Boomer Backpackers on the Rise: One in Five 55-64 Year Olds Embracing Adventure Travel
Flightgiftcard provides a guide to the top travel destinations for over 50s.
Globetrotting millennials are setting important trends when it comes to Instagram worthy and ‘tick-box travel’, but, equipped with a higher disposable income, more free time, and a genuine and growing sense of adventure, the massive baby boomer generation is a travel force to be reckoned with.
Research has found that the average age of solo travellers is now 57 with a fifth of thrill-seeking 55-64 year olds heading off on a backpacking adventure. In fact, solo travel among this generation has surged – 40 percent of Baby Boomers took a solo trip between 2017-2018, with 21 percent planning to take one in the future.
This growing band of backpackers is taking advantage of empty nests, early retirement or sabbaticals as the perfect excuses to embark upon belated globetrotting expeditions. And, unlike their younger counterparts, the over 50s aren’t held back by limited budgets and definitely aren’t afraid to eschew too-popular travel trends or hotspots in favour of immersing themselves in the culture of more authentic and off-the-beaten track destinations.
Flightgiftcard has compiled a hotlist of destinations that should be top of the list for any budding boomer backpackers.
- Kerala, India
Inspired by the much-loved Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films, India has long been a popular destination for boomer backpackers. And, worlds away from the frenzy of cities, Kerala, on the southwestern Malabar Coast, is a particular favourite.
The country as a whole is known for its vibrant and welcoming culture, but add to the mix lush hills, stunning beaches and world-renowned seafood, and you have Kerala.
Boomers can head for the hills of the Western Ghats and visit tea and spice plantations, explore the backwaters made up of brackish lagoons and lakes, before spending a few days relaxing on one of the many white sand, palm-lined beaches.
Flights from £342pp return
- Lake Bled, Slovenia
Exploring more of Europe is top of the list for many boomer backpackers and Slovenia is a popular choice.
With its turquoise lake, medieval castle clinging to the cliffside set against the backdrop of the dramatic Julian Alps and the Karavanke, it’s not difficult to understand the intrigue.
The scenic hiking trails combined with availability of water-sports and canyoning make Lake Bled perfect for the more adventurous boomers.
Flights from £114pp return
- Valparaíso, Chile
Dubbed Chile’s most unusual city, Valparaíso is a bustling port town known for its steep funiculars and colourful clifftop homes. With an air of ‘anything-goes’, this city is ideal for adventurous spirits. And there is only one way to explore this city – on foot.
Boasting some of the best street art in South America, Valparaíso is a made up of a maze of alleys and staircases which are ripe for exploration. The hills are dotted with crumbling mansions from bygone eras.
La Sebastiana – the quirky former residence of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda – is a must visit. It’s now a museum with the city’s most spectacular views of the Pacific.
Flights from £544pp return
- Milford Sound, New Zealand
Out of budget for many younger backpackers, New Zealand is growing in popularity for boomer backpackers. And, while there are many adventures to be had – Milford Sound should be top of your list.
Milford Sound or Piopiotahi (the Maori name), often dubbed the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, is a fiord in the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island. Known for its towering Mitre Peak which stands at 1,692 metres, lush rainforests and thundering waterfalls, expect to see the resident fur seal colonies, penguins and dolphins and be sure to visit the Underwater Observatory to catch a glimpse of the rare black coral.
Legend has it that when Maui lost the treasure of immorality to the goddess of death, a thrush flew to this place of sorrow. What better place to take time exploring?
Flights from £1,024pp return
- Hue, Vietnam
Popular with young and old alike, Vietnam is a firm favourite with backpackers.
The city of Hue, in central Vietnam, was the seat of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors and the national capital from 1802 to 1945. The Imperial City, the seat of the Nguyen emperors, occupies a large, walled area on the north side of the Perfume River. Backpackers can also take day-trips to the Demilitarized Zone including The Rockpile, Khe Sanh Combat Base and the Vinh Moc tunnels.
It goes without saying that no visit to Vietnam is complete without sampling the abundance of delicious street food on offer – a true foodie’s paradise.
Flights from £763pp return
*Flight costs correct as of 30 January 2019. Fares sourced via Skyscanner.
Notes to Editors:
Flightgiftcard & Hotelgift co-founders, Loes Daniels & Jorik Schroder, are available for interview or comment upon request.
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