Seniors Abroad – The Australian Seniors Series

You’re never too old to take that trip of a lifetime, and it seems that over 50s are the new breed of Australians dusting off their suitcase to explore greener pastures. Australian seniors are eager to strike out and see the world with more active and adventure-seeking holidays than ever before.

In the fifth instalment of ‘The Australian Seniors Series’, we analyse where, how and why Australians aged over 50 are travelling, and compare their overall travel experience with that of their millennial counterparts.

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YOLO, let’s see the world!

Among many Australian seniors venturing abroad, close to half (48%) have undertaken the popular millennial mantra of ‘YOLO’ meaning ‘You Only Live Once’. Around one third of seniors are looking to experience life like a local in foreign destinations or indulge in a food and wine experience (both 34%).

Seniors today are also striving for a cultural or historical experience when they go on holiday (48%), and around one in three said they prefer a wildlife, nature or eco discovery experience.

With this in mind, could it possibly be time to challenge some of the holiday stereotypes assigned to people over 50? Thrill-seeking Aussie seniors are shunning traditional ‘senior package’ tours because they fail to deliver on adventure. Seniors these days are feeling healthier and more confident than previous years, and although the vast majority agree that senior package tours are safer and less hassle to organise, more than half feel ‘they are not really for people like them and are a bit boring’.

Perhaps age is just a number after all; our research shows commonalities in what drives seniors and millennials to travel. Close to three in five of seniors and millennials say ‘a chance to relax’ is what motivates them the most to pack their case and get going. The next top drivers for these groups are ‘learning about the world’ (57% and 48% respectively) and ‘searching for new experiences’ (50% and 47% respectively). No matter the decade they were born in, a thirst for culture and sense of adventure is forefront for both generations when planning a holiday.

Planning perfectionists and slumming-it seniors

Seniors leave no stone unturned when planning their holiday, allocating more than an entire day (27 hours) to researching and planning a big trip. This differs to their millennial counterparts who spend a mere 18 hours planning their global adventure. Despite this, almost two thirds (61%) of seniors identify themselves as being carefree, instead of worrying excessively when it comes to planning their trip.

Delving deeper into the findings, an overwhelming majority of senior and millennial respondents (95% and 92% respectively) agree or strongly agree that the Internet makes it easier to choose from more holiday destinations and experiences.

Interestingly, luxury isn’t always sought after with our travel-loving seniors, even if they are more likely to be able to afford business class than millennials. Our data indicates that seniors are more than happy to embrace economy travel, in fact close to two thirds of respondents actually prefer sitting in cattle class (65%). Millennials on the other hand are more likely to prefer ‘luxury’ or first class than seniors (13% and 3% respectively), despite the fact that twice as many millennials as seniors prefer to budget (11% and 6% respectively).

A future of flying beyond

Although the travel experience can be met with a multitude of barriers, seniors refuse to allow these challenges to get in the way of their dreams of new locations. The main obstacle preventing seniors from travelling the world is affordability, and this is also the case for millennials.

Personal security is next in line with four in five senior respondents and almost one in nine millennials admitting to global events being a source for worry, highlighting the substantial impact the news agenda can have on anxiety in travellers.

Almost three quarters of seniors (74%) admitted that war and terrorism in the Middle East would deter them from visiting these areas, while this would affect just under two thirds of millennial travellers (60%). Our findings also show that the recent US election would repel 16 per cent of seniors from the self-declared land of the free, while almost one third of millennials claim to be affected by such issues (29%).

Although it is clear that seniors have some barriers to overcome when it comes to modern day travel, there are very few things that would deter this defiant group from missing out on exploring the world – eight in ten in fact. What is hugely interesting is that seniors and millennials face many of the same challenges, difficulties and barriers when undertaking life changing travel experiences. While separated by generations, technology gaps and a lifetime of experiences, this study concludes that no matter the age, we are all very similar when it comes to living life to the fullest.

Stay tuned for the next chapter of the Australian Seniors Series… A report for seniors, by Seniors.


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Seniors Abroad Survey [pdf]