in the U.S., Avail’s survey results may have skewed more toward domestic travelers. Nevertheless, 69% of all of those surveyed said the current state of war in Ukraine will be a “major reason” they avoid international travel in 2022.

Here are a few highlights of the survey.

COVID-19 Increased Americans Appetite for Travel
Americans have spent too long working without a break and they’re ready to travel, with nearly three-quarters of both Millennials and Zoomers (71% for both) ready to hit the road more, or the same amount, as they did pre-pandemic. Not far behind, 69% of Baby Boomers and 65% of Gen Xers say the same thing.

The majority of all four generational groups report they anticipate taking one to five leisure trips this year with Baby Boomers leading at 82%, followed by 75% of Gen Xers and 73% of both Millennials and Zoomers.

COVID-19 Fears on the Decline
All generations feel more comfortable about traveling thanks to the vaccine; 77% of both Millennials and Baby Boomers agree, or are neutral, about increased travel comfort due to vaccines. Seventy-five percent of Zoomers and 73% of Gen Xers feel the same.

Thanks to this increased feeling of security, fewer Americans report that COVID-19-related fears will stop them from traveling this year. Surprisingly, Baby Boomers who are among the most at-risk for COVID-19 complications are the least nervous about traveling. Just over a quarter (27%) of Baby Boomers say that COVID-19 “may” keep them from traveling in 2022, followed by 28% of Gen Xers, 32% of Zoomers and 35% of Millennials.

Boomers Have the Most Flexibility
Unsurprisingly, Baby Boomers reported being the most open to spontaneous travel with 64% saying they would book a trip just one month (or less) in advance of traveling, followed by 61% of Gen Xers and 58% of both Zoomers and Millennials.

Travel as a Mental Health Booster
All four generations cite seeing family and friends as their main purpose for travel this year, but travel as a mental health boost ranks as a solid second place driver for Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials.

Exploration is slightly more important for Zoomers, with Visiting New U.S. Cities and taking an International Trip ranking second and fourth, respectively.

Bucket List travel is more important for Baby Boomers and Gen X; it ranked fourth for both generations.

Cheap Deals ranks last for all generations except Millennials, who cite it as their second to last driver of travel this year.

Budget Concerns
While low-cost deals aren’t a primary driver for any of the generations, budgeting still remains a concern.

All four generations say their overriding concern during the planning process is staying with their travel budget. And, all four groups view the cost of travel as twice as important as any other issue affecting their travel plans.

With that said, the younger generations report they plan to, or would consider splurging on a huge trip in 2022, with Zoomers leading at 72%, followed by 68% of Millennials, 60% of Gen Xers and only 51% of Baby Boomers.

Similarly, Zoomers and Millennials plan to, or would consider spending more overall on leisure travel in 2022 than they did before COVID-19.

The authors of the survey findings hypothesize that Boomers are possibly “reluctant to use hard-earned retirement funds for travel,” especially during uncertain times, which can “encourage conservative spending habits.”

Car Travel Trumps Flying
In other sign the survey seems to be skewed toward domestic travel respondents, the majority of those surveyed say they prefer car travel as their mode of transport in 2022. Flying places second and plane travel comes in third.

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