A new AARP Services’ travel study finds that 55 percent of baby boomers consider themselves adventurous and 77 percent feel they are more adventurous than their parents. The study finds that boomers are choosing activities including motorcycling, white water rafting and salt water fishing. The study also found an increase in the number of baby boomers booking travel online. In conjunction with the online booking trend, AARP Services is launching a travel website called AARP Passport.

The study, titled 2005 Travel & Adventure Report – a Snapshot of Boomers’ Travel and Adventure Experiences, also includes a range of findings from how boomers are booking travel to the types of destinations they are choosing as well as the activities they are choosing once they arrive at their destination.

If your perception of the 50+ traveler is that of a sedentary octogenarian with dietary restrictions and a bedtime by 9 p.m., this study will change your mind. In the U.S. alone there are 81 million people who are 50+. That’s 28 percent of the entire U.S. population and approximately 45 percent of them are AARP members (36 million AARP members). They are passionate about new experiences and possess the time and resources to travel. 50+ consumers own 67 percent of the nation’s wealth and all have more than $28 trillion dollars in assets. What they say is true. 50 really is the new 30. The 50+ are more vibrant and active than ever before. People are living longer, trying new things and looking for adventure.

The survey also finds an increase in baby boomers booking travel online. The leading method boomers used to book leisure air travel over the past 12 months was through an online travel website. In following with that online booking trend, AARP Services is launching AARP Passport Powered by Travelocity. The official launch of the website is planned for November although there is a pilot site that is active and has already proven successful. The pilot site can be accessed at www.aarp.org/passport . The site has a number of unique offerings in particular the first-ever Health and Wellness cruise that sold out almost immediately and is now offering a second Health and Wellness cruise. The special offerings on the Health and Wellness cruises include a trainer from Reebok who leads fitness classes, lectures on how to get the most from your work out, wise use of prescription drugs, healthy cooking demonstrations and wine tastings.

Key survey findings include:

- The leading method boomers used to book leisure air travel over the past 12 months was through an online full service travel website (38%).

- Important factors boomers consider for planning their leisure travel include a beautiful, scenic destination that promotes relaxation, has good weather, and presents no pressure of schedules to meet.

- Findings from the current study show that compared to 20 years ago when boomers were ages 21-39, a greater percentage of boomers today, ages 41-59, have a passport (10% in 1985 vs. 28% in 2005).

- Twenty years ago, less than 5% of boomers traveled to Europe (4%), Mexico, Central America or South America (4%) or the Caribbean (4%).

- Today, nearly double the percentage of boomers have traveled to these international destinations; 14% traveled to Mexico, Central America or South America; 10% traveled to the Caribbean; and 7% traveled to Europe.

- A majority of boomers consider themselves adventurous (55%) and nearly 8 in 10 boomers (77%) consider their own travel experiences more adventurous than their parents.

- The top five U.S. states, cities or areas boomers mentioned regarding their adventure travel, in order, were Las Vegas, Florida, New York, Hawaii, and Colorado.

- The top five locations boomers would like to visit on their dream trip are located on the following continents or territories, in order, the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, Australia/New Zealand, and Africa.

The data for this study were collected by a national survey research company that was commissioned by AARP Services called Knowledge Networks. The data collected comes from a national sample of adults ages 41 to 59. The survey was fielded between August 24th and August 29th, 2005 using the Knowledge Networks web-enabled panel, which provides a representative sample of U.S. households. In total, 1,594 respondents completed the AARP Services’ survey for this study.