Could More Be Done to Help Retirees Fulfill Their Travel Dreams?

12/07/2016 16:55

Many people don't look forward to getting older. Rightly or wrongly, people often think that life becomes less exciting as you age. Add to that the financial stress often felt when people stop working, the prospect of growing older isn't always one that people welcome.

However, one thing that is considered a major perk of reaching retirement age is the ability to travel the world without the restraints imposed by work and families. Older people see this as an opportunity to explore new cultures, have new experiences and meet new people - so it's easy to understand why this is viewed as such an attractive way to enjoy retirement.

Whilst some might assume that retirees' travel dreams are quite reserved - perhaps preferring to travel to easily accessible places rather than more exotic locations - recent research has found that this is far from the case.

Close to half (46%) of the over 65 year olds surveyed in our latest Silver Census study were eager to visit Australia, while just under a third (31%) would like to go to Japan and 29% would jump at the chance to travel to Iceland.

These figures are fantastic to see, as they show how confident Britain's retirees are and what impressive stamina and enthusiasm they have to travel widely. And there really shouldn't be any reason why older people can't take off and head for the furthest corners of the globe! Modern medicine and technology for ageing generations have advanced so much that people are more able than ever to remain active and independent later in life.

However, despite these advances, the same survey showed that there is still much to be done to ensure that people are able to travel as much as they would like to once they stop work.

While some retirees are fulfilling their dreams of travels, more than two fifths (42%) of those surveyed admitted that they actually travel less in retirement than they did when still working.

With more time to travel and many having more financial flexibility than they did when they were younger, what is getting in the way? While airports have probably never been high on the list of people's favourite places, it may come as a surprise that a significant number of people (27%) said they are actually put off travelling because of the hassle of airports.

This is a real shame, from both an individual and business perspective, as it implies that there is a demand that is not being met. I have already alluded to the leaps being made by medicine and technology that help make life easier for people as they age. These figures show that the transport and travel sectors need to follow suit and think carefully about how they can respond and improve travel opportunities for older generations - and boost their own bottom lines in the process.

Improvements to queuing systems and more seating for older passengers would make a huge difference to older peoples' airport experiences. Similarly, travel operators might consider making in-airport shuttles more widely available and providing guides or escorts that could help people navigate terminals more easily.

Efforts like these would not only allow more retirees to fulfil their travel ambitions, but they could also boost profits significantly for travel businesses that successfully tap into the retirement market. So it's a win-win situation - what are we waiting for?