Golden Year Travelers Driving the Industry

Updated on October 18, 2017


The best time in life to travel is during your golden years!

With fewer obligations, baby boomers have the time and ability to explore new destinations and take advantage of all they have to offer. In fact, in the next four years, according to Nielson, they will control 70 percent of disposable income in the United States, making golden age travelers a key driver of the leisure travel industry today. While these travelers have high interest in unique experiences, they also see great value in turnkey packages where arrangements and itineraries that meet their needs are provided, making the guided travel and tour operator industry particularly attractive. For companies like Collette – one of the longest-standing tour operators in the U.S. – baby boomers make the company’s largest and most diverse customer base.

But what are these travelers looking for and where do they end up?

Having likely traveled a bit in their younger lives with family or friends, motivation for travel in the golden years tends to shift.  While we certainly don’t discount the value of exploration or the thrill of checking a new destination off the bucket list, according to Collette, 39.5 percent of travelers note learning as their primary reason for traveling.

It may be no surprise then that Italy and the United Kingdom are the two most common destinations for travelers in ages 51-75.Known for gorgeous architecture, rich history and culture – not to mention the awe-inspiring views, shopping and culinary scenes – who would be able to resist the lure of either locale?

And golden year travelers don’t just stop there.These beloved destinations only whet the appetite and are closely followed by interest in Spain, Portugal and Iceland.Following European vacations, more exotic and unique destinations like Africa, Asia, South or Central America become more of interest for their one-of-a-kind experiences and opportunities to dive into various cultures.

Insider tip: plan your travel with companies like Collette who work with local experts and focus on cultural immersion as a cornerstone to truly get a ‘local’ experience.

Not to be forgotten as a cultural hub, the U.S. also ranks high on baby boomers’ sights.  Particularly, the National Parks. Full of natural beauty and rich history, trips that include Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Yosemite are among the most booked vacations for this age group within the U.S.

Which traveler are you?  Itching to make that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe, or hoping to expand your horizons elsewhere?  Or maybe you want to explore all the U.S. has to offer! Whatever you are looking for, seems like the time to travel is now.

74.8% of Collette travelers note planning convenience as their primary reason for traveling with Collette. To take a trip hassle-free, check out

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Senior Outlook Today is your go-to source for information, inspiration, and connection as you navigate the later years of life. Our team of experts and writers is dedicated to providing relevant and engaging content for seniors, covering topics such as health and wellness, finances, technology and travel.