Millennial families spending, traveling during a projected travel industry slowdown​

In a year of projected slowdown for travel, Millennial families are going to spend more and travel more than all other generational segments according to MMGY Global’s Portrait of American Travelers® survey. This year’s Portrait predicts that the approximately 60 million traveling households in the U.S. will spend up to $5 billion less on leisure travel, which shows a less than 1% dip from its eight-year high in 2016. The 9.5 million households that are American Millennial families, however, intend to spend 19% more on vacations during the next 12 months and intend to travel 35% more than the previous year.

The Portrait, which is the longest continuous survey of its kind in America, includes responses from 2,902 U.S. adults surveyed this year who have taken at least one overnight trip a minimum of 75 miles from home in the past 12 months. The study measures over 2,000 variables, thoroughly analyzing and revealing American travelers’ perceptions of travel, planning priorities and emerging vacation behaviors and inclinations.

“Travel remains an important part of American family life, especially for younger families. Vacations in the U.S. are gaining importance across all generations, but Millennial families are continuing to travel domestically and internationally,” said Clayton Reid, president and CEO of MMGY Global. “Travel marketers should view Millennial families as an opportunity segment, not only because of their size and purchasing power, but because that segment is only going to expand.”

The following are topline results from the first of four research publications that will be released this year as part of the Portrait study:

Millennial families are the primary drivers of growth in travel

Millennial families, which are married or unmarried couples living together with children aged 17 or under currently in the household, make up 16% of all American travelers. They went on a combined 36.9 million vacations and spent $50.4 billion on leisure travel during the past 12 months and they are the driving force behind growth in travel this year.

Millennials travel london underground●      While U.S. travelers only intend to travel 6% more this year, Millennial families intend to travel 35% more.

●      Millennial families intend to spend 38% more than Millennial couples on vacation and 88% more than Millennial singles.

●      26% of Millennial family vacations are to international destinations compared to less than 20% of couples or singles, possibly because three-quarters of Millennial families consider themselves happy, optimistic about their own future (83%) and the future of the world (62%).

Instability turning Americans toward domestic destinations and road trips

In 2017, travelers reported spending an average of $4,833 on vacations during the previous 12 months, a significant drop from $5,048 the year prior. And, for the first time since 2013, travelers report an intention to spend less ($18) on travel than they did during the previous year. With half of travelers saying they are optimistic about the future of America and the world, travelers’ preferences are shifting toward domestic rather than international destinations.

●      Domestic vacations now make up 85% of American vacations, up 7 points from last year. 13.9 million more vacations were taken within the U.S. compared to outside the country.

●      Two-thirds of travelers reported being happy, which represents a drop of 9 points from last year and a five-year low. Two-thirds of travelers are currently optimistic about their future employment, which is a 7-point decrease from last year.

●      40% of domestic vacations will be to new destinations, which is up from 34% last year.

●      79% of millennial travelers’ vacations were to domestic destinations in 2016; the same applies to 85% of Gen Xers, 90% of baby boomers, and 88% of mature travelers.

●      In the last 12 months, 39% of vacations taken by American travelers were road trips, up significantly from 22% the year prior.

Attractions are influencing where travelers vacation

Over two-thirds of travelers visited at least one attraction while on vacation and these approximately 41.5 million households took a combined 150.9 million vacations and spent $306.1 billion on leisure travel during the past 12 months.

Millennials travel

●      53% of all vacations include at least one visit to an attraction.

●      68% of travelers chose the majority of attractions they would visit before the vacation began.

●      Top-ranking attractions showcase an interest in education and culture with art and history museums (65%), aquariums (59%) and science museums (56%) coming before theme parks (55%).

●      57% of Millennials visited at least one attraction on vacation during the last 12 months, while 53% of Xers, 49% of Boomers and 46% of Matures did.

For more information about these insights, or to subscribe to the 2017 Portrait white papers, visit

About the 2017 Portrait of American Travelers®

Now in its 27th year, MMGY Global’s Portrait of American Travelers® survey provides an in-depth examination of the impact of the current economic environment, prevailing social values, and emerging travel habits, preferences, and intentions of Americans. It is widely regarded as a leading barometer of travel trends and an essential tool for both the development and evolution of brand and marketing strategy. The nationally representative survey of 2,902 U.S. adults, who have taken at least one overnight trip of 75 miles or more from home during the previous 12 months, includes 2,013 households with an annual income between $50,000 and $124,999; 725 households with an annual income between $125,000 and $249,999; and 164 households with an annual income of more than $250,000.  Data was collected in February 2017.