Will Older Travelers Be Able to Afford to Travel?

by Richard D'Ambrosio
Will Older Travelers Be Able to Afford to Travel?

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Travel agents have targeted older travelers for their sales because they typically have an abundance of two of the most important factors for traveling – time and money.

But according to a new Ipsos/USA TODAY survey (and accompanying story), more older Americans at or close to retirement, are growing increasingly concerned about achieving their travel bucket list dreams.

As the USA Today story stated, a quarter of 45-65 year olds want to set aside 21-40 percent of their post-retirement budgets for travel, but only 13 percent expect to be able to do so.

“At the same time, 53 percent “want to devote less than a fifth of their outlays to living expenses — things like groceries, utilities and healthcare — in their golden years,” USA Today said, but just 37 percent believe they will reach that goal. USA Today also said that 57 percent expect “to allocate a fifth to three-fifths of their budgets to those basics, the same portion that spends that amount today.”

The findings are from 1,170 adults, ages 45-65, responding to a survey Ipsos conducted from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5, 2017, on behalf of USA Today.

AARP survey concurs
Another study, AARP’s recently released 2018 Travel Trends survey, shows that cost remains the top reason Americans of all ages say they do not travel more, “with health and weather barriers coming in second and third for Boomer travelers.”

Maria Gillen, travel digital platform director at AARP, said her organization’s research finds that “travel is the number one aspiration for people age 50 and over, especially with a significant other or family. Travel gives people the chance to renew and recharge, improve mental and physical health, expand relationships and social lives, and drives greater productivity at work for those who are still in the workforce.”

Although the survey also found that Boomer travelers age 63 to 71 are less likely than their younger counterparts to say that cost is a barrier to travel, 35 percent still do say it might prevent them from traveling in 2018.

Is the safety net big enough?
USA Today suggested that the gap between middle-aged and older Americans’ desires and expectations for travel is “at least partly a byproduct of the Great Recession and its aftermath, which left many with shrunken nest eggs and stagnating incomes.

“Wages have risen about 2 percent a year for the average American, and many of the nearly 9 million laid off during the downturn were forced to take lower-paying jobs for which they were overqualified,” the newspaper said.

Older Americans also are concerned with certain safety net programs that would help them pay for large day-to-day expenses like healthcare. According to the poll, 36 percent of Americans say they will rely mostly or entirely on social security to fund their retirement.

However, 69 percent of Americans do not feel that social security and Medicare “are more secure now than they were a year ago,” and the majority of Americans do not believe the current administration or Congress will protect those programs.

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