The more you read of AARP’s recent Travel Bucket List Survey, the more you realize that many boomers aren’t satisfied with the same ol’, same ol’ — they yearn to see and experience something different before they kick the bucket.
“Basically, travel is the top aspiration of those 50 and over,” said Patty David, one of the researchers for AARP, a nonprofit that works to enhance the quality of life for people as they age. “They want to travel to places they’ve dreamed about. … People want to live the good life after 50.”
Given boomers’ well-documented belief that they have a great deal of control over their own destiny, it’s not surprising that the survey found that boomers believe 80 percent of their travel dreams will come true.
The survey was conducted with 1,630 people that also included Millennials and Gen Xers during a two-week period in December.
Millenials, 51 percent, and Gen Xers, 44 percent, actually are more likely to have travel bucket lists than boomers. The research didn’t explain why, but it could be that many older boomers have been able to make their desired escapes.
On average, boomers, according to the survey, have eight destinations on their list. About half are international, the other half domestic.
Doug Crosby, who with wife Bonnie owns Holiday Cruises and Tours, said boomers who seek out his Las Vegas travel firm often want help in setting up European river cruises.
“It’s a comfortable way to cruise, never rough seas or hurricanes,” he said. “And very seldom do you have to get a motor coach in an area, because the cruise stops right in the middle of town.”
Crosby also said that he’s talked to several boomers who are putting off dream trips to the Middle East because of the threat of terrorism.
“It’s too bad people feel they have to shy away from certain places, but that’s the way the world is right now,” he said.
AARP’s survey found that travel bucket lists have a definite emotional impact. Almost 60 percent of respondents found themselves dreaming about trips at least once a month.
“Anticipation of a trip, its planning, is something I enjoy,” said 70-year-old Jim Burford, a retired certified public accountant who with his wife, Kathleen, a physician, is about to leave Las Vegas for a cruise from Miami to Portugal
“The total relaxation we find at sea is something that’s hard to describe but something we don’t get tired of,” he said.
If Burford, a World War II history buff, gets the opportunity, he wants to go on another cruise from Hawaii that takes him on a tour of battle sites in the Pacific.
“I did that once years ago, but I think I’d enjoy it even more now, given all I’ve learned,” he said.
The AARP survey manages to get down in the weeds when it comes to how boomers keep their travel bucket lists — 69 percent do so mentally. Of those boomers who document their travel dreams, 59 percent actually write it down on a piece of paper.
The top domestic travel destinations for boomers are Hawaii, 18 percent, and Alaska, 12 percent. Nevada and New York tie for fourth at 7 percent.
The top international destinations are Australia, 13 percent; Italy, 12 percent; UK/Ireland, 11 percent; and France, 10 percent.
A key finding of the survey is that more than half of boomers work to improve their physicality before a trip.
So boomers would be far healthier, and have far fewer beer and ice cream guts, if they could regularly afford to go on trips.
Which is yet another good reason that Social Security checks should be increased for seniors.
Paul Harasim’s column runs Sunday, Tuesday and Friday in the Nevada section and Monday in the Health section. Contact him at email@example.com or 702-387-5273. Follow @paulharasim on Twitter.