Forget Myanmar and Morocco – it seems that the number one travel destination on the boomer bucket list is the Old Dart.
That’s right. Think G&T, stiff upper lip and scones, jam and cream – the UK.
When it comes to jetting off overseas, Emirates and Singapore Airlines rate well, but boomers’ preferred airline by a long shot is still the Australia’s own Qantas.
In spite of these relatively conservative choices, boomers are not retiring quietly to the bowls club.
Australia’s leading digital retirement community, YourLifeChoices has recently surveyed their 155,000 baby boomer subscribers, and the more than 5100 responses reveal some intriguing insights into the mature traveller’s wish list and travel plans.
Destinations of choice
While more than 12 per cent of boomers dream of visiting the UK and 3 per cent a have their hearts set on Ireland, almost 15 per cent have their sights set on one of five European countries (France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Germany in that order).
The grey nomad dream is alive and well too, with 11 per cent of respondents looking to explore Australia but, amazingly, almost the same number (10 per cent) list Canada as their top bucket-list destination. At 9 per cent, popping across to New Zealand is close behind.
Boomer travellers don’t just dream about travelling – it’s become almost a senior’s right of passage, with 51 per cent planning to travel overseas within the next 12 months, and 22 per cent planning to leave even sooner.
These travellers are strategic in their planning, with 31 per cent researching and booking four to six months in advance and 25 per cent getting organised seven to 12 months in advance.
These mature travellers are also tech savvy, with 55 per cent starting their Australian travel research online.
Money, money, money
When budgeting, 40 per cent of boomers plan on spending over $3000 on their next trip.
While travel insurance is considered essential by 89 per cent, almost a quarter of those are happy to rely on the insurance provided by their bank or credit card company when booking a trip.
An earlier survey from YourLifeChoices showed that 38 per cent of respondents had an annual Australian travel budget in excess of $3000.
When it comes to accommodation, only 5 per cent were looking for 5-star accommodation. Twenty-eight per cent were content with 4-star digs and 12 per cent chose camping as their preferred travel style. Overall, for 40 per cent of travellers, location was a priority ahead of luxury.
No kids please
As it happens, though, boomers are not that keen to share the adventure with the family.
A ‘Travel in Australia’ survey from January 2016 (by YourLifeChoices), which had 4261 responses, revealed that only 4 per cent said they enjoyed travelling most with their adult children (looks like the parents are happy to spend the inheritance themselves).
More than half (55 per cent) enjoyed travelling most with their partner and 19 per cent with good friends.
Boomers famously like to do things their way and the research shows that 73 per cent prefer to travel independently
Of the 27 per cent that took a guided tour, almost half believed it was great, or good, value as well as a way to meet new people and share the adventure.
And, regardless of their travel style, today’s mature Aussies are regularly on the move with 36 per cent of respondents stating they travel three to four times a year in Australia.
As Kaye Fallick, Publisher at YourLifeChoices says, “Concepts of doddery old silver-haired seniors who need looking after should be shelved – boomer travellers are seeking fun, excitement and the opportunity to try new experiences. ‘Same old’ just doesn’t cut it any more.”
How long beforehand do you research and book?
1 – 3 months: 22%
4 – 6 months: 31%
7 – 12 months: 25%
Over 12 months: 22%
Which individual country is number one on your bucket list?
New Zealand: 9%
When travelling overseas, which is your preferred airline?
Do you prefer independent travel or guided tours?