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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

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A Wyndham Vacation Rentals property in Hilton Head, South Carolina.  Photo courtesy of Wyndham.

A Wyndham Vacation Rentals property in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Photo courtesy of Wyndham.

Did you know July is National Vacation Rental Month?

I didn’t either until I was sent a copy of a survey taken by Wyndham Vacation Rentals, the world’s largest professional manager of vacation rental properties, which queried more than 11,000 vacation rental travelers on their travel preferences.

It seems that “older individuals” (read: baby boomers aged 55+) prefer traveling with friends more than younger age groups do.

According to the survey, 36 percent of those aged 55 and over prefer to travel with friends when they rent vacation properties, compared to 29 percent of those aged 35-54 (which does include some younger boomers) and 26 percent for those aged 25-34.

Women in general, meanwhile, like to bring their own parents along (for obvious reasons, these women would tend to be in the younger age groups), but are less likely to want to bring their in-laws.  Men, on the other hand, are somewhat more likely than women to bring household help — a housekeeper or babysitter — for assistance. (This would presumably apply to grandfathers traveling with their grandkids, an increasing trend among boomers.)

Interestingly, younger travelers (aged 25-34) are twice as likely to call dibs on the biggest bedroom than are travelers aged 55+. (Maybe they just move faster.)

Less Stressful?

Not surprisingly — since the survey questioned vacation renters on their travel preferences — 92% of those surveyed consider vacation rental stays less stressful than hotels due to cost savings, peace of mind, and flexibility.

Whether you’re traveling with friends, parents, or children with their nannies, I think vacation rentals do make sense if you’re looking to stay in one place. Everyone’s under one roof and the units always come equipped with kitchens, which can save a huge amount of money over hotels even if you just make breakfast, snacks, or pre-dinner drinks there.

Condo for rent from Wyndham Vacation Rentals in Panama City Beach, Florida. Photo courtesy of Wyndham.

Condo for rent from Wyndham Vacation Rentals in Panama City Beach, Florida. Photo courtesy of Wyndham.

What’s that, you say? Who wants a kitchen while on vacation?

The survey has an answer for that as well.

Rather than putting pressure on a rental traveler to cook – which may seem tedious while on a vacation – having a kitchen actually reduces stress, according to 94% of respondents.

Nearly three-quarters of those point to saving money as the reason. On average, rental vacationers report saving $742 during a week-long stay by doing some cooking at “home.”

And nearly three out of five respondents appreciated having a kitchen because they were better able to cater to everyone’s diets and allergy restrictions and stick to preparing healthier meals.

The Disadvantages to Dining Out

Meanwhile, also a bit counter-intuitively, respondents say that dining out can be stressful. Of the 94% who value a kitchen, 60% of those feel that not having to get ready to go to a restaurant provides a more enjoyable vacation.

I think that’s true — to some extent, at least.

Each year, my wife and I and her brother and his family share a vacation rental in Ocean City, New Jersey. We enjoy going out to a seafood dinner once or twice during the week we’re there, but we also like grilling chicken, steak, and ribs ourselves and dining on take-out tacos the night we arrive.

Lunches are often leftovers from what we grilled the night before, and if we all had to go out to breakfast every day, the costs for the week would skyrocket.

This Wyndham rental property is in Aspen, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Wyndham.

This Wyndham rental property is in Aspen, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Wyndham.

So we don’t find it stressful to dine out from time to time — my wife and I like to bike to an off-the-radar barbecue joint or a fish restaurant by the water for some of our lunches as well — but it would be a pain (and expensive) to round everyone up, put on a clean shirt, and eat out for three meals a day.

That’s one reason I love vacation rentals when we’re traveling with friends or family. If it’s just my wife and I, hotels are OK — though hotels that don’t put coffee makers in the room irk me no end.

Now that’s stressful.

If you’re interested, Wyndham Vacation Rentals is offering several vacation deals right now. It’s not too late to round up some friends — or family members, or household help — and rent a place at the seashore, in the mountains, by a lake, or wherever you like to vacation, and enjoy the rest of the summer.

You can also enter Wyndham’s Road to Happiness Sweepstakes for your chance to win a road trip vacation package. Learn more and play now at RoadtoHappySweeps.com.

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2 Responses to Baby Boomer Trend: Vacation Rentals With Friends

  • I’m a fellow boomer who is becoming more appreciative of the option of spending a bit longer at travel destinations than the 1 to 3 night stays on standard tour itineraries. Last year my wife and I traveled with another couple to Spain and Portugal with 5-day apartment rentals in downtown Madrid and Lisbon as well as a week in a house in the small Andalucian town of Riogordo. I’m currently making plans to spend a couple of 15-day stays next winter in beach condos on the islands of Phuket and Koh Samui in Thailand. Searching for accommodations offered by individual owners or by small real estate companies has been made highly efficient through Web sites such as Trip Advisor.com, airbnb.com, VRBO.com, HomeAway.com, and RentByOwner.com. One that I haven’t tried that seems quite appealing to try sometime is staying in a private home through Homestay.com.

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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