If you needed encouragement to travel in your 50’s and 60’s then you might be emboldened to know that senior travel is to become a post-pandemic trend with travel agents now promoting ‘Age-Friendly Tourism’ as more older people than ever before are looking to prioritise travel in their lives.
It’s being reported in The Times that the proportion of people planning to retire early and travel in their 50’s and 60’s has more than doubled since the coronavirus pandemic. But it’s not just those looking to take early retirement or finally reaching retirement age who are fuelling their own fresh opportunities for adventure or boosting their own appetites for travel – it’s all being led by a whole generation of ‘boomers‘ who are longing for a well-earned lifestyle change.
Whether it’s the new phenomenon of ‘revenge travel’ in the wake of the Corona Virus pandemic, or the desire to live life more freely on our own terms after the restrictions of lockdown, we are being told that travel will be ‘all the rage’ in the new future and experts are expecting a boom in boomer travel.
In this age group the line between working and travelling has been blurred with remote and nomadic working arrangements.
TRAVEL IN YOUR 50’S AND 60’S
People who want to travel in their 50s and 60s have more disposable income than ever before with flexible attitudes to retirement and early access to pension pots. Most will use their travel budgets to facilitate slow travel in travelling further and for longer.
Many want to travel in luxury and are happy to splash out on first class travel and luxury cruises.
Some are just as likely to charter a private jet cost (paid link) with their justification being that they are facilitating lifelong dreams and bucket lists by doing so.
I’m an enthusiast of travel at any age but I want to share with you why I personally believe that whether you travel modestly or with panache how it’s best to travel in your 50’s and 60’s and how travel experiences in your midlife can be even more rewarding and beneficial than in your younger years.
Table of Contents
- World travel is no longer just for the Younger Generations
- Travel Fear in your 50’s and 60’s is natural but is it just imagined?
- Over 50s Bucket Lists
- Couples Travel: Solo Travel: Group Travel in Over 55’s
- Personal Travel Dreams
- 10 REASONS TO TRAVEL IN YOUR 50S AND 60S
I’m not saying that travel isn’t a privilege – it definitely is and it always will be – but it can be perhaps more accessible and probably more affordable than you might expect to travel in your midlife years.
I want to show you through reassurance and by example how travel in your 50’s and 60’s or older throughout this website can be a more rewarding experience in later life and if you are a little unsure… or scared and even a little bit afraid… it’s okay.
It’s only natural to have travel fears, particularly when we are older, but you should ask yourself if those fears are realistic or just imagined?
Understandably, many older travellers worry about health and safety and money, and it’s true that travel can be dangerous. The news media reminds us of this danger constantly. But let’s look at the Fear Factor in a little more detail.
Is stranger danger a real threat in our 50’s and 60’s? Perhaps. But this could be true at home as well as abroad.
Yet it’s certainly my own experience that there are many more good people in the world than there are bad.
Surely, all over the world, we all want the same things: decent food, clean water, a roof over our heads, a safe place to sleep. Health and happiness for ourselves and our loved ones.
We can counter The Fear of the unknown by being brave and sensible, being prepared, being equipped, taking precautions, and weighing up the risks in knowing that life itself is a risk wherever we are in the world.
More than a third of those over 50 years old are likely to have a ‘Bucket List’ of things they want to do before they die and according to an article in The Scotsman newspaper: “Having worked hard, many believe 50 is the point where their life is just getting started. In other research, we discovered that eight out of ten people age 55 and over will use assets such as property wealth to live a fulfilling and enjoyable retirement, with one in four admitting they would invest in a holiday of a lifetime.”
Bucket list holidays will be particularly popular with the older generation, suggests Travel Up Website: “Those with a good amount of disposable income are researching bucket list holidays like never before.”
The over-50s travel market is “more adventurous, diverse and lucrative than many imagine” says Selling Travel who claims long haul destinations and luxury travel is important to this age group. Those in their 50’s are also more likely to take grown-up gap years to do their bucket list or take work sabbaticals in order to prioritise slow travel in their lives.
With their children grown up and leading independent lives, parents in their 50’s are now just as likely as those in their 20’s to embrace a more flexible location free working environment in order to mix travel with ‘workcations’ and opportunities to work remotely as ‘digital nomads’.
Many are also looking to travel more sustainably and mindfully in future and plan to take Work Away breaks or to volunteer on conservation or charity projects to make travel meaningful.
“Our survey of British over 55’s sought to prove that a sense of adventure doesn’t diminish with age,” says Woman and Home magazine. And, so it has proved. Not only do a majority of over 55s have a travel list but they can see that now is the best time to complete it.
“Free from the burdens of a young family and not limited by financial or work-related constraints, people actually find more freedom to explore in older age than when they are young.”Woman and Home Magazine
The survey also revealed that most over 55’s want to travel as a couple or with a friend or to travel with a group but a solid 10% of them prefer to go it alone to complete their bucket list.
TRAVEL IN YOUR 50’S AND 60’S
A European survey found that people between the ages of 60 and 74 wanted to travel more intensively while they had reasonable health and because of the available time following retirement. On the other hand, people over 75 tended to travel less (in relation to their share of the population) possibly due to a decreasing motivation to travel or to health issues.
All proving that travel in your 50’s and 60’s is possibly the very best age to travel!
Perhaps you’ve spent years working a job and waiting for the freedom of the weekend?
And spent years fitting your travel and adventure into an annual two-week holiday slot?
Personally, I spent all of my 20’s working on building my career. I spent my 30’s making a home and having children and also working. I spent my 40’s raising teens and encouraging them to become well educated and well-rounded adults.
During these wonderful decades I longed to travel and we often did – saving up for family holidays in far flung places – and raising our kids to think of themselves as citizens of the world rather than just one country.
Then, in our mid-50’s, once our kids had left home and had left us with an empty nest, my husband and I decided we no longer needed a home – we just needed a phone – and the resources to travel.
We didn’t have much in the way of cash savings but we did have a house and furniture and cars.
So it came down to a simple choice of staying home or travelling around the world.
We also had a couple of small private pensions we could take early and we knew from life experience so far that at 54 (the age we were then) we still had the ways and means and capacity to earn some money to support ourselves.
I had my writing and my practical husband could turn his hand to most things.
Although, what he actually ended up doing during our first years travelling, was making his personal dream come true by training and qualifying as a scuba diving instructor.
During the same time, a personal dream come true for me too, when I wrote my Backpacking Housewife series of books to be published by HarperCollins.
Living a life of travel and exploring the world in our prime or golden years has afforded us opportunities we would never have believed possible!
1. You’ll get to live life with no regrets. When you are older, you get to realise that time is more important than money. But, unless you are fortunate to have savings or a big pension pot, affording your dream of travelling the world in midlife could come down to making a few different lifestyle choices or shifting your priorities. We decided to sell everything we owned to afford long term travel when we were in our mid-50’s and we have no regrets. I’m not saying that everyone should be spending the kids inheritance like us but I am suggesting that you shouldn’t let the idea of leaving money or assets for your loved ones after your death stop you from living your dream of travelling in your later years.
2. You can practice adventure before dementia! Travel in your 50’s and 60’s will lead to experiencing new places, cultures, languages, and people, have all been proven by scientists to improve cognitive function – it’s good for your older brain – so travelling in midlife can keep your brain healthy and keep your mind more alert for longer than if you’d stayed at home.
3. A grown-up gap year will make you see the world differently and from a new perspective. Time spent travelling broadens the mind and expands both horizons and tolerance. It can make you perceive everything differently and realise that there is still so much to learn about the world.
4. Travel can give you a new purpose in life. Why not make a difference and volunteer on conservation or charitable ventures abroad? There are lots of fabulous organisations all over the world that encourage those over 50 and in retirement to find and volunteer on the perfect project for them. Organisations like Volunteer World, Work Away, Global Vision International (GVI). Projects Abroad and Volunteer Forever are just a few. Please be sure to do your own comprehensive and full research into any volunteering opportunities and organisation.
5. Travelling in midlife can be tiring so why not take it slowly? Spending several weeks or even months at a time in a place can prevent jetlag and reduce your travelling carbon footprint. Slow Travel can also help you to truly experience living like a local and give you the chance to make new lifelong friends.
6. Frugal or fabulous? The choice is yours. If being older and more mature means you are more decerning and you now appreciate your comforts then leave the hostels and hard bunks to others and choose to stay in good quality and comfortable accommodation. Travelling – even backpacking – can be done in comfort and even on a budget is way more affordable in some countries than in others. You just have to learn your travel hacks and ways to be fabulously travel savvy.
7. You learn to trust your gut in all situations. You have the benefit of maturity and wisdom and life experience and so have learned to stay safe and sensible by listening to your gut and trusting your own instincts.
8. Choose to plan or not to plan: Make your plans and live your dreams but don’t forget to leave room for spontaneity and to allow for impulse trips and to take advantage of unexpected opportunities that might come your way. In my experience, that kind of thing happens all the time when travelling.
9. Have fun creating and ticking off your bucket list! Make a list of all the places you’ve dreamed of seeing with your own eyes but don’t forget to include experiences to live and feelings to feel.
10. Write about it! You can inspire others to be bold and travel in their 50’s and 60’s by keeping a journal of your travels or create an online blog to share your adventures with friends and family back home. If only so they have an idea of not how you are but where you are!
Are you planning to travel more in your 50’s and 60’s?
Do you have a Bucket List?
Do you have any Travel Fears?
Don’t hesitate to leave a comment as I’d love to hear from you!
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