Baby Boomers are living the high life, travelling to every possible destination where there is something new to see and do.
Baby Boomers are living the high life, travelling to every possible destination where there is something new to see and do. jacoblund

TRAVEL: You only live once, so seniors go for thrills

BABY BOOMERS are living the high life, spending their hard-earned dollars on travelling to new places, taking on the YOLO motto - you only live once.

They are on the move at least once a year, sometimes even more.

And they are trying new places, which offer action and are out of the ordinary.

The Australian Seniors Insurance Agency commissioned Seniors Abroad recently published study has turned up some these findings and some interesting numbers on seniors travel.

Over 90% of Australians aged over 50 say travelling makes them feel alive, the study found.

A similar number stated exploring new and varied travel destinations was a great opportunity for self-discovery and personal growth.

New places, new sights and new cultures are at the top of the list, with tight budgets not a reason to limit themselves to boring travel.

Dr David Beirman, senior lecturer in tourism at Sydney's University of Technology, said: "Senior travellers are definitely breaking the conservative mould when it comes to their trips, and are far more adventurous than we give them credit for”.

About 48% of those surveyed said they preferred wildlife, nature or eco discovery experiences.

It seems the traditional seniors package tour could be on the way out, with more than 68% respondents stating that the format was not for them, while 56% said the tours were boring and 49% said they did not offer enough adventure.

Travel Industry Club director Sue Francis said she had found about 50% of her senior clients booked soft adventure cruising holidays.

"The expedition cruises are very popular, like the Kimberlies and Antarctica,” Ms Francis said.

"Small ship cruising is also popular. They don't have as many activities on board, but they concentrate on the places they are going to.

"You find yourself mixing with like-minded people on those ships.

"And they are adventurous; they don't want to just plonk there, they want to go out and do things.”

Ms Francis said senior-age clients were choosing river cruises in Indo-China and Europe, where they got to experience culture, cuisine and places with a difference.

For her other clients, it was about individual travel tours, rather than in groups.

The study found planning a holiday was a meticulous process for seniors, assisted greatly by the internet.

But, they were less likely to book a holiday on a whim, instead spending more than a day researching and planning a trip.

However, while the research clearly illustrated that the thrill of travel was unanimous, perceptions of global unrest had an impact on how the age groups chose their destinations.

Seniors were more likely to say war and terrorism in Turkey and the Middle East detered them from visiting those areas when compared to millennials (73.7% versus 59.5%).

Seniors were also more likely to admit that the political issues or concerns in the Philippines were keeping them away from the Pacific country (45.7% versus 35.0%), while the recent US elections were more likely to be a red flag for millennials planning to visit the United States (28.5% vs. 15.8%).

"Safety is one barrier for seniors and another is health,” Ms Francis said.

"I think that's why cruising has become so popular, because it is hassle-free.

"I think it is going to keep growing.”

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