How age changes the way we travel

Travelers on a Grand Circle cruise in Arles

With age comes more savvy, more free time and a keener sense of what’s important…

Age doesn’t diminish wanderlust but it sure affects the way we travel: The physical, mental, and emotional changes commonly associated with aging lead to adaptations in travel style and preferences.

An AARP study of 2015 Baby Boomer Travel Trends found that older travelers anticipated taking 4 – 5 trips the following year. Most respondents (97 percent) planned at least one domestic trip and nearly half (45 percent) planned international ones. While most research on over-50 travelers focuses primarily on boomers, data on the Silent Generation (those born between 1925 and 1945) suggests that with improved health and increased longevity, these folks, too, are opting to travel as long as they can as opposed to retreating to rocking chairs and recliners.

“I wasn’t afraid to stroll instead of run.”

— says one Cruise Critic member

sOf course, age is only one factor—among many—affecting travel. Being part of the same age cohort doesn’t necessarily put everyone in the same proverbial boat: Individuals vary widely in terms of their economic status, lifestyle, interests, attitudes and values—along with health and physical stamina. Yet travelers (50 years and older) as well as experts can identify distinct differences between groups of older and younger travelers.

My latest article on PBS Next Avenue, entitled 6 Ways Age Changes How We Travel, describes some of the subtle and not so subtle ways that travel tends to change with age.

Click here to read the Next Avenue in its entirety.

The article was also published on MarketWatch on 3/10/17.

Next Avenue
Next Avenue

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  1. Excellent Irene.
    Very topical for me as I approach 50 and am constantly embracing whatever time I may have left to fully experience life and travel as much as possible. We plan to travel now to the farthest reaches of the globe while we are our most physically able, and then save the U.S. road tripping, etc. for our advanced years. — JR

  2. Great story! Well, I’m still trying to get the “pack light” part (that’s me, Janice). George has it down pat. But yes, we’re fussier about hotels, services, etc. Hopefully that makes us better travel writers :-).

  3. Well done.We are seeing women in their late 70’s and early 80’s travel far afield, many ask us to walk them through the trip day by day. If there is something they feel they cannot do, there is always a way to bypass that event. In the last few years, we have seen quite a few 80 yr. birthday trips.

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