Survey Shows Baby Boomers Remain Hesitant of Travel Way Into 2021

The majority are saying "no way" to air travel for the foreseeable future

Couples kayaking on river
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As the pandemic enters its second (or is it the third?) wave in some countries, it continues to change the way we travel—or don't. The flexcation has emerged, road trips reign supreme, and Americans' holiday plans are in flux.

And while some people are continuing to travel as though everything's normal (a recent story from The Cut detailed millennials' jaunts to Turkey, Mexico, and beyond), one subset of travelers is taking a more cautious approach. According to a recent survey, the 55-and-up crowd isn't exactly eager to jump on a plane.

The life insurance experts at Coventry Direct surveyed baby boomers to get a sense of how comfortable they feel traveling. Long story short, don’t be surprised if your next flight has way more millennials than boomers.

Of the more than 800 Americans surveyed, 71 percent described themselves as hesitant or very hesitant about traveling on a plane in 2020. And more than half canceled at least one trip in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“I am not traveling. It is unsafe for me, and I am unwilling to take a risk. Also, even if a person does travel, the stress of traveling is not relaxing. Sites aren't fully open,” said New York-based writer and consultant Janice S. Lintz. For now, she’s not planning any trips and “taking a wait and see approach.”

As for the causes of concern, the top issues were fear of not maintaining social distance in high traffic areas, fear of flying and using public transit like trains or buses. Additionally, half of those surveyed felt younger people have been reckless with travel choices this year.

Though COVID-19 has canceled Michelle Fishburne’s usual Grand Cayman Christmas plans, the 57-year-old digital nomad has been able to hit the road in a socially distanced way.

“It's easy to feel comfortable traveling during a pandemic when you are living in a house on wheels,” said Fishburne, who plans to stay away from flying until there’s a vaccine. “I have taken my RV all over the United States this fall, from North Carolina out to Wyoming and back.”

While most surveyed expressed major hesitation about traveling for the remainder of this year, that same hesitation lingers for traveling into the new year. Forty percent plan to stay away from all international travel, while 51 percent hope to take a couple of domestic trips in 2021.

And where are they headed? The top travel bucket list destinations for 2021 are Tokyo, Cairo, and Sydney, while Honolulu topped the domestic locations.

Lintz, who’s traveled to more than 140 countries, doesn’t have a specific destination in mind when she finally resumes her travels. “I will evaluate the time of year and post-pandemic protocols to figure out where to go next. For me, every country is exciting, and I look forward to returning to travel.”

And top activities everyone’s looking forward to include dining out, sightseeing, and visiting friends and family. More than a third of female boomers prefer a beach as their location of choice, with 42 percent of men opting for the mountains.

Once Fishburne is vaccinated, she knows exactly where she’s headed. “I plan to get on a plane and travel all over the Caribbean. I am beyond ready to be pampered, sit under palapas, and enjoy hanging out at beach-side bars."

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