Mature travellers seek adventure

A recent Rough Guides survey shows that many older travellers have a growing sense of adventure. Michael Edwards reports on some ambitious travel plans.

older traveller

The over 50s are largely a generation who grew up talking about holidays which were frequently an annual bucket-and-spade trip to Blackpool, Bournemouth or Woolacombe. Perhaps, if they were really lucky a package holiday to the Spanish costas.

For many of us travel – taking in culture and adventure – is something we’ve learned from our children, as they head off on their Gap Years or suddenly quit a secure job “to go travelling.”

The Rough Guide’s survey provides the evidence that travel has become an important part of life for the Babyboomers and that their desire for adventure was not diminishing as the years roll on.

“Travel is no longer the sole preserve of the young. It is important that the travel industry gives older travellers the same opportunities to have adventurous travel experiences as younger people if they want to and not dismiss them as being too ‘old’ or ‘boring’,” says Aimee White, The Rough Guides editor.

New Zealand

Many people still have the ambition of working their way through a personal bucket list with trips to Australia, Canada and New Zealand featuring heavily in those lists. On average the over 40s have at least seven countries left on their bucket list.

Travel has moved on from the solitary summer holiday of yesteryear. The majority of those questioned were looking forward to more than just one trip in 2019. Over a third of those questioned believed that they are now more adventurous in their choice of holidays than in their younger years.

The growth of active holidays featuring biking, hiking, kayaking and high-adrenaline challenges provides travellers with many options. You are just as likely to see today’s Silver Traveller on a zip-line flying through the Costa Rica rain forest or snorkelling on Mauritian reefs as relaxing on a sun-lounger.

“The great thing about travel is you can get out of it exactly what you like. If you want a wild adventure, then go ahead – if you’d rather chill out on holiday, that’s fine too. But often our tastes change as we get older, and it’s great to see an appetite for adventure isn’t limited to anyone under the age of 25,” says Aimee White. 

Moai statues of Ahu Tongariki on Easter Island, Chile

There is a growing tendency for travellers to leave the beaten path and discover new territories and challenges. Whilst much travel targets young back-packers jetting around the world, the Rough Guides’ results show that the more mature travellers seek the adventure but without the “rough bits” of cheap hostel accommodation and the gruelling travel on local buses and trains. The mature traveller wants to see the Taj Mahal or walk on the salt flats of Chile but return to an iced sundowner, a fine meal and a good night’s sleep afterwards. 

Identifying this trend to eliminate the “rough bits” the Rough Guides have launched a new tailor-made trips service to help older travellers with a spirit of adventure. They can go travelling without those worrying ‘rough bits’.

Many of the questionnaire’s respondents believed that the time when children had left the nest and their financial outgoings were lower made it an ideal time to explore the world. With less time pressure they felt they enjoyed travel more than in their younger years.

Consequently, the Rough Guides have created a new service for adventurous older travellers. A local travel expert creates a unique trip based on the customer’s criteria, making sure it is full of new experiences and ‘off-the-beaten-track’ elements. 

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Last modified: June 10, 2021

Written by 9:56 am Travel