We surveyed a thousand over 50s and asked them what their priorities were, and travel was way up there.
While the desire to travel is strong at any age, later in life we’re in the unique position of having more time and money than ever before to do it.
So what were the most popular travel items on our bucket lists? We’ll share the insights from the survey – and share some tips on how to tick those items off your list.
Cruise the world
Just under a quarter of those asked admitted to wanting to take a cruise around the world – these spectacular cruises often last around four months and in that time will visit upwards of 20 countries all over the globe. These cruises are expensive and sell out quick, so if you’re serious about booking one it’s best to take a long approach and speak to a travel agent who can advise you about budgeting and booking. Take a look at our Cruise page and see what is currently on offer, plus we have a dedicated phone line if you would like to get some advice about a particular voyage. For a cheaper alternative, consider waiting for a sale – most cruise lines will do one or two a year – and choosing a shorter cruise that stops at several destinations around Asia, Europe or North America.
Fly first class
17% of us agreed flying first class would be a travel dream come true, and with so many exciting perks offered on board these days, who wouldn’t want to sit up front? Today flying first class is more like visiting an airborne hotel – private cabins, chauffer-driven cars to and from the airport, pyjamas and champagne and caviar are just a few of the perks that come with the price tag.
If you want to sample the finer things in life from 30,000ft, one of the easiest ways to get on board without breaking the bank is by using points. Check to see if your preferred airline has a rewards programme that lets you earn points when you use your credit card, that way even when you’re picking up petrol you can be saving towards your big adventure.
Moving was a priority for 15% of those we asked, and for many retiring to the sun or sea is a major life’s ambition. Destinations like France, Portugal and Spain are particularly popular with British ex-pats, and it’s not uncommon for people to sell their family homes and use the money to retire and downsize to a new home abroad.
If you like the sounds of that idea, but aren’t quite ready to commit to living permanently away from friends and family, there are still a few options that can make it possible to spend a chunk of the year overseas. Timeshares are still popular with travellers, and you can often find a deal on a resale, or you can use a similar vacation club that gives you the freedom to go to different destinations. It’s also worth considering if there’s anyone you could split the cost with – for example, buying a holiday home with some relatives. When it’s not in use, you could even rent it to other tourists to make some extra income.
Safari in Africa
Seeing the incredible landscapes and rare wildlife in Africa was another item high up on the travel bucket list, and might not be as far out of reach as you think. Once an adventure reserved for the rich, today safaris are much more affordable, accessible and most importantly – responsible.
Kenya and Tanzania are among the most popular destinations for a safari, and even if you’re on a strict budget it’s possible to book a short excursion and explore the sights. For the best deals, look for sales and special offers and take a look at our safari section too. Also make use of price comparison websites or a local travel agent who can help you choose a trip that gives you the most for your money.
Travel the USA
The great American road trip is one of the most iconic travel adventures there is, and if you fancy the open road, you’re not alone – 13% of our survey participants said the USA was a destination they’d like to travel. During annual seat sales you can find some excellent flights and holiday packages through airlines, so it’s worth checking – if you’re prepared to plan everything yourself you can easily rent a car and drive through New England, around the South or up and down the East Coast on a tight budget, staying at affordable motels along the way.
Renting a camper van is another popular way to tour around the country – and offers the added bonus of being able to camp and cook your own meals instead of paying for expensive hotels and restaurants.
Swim with Dolphins
They’re some of the most playful animals in the ocean, so it’s no surprise 10% said they’d like the chance to swim with dolphins. Florida, Mexico and the Bahamas are all popular destinations to seek out encounters with dolphins. Be sure to book an experience with a company that has a good reputation for safety and animal welfare.
If you’re not interested in swimming with dolphins in captivity but want to see them out in the wild, you don’t have to travel far – there’s great opportunities to see dolphins in Scotland at the Moray Firth or in Wales at Cardigan Bay.
What’s on your travel bucket list?