Boomers Are Rediscovering the Great American Road Trip and Leaving Kids Behind, New Survey Shows

Baby boomers have rekindled their love affair with the American road trip according to a recent survey of more than 12,000 members of AARP conducted by Homewood Suites by Hilton, Hilton Worldwide’s international brand of upscale, all-suite, extended-stay hotels. However, while baby boomers still seek exploration of new sites, the survey results found this time around baby boomers are leaving the kids (and grandkids) behind, and taking to the road for more frequent shorter trips where the destination is a hotel boasting a large, comfy room.

On the Road Again and Again

The AARP member survey for Homewood Suites shows baby boomers prefer travel within North America and driving to reach those destinations.  61 percent of respondents are primarily traveling throughout the continental United States and Canada, with 40 percent choosing to drive to their destination, versus only 28 percent that indicated a preference for airline travel.

Similarly, 67 percent of baby boomers polled would rather use their leisure travel budgets, which for 80 percent of respondents averaged $3,000 annually, for shorter, more frequent trips.

“This survey is consistent with what our members have been telling us — that travel is important to them. We know that our members take a couple of trips a year and stay for about a week, what we call the everyday life travel, traveling short distances to visit family and friends, and they look for the amenities they are used to at home,” said Dave Austin, vice president of marketing services, AARP Services Inc.

Goodbye Backpacks: Hello Roomy Suites

Many baby boomers started traveling at a young age, often with just their thumbs and a backpack. But as they embark on their next adventures, the vast majority of AARP members surveyed (72 percent) are looking for a large, comfy hotel room to return to after a long day of travel. Furthermore, 60 percent of these both budget- and health- conscience baby boomers are choosing hotels that package valued amenities, like internet, breakfast and grocery shopping services, into one bundled price.

“We know this segment seeks out value, ample space and comfort when selecting a hotel,” said Christian Kuhn, vice president of marketing, Homewood Suites by Hilton. “Whether joining us for an extended stay vacation or for one night in their journeys, baby boomers feel at home with our suites and amenities.”

Good Reviews Prompt Boomers to Get Up and Go!

When asked about travel companions, the majority of baby boomers (77 percent) indicated a preference to vacation with just their spouse or partner. This choice to leave the children (and grandchildren) behind also seems to have prompted more last minute travel. Over half of the survey respondents said they spend less than two months planning for a trip.

Not only are baby boomers spontaneous, they are also a travel audience increasingly in tune with technology. 83 percent of AARP members polled in the survey seek out online customer ratings, and 93 percent of these respondents say their travel decisions are influenced by review sites.

“We work closely with industry brands like Homewood Suites to raise awareness of AARP members’ travel preferences. We hope this research will improve the 50+ travelers’ vacation experiences by informing the industry to be more prepared to meet their unique requirements,” commented Austin.

Full survey results are available on the Homewood Suites Media Center at

Members of AARP can search destinations and take advantage of discounts of up to 10 percent off the best available rate at Homewood Suites’ more than 300 locations throughout the United States and Canada by visiting