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Discover survey finds age may be a factor in where and how people vacation this summer

RIVERWOODS, IL – As summer vacation season approaches, a new survey from Discover found that for the 58 percent of those who intend to take a summer trip, where they go, how they pay and what they do while on vacation may be a factor of their age.

The national survey of 1,100 U.S. adults ages 18 and over found that travel preferences vary from generation to generation. Members of generation Z, ages 18-21, are looking for an adrenaline rush on their next vacation, with 30 percent saying adventure is their top travel priority, compared to 8 percent of millennials, ages 22-37; 10 percent of generation X, ages 38-53; 7 percent of baby boomers, ages 54-72; and 9 percent of the silent generation, ages 73 and up.

For millennials who are planning a summer vacation, spending time with friends and family is their highest priority at 28 percent, while relaxation is the main driver for generation X at 34 percent. Baby boomers and the silent generation say spending time with friends and family—36 percent and 46 percent, respectively – matters most. Exploring a new city or destination tops the list for 24 percent of all respondents.

Of the following, what do you want MOST when it comes to your next trip or vacation?

Age Groups

Total

Gen Z

Millennials

Gen X

Boomers

Silent Gen

Relaxation

27%

14%

24%

34%

30%

12%

Adventure

10%

30%

8%

10%

7%

9%

To explore a new city/destination

24%

22%

26%

23%

22%

27%

An exciting nightlife

2%

2%

2%

3%

1%

Practice my passion (e.g., photography, yoga)

2%

4%

1%

3%

2%

A volunteer/social purpose

1%

4%

Spend time with friends and family

30%

22%

28%

24%

36%

46%

Other

3%

9%

4%

3%

1%

5%

Beach Is Best, unless You’re Older
Most of those planning a summer vacation want to feel the sand between their toes, as 26 percent of all respondents said the beach is their preferred destination. However, many older respondents would trade their beach chairs for the open road or sea, as a higher percentage of baby boomers, 27 percent, picked a road trip as their preferred vacation, and a cruise was the most popular choice among the silent generation at 29 percent.

If you had to choose from the following, what would your MOST preferred type of trip orvacation be?

Age Groups

Total

Gen Z

Millennials

Gen X

Boomers

Silent Gen

A road trip

16%

8%

11%

11%

27%

19%

A cruise

11%

13%

6%

10%

11%

29%

An outdoor adventure (e.g., camping, national park visit)

13%

13%

14%

13%

14%

9%

A beach vacation

26%

22%

30%

31%

21%

22%

An urban/big city vacation

11%

11%

17%

15%

5%

5%

A lake house vacation

10%

8%

11%

8%

11%

10%

A “staycation”

6%

8%

7%

8%

4%

3%

Other

7%

16%

4%

5%

8%

5%

Youngest Travelers Prefer to Pay with Cash
Those planning a summer trip say credit cards are the preferred way to pay while on vacation at 46 percent, according to the survey, followed by 25 percent who favor paying with debit cards, 24 percent with cash and 3 percent with checks or traveler’s checks. However, payment preferences vary by generation. Cash is the preferred payment method while on vacation for generation Z at 35 percent. On the other end of the age spectrum, 60 percent of baby boomers and 68 percent of the silent generation favor paying with credit cards.

What is your MOST preferred method of payment while on a trip or vacation?

Age Groups

Total

Gen Z

Millennials

Gen X

Boomers

Silent Gen

Cash

24%

35%

27%

27%

16%

18%

Credit card

46%

16%

41%

38%

60%

68%

Debit card

25%

33%

25%

29%

22%

10%

Checks/traveler’s checks

3%

8%

5%

2%

2%

4%

Other

2%

8%

2%

4%

Despite the preference for paying with credit cards while on vacation, 30 percent of those planning a summer trip say they do not have a credit card that earns rewards. More than a quarter, 26 percent, say they don’t redeem their credit card rewards for vacation-related expenses, including 32 percent of baby boomers and 51 percent of the silent generation—the generations that said they use credit cards the most while on vacation.

How often, if ever, do you redeem credit card points/rewards for trip orvacation-related expenses?

Age Groups

Total

Gen Z

Millennials

Gen X

Boomers

Silent Gen

Never, I use my points/rewards for other purposes

26%

23%

22%

18%

32%

51%

Less than once a year

20%

26%

21%

18%

19%

15%

Once a year

15%

10%

16%

17%

14%

8%

“This survey shows that there is no one-size-fits-all summer vacation regardless of your age or preference for travel,” said Emina Dautovic, senior marketing manager at Discover. “Wherever your summer travel takes you, there’s an opportunity to earn rewards on travel-related and everyday purchases by using a travel credit card. From airfare and hotels to gas and groceries, the rewards you earn can be put toward the cost of your next vacation.”

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