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2023 summer travel trends: why multi-generational travel is booming

By Abby Long, Managing editor



The Drum Network article

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July 26, 2023 | 4 min read

Based on fresh research, Abby Long of digital agency PMG looks at how audiences are prioritizing leisure trips and ‘multi-generational travel’.

A beach umbrella, on a beach

How are consumers' travel plans evolving? / Luke Dean-Weymark via Unsplash

A notable trend among travelers is the growing desire to seek out once-in-a-lifetime experiences that go beyond traditional sightseeing and tourism. People are looking for immersive, authentic, and transformative experiences that allow them to engage in local communities and cultures.

As travelers seek to broaden their perspectives, the desire to create lasting memories is playing a significant role in shaping summer travel plans, especially among families with children.

More families than ever are traveling for leisure

Recently, we at PMG conducted a survey of 2,000 US adults, asking about their summer travel plans and how the state of the US economy is impacting their discretionary spending. Of those surveyed, 1552 (77.6%) say they plan to travel for leisure this summer, demonstrating their keen interest in exploring new destinations and enjoying vacation experiences.

Meanwhile, an incredible 87% of American families with at least one child are prioritizing leisure travel and actively planning a summer vacation with the family this year.

Significantly, roughly 90% of US adults aged 35 to 44 (men 93%, and women 86%) are planning to travel. Several factors likely underpin these results. One is that individuals in this age group often enjoy a more stable financial situation, established careers, and greater flexibility in personal commitments, contributing to their ability and desire to explore new destinations and book leisure activities.

Other include that people in this age group may be likely to regard summer leisure travel as respite from family and work responsibilities, and seeking to prioritize travel plans accordingly. According to YouGov, more than two-fifths of US consumers (43%) are looking to get away from home when traveling – a trend especially true among parents with at least one child. At least half of parents say that they are “just looking to get away” or “just need a vacation away from home” (52%), according to the research agency’s latest travel poll.

Multi-generational travel is booming

Multi-generational travel has become incredibly popular as families seek ways to spend more quality time together. Some are even booking big-ticket adventures. Safari company African Travel, for example, reports a 20% increase in safari bookings from last year, with 40% of trips arranged and paid for by grandparents to help make a bucket-list experience possible for their families. Among international destinations, YouGov reports that the United Kingdom tops the list as the most popular summer getaway spot among American families, followed by Italy, Barcelona, and Germany.

As parents finalize the family’s summer itinerary and look for last-minute ideas and new inspiration, searches on Pinterest for family-centric travel and experiences like summer vacation ideas (+9,546%), travel packing ideas (+266%), things to do in summer (+251%), and camping must-haves (+223%) have skyrocketed in the weeks leading up to the start of summer.

There’s no single, defining attitude among travelers this year, except a collective desire to get out and explore. Today, people are motivated to travel and visit different destinations and cultural capitals around the world – making up for lost time by enjoying newfound flexibility, especially in the international market, as the broader industry sheds pandemic-era restrictions and national borders reopen for more tourists.

For more insight into the latest 2023 summer travel trends, check out PMG’s latest report.

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