BOISE – If you’re planning a trip for an in-person event this year, you’re not alone.  According to new research by AAA and Bread Financial, approximately 3 in 5 Gen Z and Millennial survey respondents have traveled 50 miles or more in the past 12 months, or will in the next 12 months, to attend a live event such as a concert, sporting event, or comedy show.

“If there’s anything that we’ve learned from eclipse travel, it’s that people are passionate about capturing once-in-a-lifetime moments,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde.  “Whether athletes and entertainers are at the height of their powers or winding down their careers, the people who feel a special connection to their work are eager to have a shared experience.”

In the new survey, AAA noted significant differences in live-event travel by generation:

  • 65% of Gen Z and 58% of Millennial respondents have or will travel for a live event in the near term, compared with 43% of Gen X and 27% of Baby Boomers.
  • 53% of Gen Z respondents plan to head to live events by plane, the most of any generation.  18% say they would travel 1,500 miles or more to attend a concert or competition, compared to 9% of Baby Boomers.
  • More than a third of Gen Z (37%) and Millennial (39%) survey respondents have spent between $500 and $1,500 just for tickets to live events, with 42% of the Millennial group and 37% of the Gen Z travelers willing to dip into their savings to pay for the cost of attending a live game or performance.  About a third of both groups would consider a side gig to pay for their event travel.
  • More than half of Gen Z travelers plan to attend a music event in the next 12 months.
  • FOMO (fear of missing out) was a factor in 34% of event travel decisions.  While 54% of Gen Z travelers feel compelled to attend an in-person event, 83% of Baby Boomers say they can resist such pressures.

“We live in an on-demand world, and some of the most popular concerts, competitions, and festivals may sell out in a matter of hours, if not minutes,” Conde said.  “Travel is a personal decision, and where some may see attending a live event as an extravagant expense, others feel it is an important investment in their quality of life.”

Nearly 80% of survey respondents are eager to enjoy an event at a specific destination, with New York, Florida and California ranking the highest among states and Las Vegas and Chicago the highest among cities.  Regionally, The Gorge Amphitheatre in Eastern Washington and Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado are popular event destinations.

Not surprisingly, travelers often pay a premium to take part in an in-person event.  Almost half of survey respondents who are not traveling for live events listed ticket costs and overall travel costs as contributing factors.

Other inhibiting factors included:

  • Budget/debt worries (40%)
  • Inability to take time off from work (31%)
  • Inflation (31%)
  • Car/flight issues (28%)

Millennials were more likely to put off event travel due to vacation availability, while Gen Z was most concerned about budget or debt worries.

“What makes live events so tricky is that there may not be much notice that they’re going to happen, so instead of saving for a specific show, it may be necessary to tighten the budget and save up ‘just in case,’” Conde said.  “Of course, it’s important to consider the financial implications of any trip.  But by being intentional about travel planning, it’s possible to find an appropriate balance.”