Over 50 and ready for adventure: Why retirees are heading for ‘golden gap years’

Adriana Lima
By Adriana Lima 8 Min Read

(*50*)origin 1New analysis reveals that older generations have a rising curiosity in critical journey after retirement, a pattern dubbed the “golden gap year.” ©Neom

When Lyn and Steve Stokes retired at age 48, they did not dream of settling into the quiet way of life of the everyday retiree.

Instead, the couple from Bedford within the UK wished one thing often related to younger adventurous travellers: they wished to see the world.

Although they are not conscious of it, the Stokes are a part of a rising pattern of older vacationers selecting to spend their retirement taking formidable, long-term journeys.

The phenomenon has been dubbed the “golden gap 12 months” – a mature model of the varsity leaver’s gap of exploration and self-discovery – and appears set to shake up the journey trade.

What is the Golden Gap Year?

New analysis reveals that older generations have a rising curiosity in taking journey significantly retirementa pattern dubbed the “golden sabbatical.”

According to a latest survey carried out by boutique cruise firm Fred, greater than two-fifths of over-55s say they are “adventurous.” Olsen Cruise Lines.

UK primarily based and Norwegian owned cruise line discovered that almost 1 / 4 of respondents say they’ve change into extra adventurous as they age, and three in 10 say they journey extra now that they are retired than prior to now.

In a survey of greater than 2,000 folks, greater than a 3rd say they’ve by no means taken the identical journey twice and 38% say they plan to go to extra nations in 2024.

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Small-group journey journey firm Intrepid Travel has additionally seen comparable tendencies.

“Bookings from UK customers aged over 60 increased by 42% last year compared to before the pandemic,” says Hazel McGuire, Intrepid basic supervisor for the UK and Ireland.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines additionally discovered that respondents are actively selecting to save cash to journey once they retire with greater than 1 / 4 of their pension English already having funds put aside for this goal.

Data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics exhibits a 37% enhance in spending by over-65s on overseas journey over the previous 4 years.

Although these prospects spend extra, good worth for cash is necessary to them too.

“They want to make sure they get great results when it comes to interesting and unique experiences and comfort when they travel,” McGuire says.

“Retirement gave us golden years of adventures”

Lyn and Steve Stokes are an excellent instance of this rising group of travellers. In the 20 years since retirement, they’ve accomplished their wishlist of locations.

In addition to visiting a lot of Europe, they packed their baggage Greenland AND Egypt and I spent 5 Christmases within the Canary Islands.

“I distinctly remember a colleague asking me what I planned to do when I retired,” says Steve, now 68.

(*50*)origin 1This older traveler demographic can also be opting for longer, extra formidable forms of journeys.Neom

“I had saved most of my working life and suddenly realized that retirement would be the opportunity to do the things we had always dreamed of, giving us golden years of adventure.”

This older traveler demographic can also be opting for longer, extra formidable forms of journeys.

“Until the [retirement]we tended to go to the identical resort for two weeks yearly,” provides Steve. “We hadn’t traveled much when we were younger and building a career seemed like our goal.”

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Lyn says retirement has made the couple extra adventurous.

“Some of the highlights for us were visiting the southern tip of Greenland and standing on the bridge while passing through icebergs, seeing the pyramids in Egypt and the northern Lights in the Norwegian fjords,” says the 64-year-old.

McGuire says Intrepid’s bookings replicate this rising curiosity in journey journey amongst retirees. “We recently had a 77-year-old client who did Everest Base Camp with us,” she says.

The firm additionally sees many “victory lap” vacationers becoming a member of their journeys.

“These are older travelers who have visited destinations in balance or as they backpacked when they were younger, and now want to go back at a slower pace, with more comfort, and enjoy it from a different perspective.”

The journey trade is growing its choices for older travellers

Interest in gap years has prompted journey businesses and tour firms to introduce new presents aimed on the older demographic.

G adventures, a adventure journey firm, launched its Geluxe Collection this 12 months, that includes “activity-focused trips, featuring unique accommodations, high-end dining and a strong focus on community and culture.”

“These journeys have been rigorously curated for individuals who love journey with a softer method

touchdown, however nonetheless take pleasure in significant interactions with native folks as a part of their journey expertise,” says Yves Marceau, vp of product for G Adventures.

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Options embody venturing into the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara within the south Morocco or a strolling safari by means of Matusadona National Park in Zimbabwe.

Intrepid is making an attempt to cater to mature vacationers too with its Premium vary.

“It’s incredibly popular with our older customers because it combines our authentic, experiential style of travel with a higher level of comfort,” says McGuire.

“Travellers have improved lodging, our extra skilled guides, a Slower rhythm and unique experiences reminiscent of a cruise alongside the Ganges at sundown in India with native musicians.

Alternative small group cruises are additionally proving well-liked for gap years.

“Cruises are the best way to travel the world: you get on, unpack and then you’re on holiday. Every night you go to sleep and in the morning you wake up in a new place,” Lyn says.

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