What do affluent travelers really want?

National Report – It’s no surprise that people with higher annual incomes tend to travel more, but according to research in the 2014 Portrait of Affluent Travelers survey from MMGY Global, certain travel occasions and locations are trending among jet-set travelers looking to spend money.

Why are they traveling?

Not surprisingly, travelers with annual household incomes of $250,000 or more spent significantly more on travel in 2013 than those who earned $125,000 - $249,999—$17,582, compared to $5,852. However, travelers making $125,000 - $249,999 intend to spend 6 percent more in 2014, while those making $250,000 or more intend to spend 8 percent less.

Four in 10 affluent travelers went on a vacation to celebrate a birthday in the last 12 months, while more than one in 10 took a trip for a wedding or family reunion. However, travelers making $250,000 or more were significantly more likely than those making $125,000 - $249,999 to have taken a vacation to celebrate a birthday or honeymoon.

In the past 24 months, more than four in 10 travelers with annual household income of $250,000 or more went on a long-haul trip, which is significantly higher than the three in 10 travelers making $125,000 - $249,999.

Where are they going?

Travelers making $250,000 or more were more likely to be interested in visiting domestic destinations during the next two years.

Types of special occasion vacations
taken (by income of travelers)

$125,000-$249,999 41%
$250,000 42%
$125,000-$249,999 36%
$250,000 43%
Source: MMGY Global

When asked which international areas they want to visit during the next two years, those making $250,000 or more are more interested in visiting Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa and the Middle East. Two in 10 of all affluent travelers are interested in visiting the Caribbean, while more than one in 10 are interested in visiting Canada and Mexico.



Eight in 10 travelers buy the best quality product they can, given the price they want to pay for it, while two in 10 buy the best quality product and expect the price to reflect this.

Took a long-haul trip
in the past 24 months

$125,000-$249,999 44%
$250,000 29%
Source: MMGY Global

However, travelers making $250,000 or more are significantly more likely than the other group to believe that to get true luxury, you must pay more.


The travel trend information presented in this report was obtained from interviews with 2,550 active leisure travelers during February 2014. Respondents were adults who reside in the United States and:

Had an annual household income of $125,000 or more, and had taken at least one leisure trip of 75 miles or more from home during the previous 12 months requiring overnight accommodations.

Respondents were selected randomly and participated in a 45-minute online survey. The sample has been balanced by statistical weighting to ensure the data are representative of all active leisure travelers in America who meet the target profile. All tests of statistical significance have been made using a two-population test at the 95-percent level of confidence. In this study, the data is analyzed by income bracket, affluent travelers with annual household incomes of $125,000 - $249,999, and those making over $250,000. Half the respondents (51 percent) are in the $125,000 - $249,999 group and half (49 percent) are in the $250,000 or more segment.

Interested in visiting U.S. travel destinations

Los Angeles San Francisco
$125,000-$249,999 29% $125,000-$249,999 48%
$250,000+ 35% $250,000+ 54%
New York City Boston
$125,000-$249,999 45% $125,000-$249,999 37%
$250,000+ 58% $250,000+ 45%
Source: MMGY Global

Interested in visiting international areas

Source: MMGY Global