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Travel habits of the older generation

2nd May 2019

Nowadays seeing the world is no longer as hard as it once was and as a result, many older adults travel to destinations all over the globe.

According to an article on Travel + Leisure, baby boomers are the least resistant to budget restrictions than any other age group and are visiting more far-flung destinations than ever before.

This guide takes a look at the travel habits of older people and with the help of some experts shares some tips on travelling as older adults.

Solo holidays popular among older adults

In a new study called the Solo Traveller Report, conducted by Global, the largest commercial radio station in Europe, and published on the Accord site, it focuses on solo travelling and how it no longer lies with the 20-something backpacker that stereotypes suggest.

The research found that 55-64-year-olds (35%) and over 65s (31%) would travel alone and this was among the highest of any other age groups. A cruise holiday was most popular amongst over 65s with around 30% of respondents from this age group stating that they had been on this type of holiday. City breaks (around 40%) were also popular choices amongst the over 65s.

Around 70% of over 65s said flexibility was an important factor during the planning stage of a holiday. There are many over 65s who suffer from mobility issues and need to use aids such as new stairlifts and this was one of the reasons for people in this age group deciding against going on holiday on their own.

Tips for older adults going on solo holidays

Despite some older people deciding against solo holidays, more than 30% of people aged 55+ said they would go on holiday on their own, which was the highest of any age group. Here are some tips for older adults looking to book a solo holiday.


As a solo traveller, you should look to book your accommodation early and Heather Cowper of shares some great tips: “Travelling on your own is often a great option for those who are single, have partners who don't share their interests or just enjoy the freedom to follow their own schedule. To have a positive experience that offers flexibility, yet still allows you to connect with other travellers, I would choose your accommodation carefully. Smaller family run hotels and guest houses will offer a friendly and more personal experience for the solo traveller and a new breed of luxury hostels offer private rooms and a chance to socialise with other travellers.”

Cruise Holidays

Cruise holidays came out as one of the most popular types of holiday for older people and Kerry Spencer, who is the Editor of Cruise Critic, explains why it is a great option.

She says: “Both ocean and river cruising are hugely popular with mature travellers, especially as a result of increased options for solo travellers. A cruise is a wonderful way to see multiple destinations in one trip and yet still have the social life, meals, facilities and consistent standards a ship provides.

“Make sure that you give careful consideration to the ship experience that you want. A larger ship is likely to have more extensive facilities and a broader mix of people of all ages, but you won’t necessarily bump into the friends you make that easily. Smaller ships, on the other hand, offer a more intimate atmosphere with specialist itineraries and longer days in ports to discover new places.

“If you have special requirements regarding mobility or diet etc., cruise ships provide a variety of assistance, services and accommodations, but offerings vary from one cruise line to another and even from one ship to another in the same fleet. Passengers who have disabilities should consult with the cruise line before booking a trip to understand what options and rules apply to their situation. Just like with hotels, cruise ships offer a small number of accessible staterooms, so book early if you need one. And plan shore excursions accordingly – the cruise line should be able to guide you to the best options for your mobility level.”

Heather Cowper, who runs the Heather on Her Travels site, says: “Cruise holidays are a great option for the older traveller who wants to see a lot but with the convenience of only unpacking once. However, it pays to do your research on the ship you will be sailing on. Smaller ships such as Azamara and Silversea tend to offer a more luxurious experience geared for grownups, where larger ships like P&O or Royal Caribbean may offer lower prices and more amenities but a busier atmosphere. There's no right or wrong but the type of ship and cruise line can be a large factor in your enjoyment of the cruise.”

City breaks

City breaks were a hugely popular choice amongst the older generation and this popularity is set to grow and grow.

Heather Cowper shares her top tips: “City breaks are a fun and fascinating type of holiday, for those who enjoy culture and good food. It's often helpful to take a hop-on-hop-off bus, food tour, or sightseeing tour on the first day of your trip. Tours are a great way to familiarise yourself with a new place, get some local recommendations and then decide what you might like to explore in more depth.”

Pick a tailored holiday

There are now plenty of options for solo travellers who are 55+. Kerry Spencer from Cruise Critic not only recommends checking out specialist travel forums such as (ladies only), or Cruise Critic’s +55 Cruisers but recommends choosing a holiday that is specifically for mature travellers.

“Better still, why not choose a holiday company which exclusively caters for older, solo travellers, such as Saga Holidays and Saga Cruises which offer holidays and small-ship sailings to travellers over 50 years of age, on a comprehensive, all-inclusive basis.

“More over 50s are cruising alone and cruise lines are responding accordingly with increased options for solo travellers. Do your research and speak to travel agents to find out which cruise lines cater best for solo travellers as many now have dedicated solo cabins, with some lines routinely waiving solo supplements to appeal to the over 55 market. These days, single cruise adventurers can expect tailored activity programmes, dedicated cocktail parties for mingling, and dining companions hand-picked for compatibility. There are also lots of opportunities to be sociable, with classes, seminars and shore excursions.

“A number of specialist cruise lines are also offering amazing destination itineraries for solo travellers. Expedition specialist, Pandaw Cruises, sets aside solo-occupancy cabins on all ships, and sails to remote, off-the-beaten-track Asian destinations, including the shallow waters of Myanmar’s lesser-known Chindwin and the Irrawaddy Delta’s labyrinth of waterways.”

If you want to see more articles like this, then take a look at the Mobility news section.

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This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.