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Many factors contribute to the willingness and frequency of baby boomers to travel. Their world view is more open and global than past generations, partly due to the influence of the mass media. Boomers travel for pleasure, for business needs, and to reconnect with scattered friends and family members.
Baby boomers travel because they seem to truly love it, and they travel at amazing rates. A recent estimate of the travel habits of Americans indicated that baby boomers account for an astonishing 80% of leisure travel domestically and to foreign destinations.
This is a real boon to the economy, and it will be important to discover as these boomers enter retirement age if they will be able to sustain this level of travel participation. Baby boomers have also been big consumers of business related travel and this could obviously steeply decline as they retire.
To some extent the use of travel by baby boomers may not be affected by retirement as quickly as may be assumed. About 80% of baby boomers who are questioned about retirement state that they will not quit work until some time beyond the usual age of 65. This would sustain the contributions of their business travel as well as probably allowing for more leisure trips as well.
Baby boomers don't just buy airline tickets. They are percentage wise also the largest numbers of participants on ocean cruises. Their automobile trips are also common and this feeds many domestic pockets, from the purveyors of gasoline to hotel owners to even the sellers of recreational vehicles.
One thing that may have stimulated the tendency of the baby boomer generation to travel both for business and pleasure is the culture in which they have lived. Baby boomers are the whole well educated. They know about other places and other cultures and and are often eager to experience them for themselves. Television has also made them aware that they live in a global and interconnected society and has fed their curiosity. The relative affluence of the baby boom generation has also facilitated their ability to travel.
Many baby boomers had a parent who served overseas in the military. Some of them may even have lived in many different places as a result of a parent's duty station and are quite comfortable with experiencing different places. Quite a few of them have served in the military themselves and are eager for more travel.
Another factor in the willingness of baby boomers to travel is that we are a mobile society. It is not unusual for people to relocate for work and it is also common for families to be dispersed far and wide. The opportunity to visit scattered children, grandchildren, sibling, friends and other relatives is yet another incentive for baby boomers travel.