There will be fewer students taking gap years between studies and starting university, or between university and looking for work, as the costs of tuition, travel, accommodation continue to rise.
Their places on the ‘year out’ circuit of exotic locations look set to be taken by their grandparents!
This is no mid-life crisis, nor nostalgic look back to ‘find themselves’. This is deliberate and calculated adventure-seeking by the retired.
A survey by Post Office Travel Insurance found that almost a quarter of the over-55s were actively planning to travel for an extended period. Many have retired early (before the new retirement age comes in, before the collapse in annuities). They can take up to a quarter of their pension pots in cash.
So they are spending on travel, many making the trip of a lifetime they have dreamed about. This is not just the traditional cruise to faraway destinations, but more adventure travel, harder physical exertions and more off-the-beaten-track locations.
Of course, that is if they can get travel insurance, essentially covering medical care, repatriation and cancellation. 40% of those companies offering annual travel policies consider over 65s to be too old to cover for anything ‘risky’, and 90% will not insure people in their 80s for travel.
The survey reckoned the over-55s will spend over £4000 a trip (£53 a day), while under 35s outlay just over £3000 (£30 a day).
No questions seem to have been asked of the three quarters of older people who will not be taking/planning/dreaming of such a trip for whatever reason (finance, health, caring for older/younger family, alternative spending plans).
Incidentally, as our nation grows older, it has been suggested that a new definition of middle age is called for. Consensus seems to be settling around 45-64.
So now we know!
Post Office Travel Insurance Survey (September 2011).
Photo: Tomas Castelazo