Baby boomers want to travel, but cite cost and passports as a hindrance

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NEW YORK, NY – A British Airways survey of 2,000 US baby boomers (aged 55 and over) shows that the generation born between 1946 and 1961 have a newfound interest in seeing the world as they enter into retirement, but not everyone’s prepared for long-haul travel.

The survey data shows that despite working for several decades, many baby boomers perceive cost to be a prohibitive factor. The concern is bigger for female American baby boomers, with nearly two thirds (63 percent) of women saying they have never owned a passport because they don’t think they can afford to travel overseas, compared to nearly half of men (48 percent).

The study also found that the 2016 presidential election is top of mind even for baby boomers who have been bitten by the travel bug. When asked which celebrity they would most like to sit next to on a long-haul flight, both Donald Trump (11 percent) and Hillary Clinton (8 percent) made the top five list. Additionally, more than 50 percent of baby boomers who chose Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton as their seatmate said it was because they have questions that they would like to ask the nominees. Other celebrities rounding out the top five list include Harrison Ford (11 percent), Meryl Streep (10 percent) and Liam Neeson (7 percent).

Additional findings of the survey include:

• All work and no play: More than a fifth (22 percent) of baby boomers said a reason they haven’t traveled overseas more over the years is due to work commitments. And in thinking back over their life so far, 17 percent of male baby boomers said working too much is one of their biggest regrets whereas just 8 percent of women said this was a regret of theirs (refer to this recent British Airways survey about the U.S. workforce’s attitude towards taking vacations).

• It’s all in the family: More than a quarter (26 percent) of respondents have visited a certain destination after being inspired by knowing their family history and/or heritage with 7 percent of these saying they have visited all these countries. 8 out of 10 (79 percent) of baby boomers also agree that knowing their family history and/or heritage inspire them to visit a certain destination.

• Travel and experience the world: A fifth (20 percent) of baby boomers said not traveling enough is one of their biggest regrets when thinking back over their life so far. More than a fifth (22 percent) of female respondents said not traveling enough is one of their biggest regrets when thinking back over their life so far, compared to 17 percent of men.

• Spend time with loved ones: When asked what their biggest regrets were looking back over their lives, more than a quarter (26 percent) of the respondents said it was losing contact with friends. 17 percent of male baby boomers said not spending enough time with their children is one of their biggest regrets when thinking back over their life so far compared to 12 percent of women.