Generational Vacation Destination Preferences

A header image for a blog about generational vacation destination preferences
A header image for a blog about generational vacation destination preferences

Pack your bags, because we’re about to spill the top vacation spots that are making waves across generations. It’s time to find out whether your favorite destinations align with the trends or if there are new places you might want to explore!

We surveyed over 1,000 Americans to uncover their favorite vacation spots, giving you the lowdown on where each generation would choose to spend their downtime. Is the trend leaning more toward international travel adventures, or are people finding joy in staycations?

Ready to dive into generational vacation preferences and pick up some travel inspiration along the way? Let’s explore the destinations that are a hit with the younger, the older, and everyone in between. Keep reading to find out if your dream destination made the cut!

Where in the World Do Americans Want to Vacation?

Across generations, some destinations emerged as universal favorites. When looking at African locales, Cairo, Egypt, with its rich history and iconic pyramids, was the top pick for every generation. Kyoto, Japan, known for its classical Buddhist temples and traditional tea houses, claimed the title of the top Asian destination. Meanwhile, the vibrant city of Auckland, New Zealand, stole the spotlight in Oceania, and the untouched natural beauty of Aysen, Chile, was the favorite in South America.

Venice, Italy, is a universal European favorite, enchanting every generation with its romantic canals and historic charm. But the generations aren’t in total agreement. Gen Z finds the allure of Athens, Greece, and the trendy vibes of Copenhagen, Denmark, irresistible, while millennials and Gen X share a fondness for the rich history and diverse landscapes of the United Kingdom.

In neighboring North America, the pristine beaches of the U.S. Virgin Islands are a hit, with the lively atmosphere of Vancouver, Canada, close behind on bucket lists, particularly among Gen Z and Baby Boomers. Gen Z is also interested in the remote landscapes of Greenland, while millennials would extend their love to the vibrant culture of Havana, Cuba, and the crystal-clear waters of the Cayman Islands.

Within the U.S., Maui, Hawaii, and San Francisco, California, are the biggest crowd-pleasers. Every generation selected Maui as their dream domestic vacation destination. San Francisco cracked the top three for every generation as well.

Zooming in on generational preferences, however, we can see that Gen Z also values the eclectic vibe of Houston, Texas, while millennials and Gen X are more drawn to the musical heartbeat of Nashville, Tennessee. Baby Boomers were the only generation to find potential solace in the scenic beauty of Asheville, North Carolina.

How Do Vacation Preferences Change Generationally?

An infographic showing survey results on generational preferences regarding vacations

Of course, there’s more to a vacation than a destination.

Vacation preferences reveal a lot about what each generation values most when it comes to taking a break. Every generation enjoys cultural explorations, and we can’t blame them for loving the chance to dive into new traditions and lifestyles.

But there’s a standout preference among Gen Z — they are more into city sightseeing than any other generation (27.6% say it’s their favorite type of vacation). Older generations would rather relax at the beach or get their hearts racing with more adventurous outdoor activities.

When deciding on the best time for a vacation, most Americans agree on fall, with 36% preferring the cooler temperatures and scenic beauty of the season. Spring, summer, and winter follow in the ranks, respectively.

As for the length of the vacation, most Americans, 43% to be exact, think four to seven days is just about right — it’s long enough to relax and explore, but not too long where you get sick of your travel-mates. However, Baby Boomers like to take it slow, with 34% of them preferring vacations that are eight to 10 days long, allowing more time to enjoy and unwind.

When it comes to choosing where to stay, boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts take the lead, being the top choice for 27% of Americans. They offer a unique and cozy stay that many appreciate. Close behind are vacation rentals and luxury hotels, chosen for their convenience with a bit of luxury mixed in. Gen X has a clear preference for vacation rentals (28%) and luxury hotels (24%), valuing the comfort and indulgence they offer.

What Are the Biggest Influences on a Vacation?

An infographic showing survey results of the biggest influences on vacation decisions

What are the biggest influences when vacation planning? Technology plays a big role, with 21% of Americans stating it’s extremely important that they’re able to use their tech during their vacation. On the flip side, just 1 in 10 consider technology not important, happy to unplug and enjoy their surroundings. And speaking of unplugging, how about a digital detox vacation? That’s a hard pass for 1 in 5 Americans (21%).

Cost is a big deal when planning a vacation — it’s the number one consideration for every generation. But once the budget is sorted, priorities shift. Gen Z is all about the food and unique local experiences, eager to try new cuisines and immerse themselves in the local culture. Older generations, however, are drawn to the scenic beauty of a place, preferring locations that offer breathtaking landscapes and natural wonders.

Interestingly, 80% of Americans who have traveled outside of the U.S. prefer international vacation destinations — they’ve had a taste and they want more! But for those who haven’t ventured abroad, the preference for international destinations drops to 60%.

Closing Thoughts

No matter your destination, it’s the unforgettable moments that make a trip special. Traveling can bring out the best in us and remind us of the joys of discovering new places with someone special. Looking to add a sprinkle of magic to your next adventure?

Seal your journey with a dazzling engagement ring from our collection of timeless fine jewelry. Vacations might come to an end, but a proposal launches a lifetime of exploring the world together!


To gain insight into the vacation preferences of Americans and how they differ generationally, we surveyed over 1,000 people over a three-week period in September 2023 on what they look for in a vacation. We asked questions about specific location preferences, vacation types, lodging desires, and what the major influences of their vacation plans are.

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