‘Golden gap year’ trend spotted as adventurous retirees save up to travel

The ‘golden gap year’ has emerged as a new travel trend with more than two fifths of over-55s (42%) claiming to be adventurous, new research shows.

As many as 37% of retirees surveyed by Fred Olsen Cruise Lines described themselves as adventurous.

Almost a quarter (24%) of 55 and overs say they have got more adventurous with age and three in 10 (29%) admitting they travel more now they are retired than they did previously.

More than a third (34%) of retirees claimed they never took the same trip twice and 38% said they were planning to visit multiple countries in 2024 with 35% of 55 and overs surveyed choosing cruising as the best way to explore multiple destinations.

The poll of more than 2,000 people found that people were actively choosing to set money aside for travel when they retire with more than a quarter (27%) already having a pot available for this purpose.

Over-55s are planning on spending an average of £4,800 per person on holidays in 2024 alone, with the average retirement travel saving at £14,000

This tallies with the latest ONS figures which show a 37% rise in spending by over-65s on trips abroad in last four years, according to the line.

Journey experience co-ordinator James Moss said: “The gap year is usually a rite of passage traditionally associated with school-leavers, but our research shows the prevalence of what has been dubbed ‘the golden gap year’ where people over 55 are travelling more than ever before, particularly after retirement which seems to have unleashed their sense of adventure even further.

“This is a group that is embracing the freedom to travel and experience new things more than any other. They have worked hard all their lives and cared for others and now is the time for them to enjoy what life has to offer and really seize the day.”

He added: “Our guests are adventurous, curious and excited about the world around them. They recognise the value in cruising as a way to visit multiple countries, immerse themselves in new cultures, try new foods, explore the hidden gems of destinations, embrace the wonders of nature and are enthusiastic about learning and experiencing new things.

“They really love our smaller ships which can take them to more interesting places – to the furthest reaches of Norway’s lesser-known fjords, through narrow waterways and canals and to the very heart of some of the world’s most beautiful cities. And they also choose us for our friendly, warm welcome and our itineraries and on board experiences which are hand-crafted to help get the most out of the destinations we are visiting.”

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