American millennials show biggest growth in international vacations

Leading European online travel agency eDreams, which has a presence in 33 countries worldwide including the U.S., has released the findings of a multinational survey highlighting the shifting travel trends for different age groups in the following countries: U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Sweden. Responses from over 13,000 participants representing eight nations reflecting the travel preferences of those with children (aged 0 – 19), Millennials (aged 18-29) and Baby Boomers (aged 50 years or older) were included in the findings.*

Photo: Diego Cervo

The complete ‘Travel Through the Generations Report’ is available here:

Today, 19% of U.S. Millennials have visited 1-2 countries by the age of 5, compared to just 5% of Baby Boomers. Americans aged 18-29 today had also traveled internationally five times more than 50+ year olds had by the age of five, this is 2.5 times more than Germans and Swedish Millennials, who are among the two most traveled countries in this study.

Millennials in the U.S. are the most inspired by travel and most likely to try and discover new places to visit each year, compared to other generations. Over a quarter of Millennials (30%) are now more likely to book a sport or adventure based vacation than they were in 2007 and 16% would consider a volunteer-based vacation. Beach and food inspired vacations are also on the rise, with 42% of 18-29 year old Americans saying they would be more inclined to consider a beach vacation now than they would have done 10 years ago. Millennials are also more likely to consider booking a culture-inspired vacation, with 37% doing so compared to just 22% of those aged 50 years or older.

Overall, over half (53%) of Americans had not been on an international vacation by the age of 18 and almost a third (31%) of American Baby Boomers reached the age of 50 without venturing outside of the United States. Generally, Americans tend to begin international travel later than their European counterparts, with the average age of the first international vacation occurring at 17 years old compared to 9 years for German children and 11 and 12 years for Swedes and French respectively.

Encouragingly, Americans do appear to be more open to travel with over half (51%) saying they travel more now than they did 10 years ago and 1 in 5 (23%) saying they travel more now than they did 20 years ago. According to nearly half (48%) of U.S. travelers, the reason for this is that they believe they have more disposable income to spend on travel, with the average American spending 13.5% of their annual income on vacations, 5% more than they did in the year 2007.

Online booking has revolutionized the way individuals plan their travel and has played a significant role in increasing the accessibility and frequency of travel. Globally, people are now 75% more likely to book vacations using an Online Travel Agent (OTA) like eDreams than they were ten years ago, with 72% of Americans saying they book using this method today.

Due to the wide breadth of options for domestic vacations, most Americans (94%) choose to travel within in their home nation. Orlando, New York and Las Vegas are the top three destinations for domestic travel, with Vegas doubling in popularity over the last 10 years. For international travel, Mexico, Canada and the U.K. are the most popular destinations for U.S. travelers. Meanwhile for Europeans, the U.S. is their number one international vacation destination today. Children are becoming more active in the travel decision-making process, with 61% of American parents saying finding a place their kids will enjoy is the main priority when booking travel.

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