Last year, two-thirds (66%) of Americans took at least one trip shorter than 5 nights, driven by younger generations (72% of Millennials and 69% of Gen X’ers, vs. 60% Baby Boomers), according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Allianz Global Assistance. For some, these short breaks are the longest vacations they take: about three in ten Americans (29%) indicated their longest trip last year was lasted less than 5 nights. Once again, this is more likely among younger Americans: 33% of Millennials and 31% of Gen X’ers say their longest trip last year was under 5 days, compared to just 23% of Boomers.
In keeping with younger Americans’ preference for shorter trips, last year, fewer than 2 in 10 (17%) Millennials took a trip longer than seven days last year, making them directionally less likely than Gen X’ers (21%) or Baby Boomers (22%) to have done so.
Even the purpose of such mini-vacations varies across generations. When those who took trips shorter than 5 nights last year were asked the purpose of these trips, nearly one in three (32%) said it was easier to take a shorter amount of time off work, particularly for Millennials (37%) and Gen X’ers (40%). Another one in three (32%) indicated it was because they only needed a few days to attend a special event or visit friends. Millennials (34%) and Baby Boomers (38%) were more likely to take this kind of trip, compared with 23% of Gen X’ers. One in four (26%) Americans who took a short vacation did so to be able to take more frequent albeit shorter trips. This is line with the finding that a quarter (25%) of Americans and nearly a third (29%) of Millennials, specifically, took at least three mini-vacations last year.
For nearly 2 in 10 (19%) who took a mini-vacation, the financial burden of longer trips was a motivator to keep it short. This was least likely to be a concern for the Baby Boomers (11%), and most concerning for Millennials (25%) and Gen X’ers (21%). Those with a household income of at least $50k (51%) are also much more likely than those earning less than $50k (29%) to have taken a longer trip lasting at least 5 nights, underscoring that finances are also driving vacation preferences.
For others, it’s simply easier to bring a friend along on a shorter trip than a longer one. One in 10 (10%) of those who took shorter vacations last year say it was due to the ease of finding a travel companion for a shorter trip, which is most likely to be a reason for Millennials (18%, vs. 7% of Gen X’ers and just 3% of Baby Boomers).
Older generations are by far the most likely to take longer trips: while a majority of Baby Boomers took at least one mini-vacation last year, 4 in 10 (40%) did not take any trips that were shorter than 5 nights, compared to 31% of Gen X’ers and 28% of Millennials. It isn’t fair to say that older Americans are enjoying a disproportionate amount of vacation time, however. While over a quarter (28%) of Americans did not take any leisure trips last year, Baby Boomers are the generation most likely to have not taken one at all: 35% of Boomers didn’t take a vacation last year, compared to 26% of Millennials and 24% of Gen X’ers).