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Over 50s Relive Their Youth to Party Like It’s 1982

Over 50s and their spending habits are minutely scrutinised by researchers looking for insights into how much they spend and how they plan to spend it.

It’s not surprising given that the over 50s are by far the biggest spenders, particularly when it comes to travel. All kinds of trends have been identified – including revenge travel, the desire to make up for lost time during the pandemic by travelling as much and as far as possible.  

There are two other big trends, particularly for the over 50s. The greater consumer protection offered by package holidays has seen holidaymakers booking their holidays with tour operators and travel agents after many were left out of pocket during the pandemic by booking their flights and accommodation independently.

Cruise holidays have also seen an upsurge in demand for those wanting to see as many places as possible to make up for being stuck at home during lockdowns.  

Like many other travel related companies, Holidaysafe has done its own research into this age group… with some surprising results.  

Hitting the hot spots

We discovered that Brits turning fifty are hitting Europe’s party hot-spots like Ibiza and Berlin after two years of lockdowns and travel bans. Our research by revealed that, rather than picking a cruise or a sedate villa holiday to mark their milestone birthday, Generation X is choosing to let their hair down like it’s the 80s all over again.

The research*, collated by analysing social media holiday #hashtags compared with the ages of travellers, found that Ibiza, Berlin and Barcelona were the three most popular destinations for Brits to travel to when marking their special occasion.

Hot spots including Munich, Marbella and Kos followed closely after as destination favourites to celebrate milestones, with Venice and Rome also prominent for those looking for a bit of romance and culture at the same time.

And, although this generation is still looking to party, they are still being sensible by making sure they’re fully protected with suitable travel insurance should anything go wrong.

‘Mid-lifers’ are approaching ageing in a completely different way to previous generations. And those aged 46-55 and 56-65 account for over one third of all Holidaysafe travel insurance policies sold.

Given that the Generation X is known for their convention-breaking trends of glam-rock, new romantic, disco, and acid house, it comes as no surprise that those turning 50 and over are opting to make up for lost time during the pandemic and let their hair down during their milestone getaways.

Sarah Page, brand manager at Holidaysafe, said: “Our research clearly highlights that the desire to travel and party like you’re in your twenties isn’t over when you reach fifty.

“There’s a huge misconception of what it means to turn fifty these days. For many, life after fifty is a brand new and exciting chapter. It’s an opportunity to have new experiences, visit new places, see the world, all while carrying on partying like you’re twenty once again.

“But despite the growing desire for party holidays, the over fifties tend to be more cautious when it comes to booking a holiday and protecting their trip with travel insurance.”

New attitudes to travel

Now the pandemic is (hopefully) behind us it’s clear that people are thinking more deeply about how the spend their precious holiday budgets. A recent ABTA report revealed some fascinating insights into how the pandemic has impacted on travel trends.

They carried out a comprehensive survey to find out more. Among their findings was that for half those questioned holidays are more important than ever, and many planned to spend more to upgrade their holidays – from three to four stars for example.

The travel agent has also made a big comeback. Low-cost airlines and accommodation sites like Airbnb and Booking.com have taken a lot of the hassle and cost out of booking holidays. But the downside is that these kinds of holidays offer less protection should something go wrong.

That’s led to a 30% increase in inquiries at travel agents and direct booking with tour operators. It seems that people are looking for expert advice and the protection that package tours offer.

While the over 50s are partying like crazy on their short breaks, they’re also thinking more carefully about the type of holiday they choose. While traditional destinations like the Costas of Spain and coasts of France remain popular, particularly among families, many are looking at their holidays in a different light.

Families and friends reconnect

Families and friends are using holidays to reconnect after the restrictions of the last two years. Grandparents are booking holidays with their extended families and large numbers are using their breaks to reconnect with families and friends abroad. easyJet research shows that 25% of Brits will be prioritising going away with their extended family to make up for lost time.

As Matt Callaghan, Customer Director at easyJet holidays, says: “With foreign travel becoming a lot easier and simpler for families, friends and solo travellers, we’re seeing even higher levels of consumer confidence in bookings for holidays abroad for the rest of this year. Yet as holidays abroad return for the many, our research has shown that, following the pandemic, the way we holiday will never be the same again.”

And much of the resurgence in travel is being driven by the over 50s. Holidaysafe brand manager Sarah Page added: “The pandemic had a profound effect on people’s attitudes towards their holiday.

“There’s no doubt it’s become more important than ever and judging by our experience it’s the over 50s who are desperate to make the most of their new-found freedom. The pandemic made us all realise that our holidays are more important than ever. And protecting them with good travel insurance is a must.”

The top tendestinations for Gen X:

  1. Berlin
  2. Ibiza
  3. Barcelona
  4. Munich
  5. Rome
  6. Lisbon
  7. Venice
  8. Marbella
  9. Kos
  10. Dubai

*The research was collated by analysing social media holiday #hashtags compared with the destination and age of travellers.

Top ten destinations:

Berlin (74,900 hashtags) Ibiza (74,600), and Barcelona (74,500), Munich (74,300), Rome (74,400), Lisbon (74,000), Venice (74,000), Marbella (72,300), Kos (71,300) and Dubai (16,600).

*Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices. This code entitles you to an additional 5% off your policy, and is a discount from the base price, not including the additional cost of optional extensions or any additional medical premium.