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It’s Golden Boldies Not Golden Oldies As 55 And Overs Get Adventurous On Their Holidays

Press release   •   Feb 13, 2016 00:01 GMT

Over a quarter of 55 and overs are more adventurous on holiday than when younger

27 per cent have taken part in action sports like canoeing, trekking and snowboarding and a third plan to do so on future holidays

Most of all, Golden Boldies have the cycling bug: over 1-in-10 have cycled on recent holidays and 15 per cent will do so on their next trip abroad

Boldies’ bucket list is surprising: Scandinavia and Russia rate among dream destinations

When it comes to overseas holidays, it seems that today’s 55 and overs are Golden Boldies rather than Golden Oldies, with age proving no obstacle to ambitious travel plans. In a new report by Post Office Travel Insurance, over a quarter (27 per cent) of them are more adventurous than when they were younger, both about where they travel and what they do on holiday1.

The key priority for three-in-five of the 55 and overs questioned is being fit enough to enjoy adventure holidays to far flung destinations and take part in action sports2. Jungle trekking, horse-riding, scuba diving, off-road safaris, mountain-biking, snowboarding, canoeing, water-skiing and cycling all featured in a list of activities undertaken by 27 per cent of the 55 and overs surveyed and a third (33 per cent) plan to do one or more of these on their next trip abroad.

Tour de France winners Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome seem to have been an inspiration for many Golden Boldies. More than one-in-10 (11 per cent) had been cycling on a recent holiday and 15 per cent intend to do so on future trips – making this the most popular action sport.

However, the older generation could lay themselves open to problems, according to the Post Office Travel Insurance research. Just three-in-10 checked rules and safety advice before taking part in an activity; under a quarter (23 per cent) asked organisers if they had accident insurance and 48 per cent failed to establish whether their own travel insurance would cover them.

Children – or the lack of them – were one of the key drivers of destination choice. While only six per cent of 55 and overs used inheritances and five per cent raided their pension pot to fund holidays, 25 per cent said they could afford dream trips once they no longer had children to pay for. The USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia topped their bucket list of destinations for future holidays3 and, of those aged 65+, 20 per cent had already visited the USA, eight per cent had been to Canada, seven per cent to Australia and four per cent to New Zealand4.

Some destinations chosen by older holidaymakers came as a surprise. One-in-10 of the 65 and over age group surveyed for the Post Office Travel Insurance report had travelled to Scandinavia in the past five years and six per cent had visited Russia. In both cases this was three times as many of those aged under 55 (Scandinavia three per cent; Russia two per cent). Although fewer of those aged between 55 and 64 had been to these destinations, significant numbers are planning future visits – 20 per cent to Scandinavia and 14 per cent to Russia.

While relaxing on a beach or by the pool remains a popular holiday pastime for around half of those in the older age groups, discovery and exploration are more important. Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of 55 and overs rated visits to historic sites and heritage attractions as their favourite holiday activity and 71 per cent liked exploring new destinations.

Given their interest in history and heritage, it is, perhaps, no surprise that city breaks were more popular than any other type of holiday. 57 per cent had been on a city break in the past five years or were booked to go on one in the next six months. By comparison only 23 per cent had taken a cruise, once regarded as the obvious holiday choice for ‘oldies’.

However, very few were motivated by seeing the destination on TV or at the cinema (five per cent) or by a desire to meet a new partner (two per cent). By comparison, four times as many 18-54 year olds admitted wanting a meet a new partner and three times as many were inspired by seeing their holiday destination on the big or small screen.

Rob Clarkson, Managing Director, Post Office Money Insurance, said: “It certainly does not seem that people’s holiday choices become more conservative as they get older. Our research suggests that 55 and overs are actually much more adventurous than might have been expected. In view of this they should be particularly careful to check that they are covered for all eventualities with comprehensive travel insurance because the cost of holiday mishaps is likely to be higher than for younger people.”

Post Office Travel Insurance found that over three-in-10 (31 per cent) did not take out travel insurance for their last holiday. Yet around one-in-14 of 55 and overs who had been on holiday in the past five years experienced travel insurance-related problems. Medical emergencies were the most common problem, suffered by over a third of them (37 per cent) and costing an average of £532. This was significantly more than the average across all age groups of £386.

Post Office Travel Insurance has been voted top travel insurance provider in the annual British Travel Awards for the past eight years. More information about the comprehensive cover it provides can be found at or at a Post Office branch.


Notes to Editors:

¹ Source: Post Office omnibus research by Populus among 2,097 UK adults aged 18 and over (4-6 September) revealed that 27 per cent (189) of 698 respondents aged 55+ who plan to go on holiday say that they have definitely become more adventurous with age.

2 Source: Post Office omnibus research by Populus (4-6 September) to establish the motivation of people aged 55+ for deciding on a destination or holiday type. This found:

Want to do it while I am still fit enough 60%
Retired or reduced working hours 40%
Take advantage of cheap packages 29%
Affordable now there are no children to pay for 25%
More disposable income 25%
Take advantage of sterling’s strength/exchange rates 18%
Have been putting if off for years – but on bucket list 16%
Inherited money 6%
Raided my pension pot 5%

3 The Populus research found that the USA (30 per cent), Canada (30 per cent), New Zealand (28 per cent) and Australia (27 per cent) topped the bucket list of destinations that people aged 55 and over would most like to visit in the future.

4 Scandinavia (20 per cent) and Russia (10 per cent) also featured in the bucket list and were among the 10 most visited destinations by the 55+ age group (806 adults).

Top 10 destinations visited by people aged 55 and over in the past five years or booked for the next six months:

All aged 55+ Including 65+ 65+ only 18-54
Western Europe 46% 51% 41%
USA 17% 20% 18%
Eastern Europe 12% 13% 17%
Scandinavia 8% 10% 3%
Egypt 7% 7% 7%
Caribbean 7% 8% 6%
Canada 6% 8% 6%
Australia 5% 7% 5%
Thailand 4% 5% 5%
Russia 4% 6% 2%

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