Have you ever participated in multi-generational travels? If so, you probably encountered a few differences in travel habits. While I hope there weren't too many challenges that came with this diversity, I can't help but wonder about the knowledge that comes with traveling with people of different ages.

Aside from having to make a few compromises, this knowledge can make a difference in how you network and attract consumers, clients, and potential employees to your business and workplace. If you can understand how people manage leisurely activities such as travel, you may open a new channel of communication and perception. We've broken down the generations to help better understand the wants and needs of each.

Differences in How Each Generation Travels

Generally speaking, it's no surprise that each generation has different travel behaviors. Based on an extensive survey of 1001 American travelers done by Expedia Group, I've broken down their habits and motivations.

  • Generation Z (born late '90's): Gen Z are most likely to plan their travels based on something they've found on social media, especially Snapchat. They are driven mainly by experiences but also want to be the first to document something new. This group is most likely to travel abroad and therefore, most likely to fly. 

  • Millennials (born 1981-mid to late '90's): Sometimes referred to as Generation Y, this demographic travels the most but takes the shortest trips. Millennials look for customized and unique experiences often found on Facebook. If it's off the beaten track, they'll do it. They also utilize technology before and during travel. They will find the opportunity to mix business with pleasure and find opportunities to work remotely.  

  • Generation X (born 1965-1980): Gen X are more likely to travel closer to home and stay in a hotel. The more realistic of all groups, they prefer a relaxing travel opportunity so they can rejuvenate. They book their travel through online travel agencies and are likely to look for all-inclusive deals. This group can be found sightseeing domestically with nearly 90 percent preferring to stay in the USA.  

  • Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964): Baby boomers will travel far but not often and prefer to be in groups of like-minded people. Budget is not as big of an issue. They prefer tours, camping, and driving to get to their destination that usually consists of seeing family and friends. They book directly from hotel and airline websites.

  • According to a survey done by the AARP, baby boomers who experienced some sort of negative event (weather disaster, terrorism, political unrest, etc.), still went through with their travel plans. In fact, they took action to counter the event. For instance, they purchased travel insurance, packed appropriately, or enrolled in region specific cellular plans.

What This All Means for Your Business

Knowing how each generation travels can be a quasi cheat sheet into understanding how to communicate and build respect on a deeper level. Knowing the how's and why's can help get your message directly across.

If you're trying to sell a product to a younger demographic, advertising digitally and offering services in an airport or through duty-free may be a smart approach. Interestingly, almost three in four Gen Z and millennials plan their trips around where they will eat and drink. If you want to make an impact with this bunch, consider advertising or having an event at a unique eatery.  

This information is also useful in understanding management styles and employee roles.

For instance, knowing that baby boomers will stay on course, despite unanticipated events, shows how they will find solutions to weather the storm. Millennials and members of Generation Z are often looking for unique opportunities and purpose in career, just as they are in their travels. The Generation X group are resourceful and driven connectors between the groups who have had to adapt to many technological changes. 

Overall, people want to feel valued and be respected. Connect by showing you've taken their interests and practices into consideration. You'll build rapport, diversify your business, and hopefully inspire innovation, knowledge, and growth.