Third Age Travel The Backpacking Housewife Janice Horton


I recently heard the term Third Age Travel with reference to Over 50’s travel and it made me smile.

I think I like the term Third Age Traveller much better than I like being called a midlife traveller or a senior or an older or golden or silver age or seasoned traveller. Certainly, all the midlife or senior travellers I’ve met on my own travels seem to have a zest for life and an exuberant attitude, but being a Third Age Traveller exudes a ‘bold not old’ attitude to travel in retirement.

It sounds PROGRESSIVE. It suggests a NEW AGE of travel.


Janice Horton flying in a small plane
The Backpacking Housewife travel

The Backpacking Housewife and Backpacking Husband travelling in Central America


When I first set out as a world traveller (compared to being a tourist or holidaymaker) I was in my mid-50’s and I definitely considered myself to be embarking on midlife travel. But 10 years on – aged in my 60’s – is the term ‘midlife’ still considered a true representation of my age and time in life?

Well, perhaps not, unless I’m sure I’ll live to be 120 years old!

So, I like the idea of being in a Third Age. It feels progressive. In my First Age I was growing and studying and developing. I was focussed on my interests and a career. I got married. In my Middle Age I focussed on raising my family as a housewife and a mother and I continued to work. Then, in my mid 50’s, I became an empty-nester and everything changed.

I feel Third Age applies itself perfectly to the age I am now.

The Backpacking Housewife travels Thailand
The Backpacking Housewife travels Cambodia

Backpacking as a Third Age Traveller in Thailand and Cambodia!


An Article by Silver Travel says: “The term Third Age was coined by the French in Toulouse in 1973. The concept was adapted and embraced by the UK in 1980. The new format changed from being a purely academic gathering in universities, to more of a self-help organisation, acknowledging that retired people have a lifetime of experience and collectively, a vast amount of knowledge.”

There is in fact a University of The Third Age. Its abbreviation is U3A. How cool is that!?

A British U3A Website reports this about “The Third Age” membership eligibility: “The ‘third age’ is defined by a time in your life where you have the opportunity to undertake learning for its own sake. There is no minimum age but a focus on people who are in their third ‘age’ of life and no longer in full-time employment or raising a family”.

National Geographic says of Third Age Tourism: “In the wake of the pandemic, a growing demographic of travellers aged 50-plus are setting off to see the world for months — or years — at a time. Unwittingly joining a cohort of careerists aged 50-plus with itchy feet and designs on a rite of passage traditionally associated with school-leavers. For these jet setters, regular Mediterranean trips and occasional city breaks no longer cut it. So, they’re turning their backs on convention and taking off. And by all accounts they’re a burgeoning demographic”.

It’s true! By 2030 the number of people in the world aged 60 years or over is projected to grow by 56%. (Source also Nat Geo)

The Backpacking Housewife travel San Francisco
The Backpacking Housewife travel Kuala Lumpur

Around The World Travel Adventures from The West to The Far East


Yes, I believe it is! If you are lucky, there is a period of time in our Third Age in which we might still have reasonable health and energy levels. In the wake of the pandemic, I’ve even heard some call it ‘revenge travel’ because you want to do your ‘bucket list’ it before something gets in the way of living your travel dreams.

Third Age is a noun used for the third age of old age when viewed as an opportunity for travel

I certainly do see ‘a window of opportunity’ in my life right now. Because if I’m still alive in another decade or two, then I might be facing a lack of mobility, ill health, frailty, or a hundred other ailments due to ageing. Ailments that might prevent me from travelling. So, if not now, then when?

Do we wait until we’re perhaps too old to enjoy travel properly?


bucket list travel

What’s on your bucket list? I know that as I tick mine off it keeps growing! Is yours a Trip of a Lifetime trip or a new lifetime of travel thing? Wanderlust is a real thing. Except I call it Wandermust and I wrote a post about it HERE.

For the past 10 years, since finding ourselves as empty-nesters and selling everything to travel, I’ve been travelling nomadically and slowly around the world with my backpacking husband. It has and continues to be amazing.

We want to keep travelling as long as possible, while ticking off our bucket-lists and having the Greatest Travel Experiences, in different countries all over the world.

Slow travel for us means staying in places for many weeks – sometimes many months – at a time and living like locals. We love to embrace new culture, get to know new people, pick up a new language.

It keeps life interesting and I’m convinced it keeps us young!

The Backpacking Housewife Travel Egypt the Pyramids
The Backpacking Housewife Travel Egypt The Sphinx

Exploring Egypt and visiting Cairo was a Bucket List Destination!


Third Age travel concerns are valid. But I absolutely believe that many of the worries and concerns that the over 50’s have about travel – concerns they believe will prevent them from travelling and living their dreams – can be overcome in many cases with Step By Step Travel Planning and a ‘bold not old’ attitude.

Mobility Issues can be addressed in many cases by careful planning ahead. Airports and airlines can accommodate people with special requirements if you request this ahead of time. As can many accommodations. Maybe you need a ground floor room or access to a lift? Or a wet room shower rather than a walk in or bath installed shower? Think about solutions.

Medicines and Prescription requirements for travel can be talked over with your doctor.

Travel Insurance is important no matter which age group you belong but it can be challenging when your are in your Third Age. I wrote a detailed post about Travel Insurance for The Over 50’s HERE.

The Backpacking Housewife Travel Hoi An Vietnam
The Backpackping Housewife Seychelles

From The South China Sea to The Indian Ocean

Many THIRD AGE Travellers are now considering this their NEW AGE!

Are you approaching your Third Age or are you, like me, fully immersed?

Do you see The Third Age as a gift you want to use to travel more?

Let me know. Leave a comment below.

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