One activity all age groups agree makes them happy is travelling. But despite youngsters' YOLO mentality, it’s older generations’ travel habits that are turning heads.
Health, Wealth & Happiness found that nearly three in ten (28%) over 55s say travelling makes them most happy – the age group's third-top answer after Spending time with family/ friends (62%), and Having time to myself (32%) in a tick three list.
Our survey syncs up with figures from Travel Habits
, a white paper published by the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2019, which found that Brits over 55 are a third more likely to travel abroad now than they were in 2014. The number of 55+ travellers who have managed more than three international trips in the last year has also increased by a third.
While foreign holidays are on the rise, staycationing too has seen something of a resurgence.
Whether it's Brexit, the crashing value of the pound, airline disruption or because the UK's actually quite pretty, staycationing is back with a bang. Around 60m staycations apiece were booked 2017 and 2018, up 6% on 2016.
According to Barclays report The Great British Staycation
, 59% of the British public have either had, or are planning, a staycation in 2019. This figure includes a quarter (24%) of 55-64 year olds and nearly three in ten (28%) 65 and overs. The Lake District, Scotland and Cornwall are favoured destinations for the older staycationer.
Whether it's at home or abroad, older folks' connection to travel isn't a mega surprise: stereotype holds that they're more likely to have the cash (as well as the time) to head out and see the world - including their own doorstep.
More holidays for all
Data in Travel Habits shows, however, that those with less disposable income aren't about to let that get in the way of their travel plans.
As much as the classification of social groups is a bit dated, those in the AB social group (defined as upper and middle class) travelled 2% more in 2018 than they did in 2014.
But the C1 and C2 social groups (lower middle class and skilled working class) travelled a massive 15% more in 2018 than 2014. The DE social group (defined as semi, unskilled casual and non workers) travelled 8% more in 2018 than they did in 2014.
Changing travel habits
The stereotype might hold that over 55s are all about the cruises, the beach, the business class and the five-star pampering, but in 2019, charity Age UK told us it's not that cut-and-dry.
Age UK found that 35% of 55-64-year-olds, and 31% of over 65s, are embracing solo travel. There has also been a surge in the number of retirees opting for adventure holidays and even backpacking trips, with scores of specialist operators in place to piece together adventure trips to fit any traveller profile.
In fact, as reported in late August this year, eight in ten British travellers now say they get irritated with the beach and would prefer an experience. Being stuck in one place is out and new sights, new foods and new thrills are in.
Key to mention is that while older travellers are travelling more (and taking more risks in their type of holiday) they're still by far and away the group most likely to buy travel insurance before setting off. Just 6% of over 55 travellers will set off without insurance to their name.
We were quite taken by one older traveller's write-up of an adventure holiday, which comprised sleeping in Tibetan truck stops and a confrontation with the Chinese army.
Inspired? Don't forget your insurance.