According to the ABTA, one of the biggest travel trends for 2016 are adventure holidays for the over 55s.
Last year, 6% (1) of over 55s that went away opted for an adventure or sports based trip, with this year looking to be the same, if not higher.
What’s an Adventure Holiday?
A trip that may encompass activities ranging from a planned or guided walk through a town or the countryside, to skydiving and whitewater rafting. Popular holidays for the over 55s include anything from wildlife tours and safaris to sailing and archaeological excursions.
Why have they become so popular?
Changes made last year to the pension regulations mean those over 55 can now access their pension much earlier than they could in previous years. From a consumer survey conducted for the ABTA by Arkenford Ltd. (2) it was found that;
20% of 55-75 year olds surveyed would take cash out of their pension and 35% of these would spend it on a holiday – with a whopping 59% saying they would spend it on a ‘Holiday of a Lifetime’. This is where the adventure part comes in!
With people willing to spend between £2,000-£10,000, the possibilities seem endless…
What adventure are they seeking?
According to a report by Post Office Travel Insurance (3), 27% of their survey respondents listed scuba diving, mountain-biking, snowboarding, jungle trekking, water-skiing, off road safaris and horse riding as their top activities, with 33% planning to incorporate one or more of these activities on their next trip. A main priority of 3 in 5 of those surveyed is to be fit and able enough to participate in any of the sporting activities – with cycling being the most popular of the sporting activities – thanks Wiggins!
So where are these top destinations the over 55s are opting to venture to now?
As this is a relatively new trend for the over 55s, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact locations that qualify as the ‘Top Destinations’. Scandinavia and Russia top the “Dream Destination” list, whilst a quick search of Over 55s adventure travel brings up the likes of Biking in Burma, Cruise across the Arctic Ocean, a 20 day Brazilian Rainforest Trek and hiking in the Rockies! In saying this, Europe was the most popular destination of choice as per Arkenford’s survey.
Generally, locations that aren’t as popular with young families are usually favoured by the over 55s as there is an obvious lack of small children running about.
What would a typical adventure holiday for over 55s include?
As we established, Europe is the most popular continent to visit for our adventure seekers, so let’s have a look at what a 21 day Adriatic Adventure might include;
Places you’ll visit: Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Italy.
Sights you’ll see: 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 9 National Parks, Roman Amphitheatre, and St Mark’s Square.
Activities you’ll do: Hike through the Slovenian Alps, Cruise along the Krka River in Croatia, explore the Krizna, Postojna and Skocjan Caves in Slovenia.
What about 16 days in Papua new Guinea?
Places you’ll visit: Madang, Goroka, Tapola, Wewak and Pagwi
Sights you’ll see: Balek Wildlife Sanctuary, Mount Hagen, various “Haus Tamburan” (spirit houses) and Rouna Falls.
Activities you’ll do: Goroka coffee tour, visit the chief of the Tapola village, wooden river boating along the Sepik river with an overnight stay, and dependant on the time of year, you’ll attend a ‘singsing’ – a local cultural event
Or a visit to the South Pole?
Places you’ll visit: Chile, Union Glacier Camp in Antarctica and the South Pole.
Sights you’ll see: Both the Geographic South Pole and the Ceremonial Pole, breathtaking views of the Antarctic from the 4-5hr flight over stunning glaciers and native wildlife.
Activities you’ll do: As well as your once in a lifetime trip to the South Pole, you’ll also spend two days back at base camp to enjoy skiing, hiking, walking and learning Antarctic life skills.
With most of the meal, travel and accommodation costs included, it’s easy to see why holidays like this are becoming ever more popular. A powerful mix of excitement, discovery and freedom only perpetuate the need and want to travel further afield and try new experiences – as they say, ages is nothing but a number, after all!
If this blog has ignited the spark of adventure and a trip like one of the above sounds up your street, head over to Heathrow Airport Guide’s travel page which includes planning and packing tips, as well as car hire and solo travel information all for the over 55s