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Over-50s: Choose Your Own Adventure!

50+ holidays of the past were seen as quiet and calm – a game of cards here and there, a nice stroll along the beach, nothing too crazy – but times are changing.

Resorts, cruises and tour companies have realised that many over-50s enjoy adventure and exploration, hiking and cycling, and a good party or two along the way, and they’re stepping up to create exciting and exhilarating holidays to suit every taste.

Travel Bulletin recently reported on some recent research (commissioned and published by Saga) which found that more travellers were “Putting an emphasis on exploration.” They’re calling it “A seismic shift in the number of people that want to combine luxury and relaxation with something just that little bit different when choosing where to go on their holiday.”

The top ten most sought-after experiences for this group included the Northern Lights in Scandinavia, Tallinn in Estonia, and exploring the Eurasian states – although traditional sunny spots like Spain and Portugal are still popular too.


What do you want to see?

When choosing a destination, the study showed that over-50s’ priorities are:

  • Weather
  • Natural wonders
  • Lots of historical sites
  • Interesting cultures
  • Wildlife

Of course, you may have your own preferences such as art, opera or theatre, but it’s clear that lazing by the pool all day, every day and Bingo in the evenings are not what most travellers want.

There are countless tours and cruises these days that address special interests and take you to unusual, out-of-the-way places. With so many options, how do you find the best adventure for your next holiday?


Choose Wisely

Some experiences take you to astounding new places and don’t require much work, while others involve serious climbing or trekking. If you’re fit and healthy that’s great, but let’s face it, none of us is getting any younger, so it’s important to check what’s involved before you pay £££s for an experience.

Do you really want to exert yourself and then spend the rest of your holiday in pain? We’ve learned the hard way that some things simply aren’t worth it. Learning experiences include a 10-minute crouching-crawl into a pyramid in Egypt (could barely walk for the next few days) and a dusty cave in Turkey – we stayed outside thanks to the warning signs, but fellow travellers coughed for days afterwards!


We really don’t want to spoil the fun or get in the way of spontaneity, but these are important considerations:

  • What is your usual level of activity when you’re not travelling?

We all walk a bit more when we travel, but exceeding your usual level of activity every day can be a shock to the system at any age.

  • Do you have any injuries or medical conditions that may make an activity painful or difficult? A knee that sometimes gets sore can really act up if you do a lot more walking.
  • See your doctor before you book, and tell him/her about the adventure you’re planning – they may have advice or recommendations.
  • How’s your sense of balance? Walking through forests or across uneven ground can be difficult, and this makes injuries a greater risk. You probably don’t notice changes in balance as much at home because everything is flat and familiar, so try some woodlands excursions close to home before you arrange to do that on your holiday.
  • Likewise with water and winter activities – is it really worth spending half the experience falling over and the rest of the holiday nursing bruises and strained muscles?
  • What would happen if something did go wrong – if someone falls while on a hike, or breaks an arm while exploring caves, would emergency teams be able to help them out?

This calls to mind a 60-something friend who insisted on doing a zipline gorge experience. It was beautiful, but it took seven ziplines back and forth across the gorge to reach the end, and he injured his leg on the 3rd. The only way out was a treacherous path to the top of the gorge (which the guide didn’t even want to try) so he had to carry on in pain across another four ziplines with the group. All subsequent walks and activities he had planned for the week had to be cancelled.


How do you insure adventure?

Just as you would with any travel insurance policy, you need to provide full details of your pre-existing medical conditions, the places you’ll be visiting, and the activities and experiences you’ll be participating in.

If you’ve received medical advice against any type of activity, make sure you follow this carefully. Even if a sport or activity is covered by your policy, participating in spite of medical advice against it would mean it’s not covered.

It’s a good idea to compare travel insurance quotes carefully, as saving a few pounds initially could become very expensive if your holiday activities aren’t covered.

Many people assume things like horse riding and trekking are included in standard cover, but check your policy wording carefully as every policy is different. Even ship-to-shore transfers in RIBs sometimes need extra cover!

Also look out for:

  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Sailing
  • Glacier Walking
  • Trekking


Adventures and once-in-a-lifetime experiences can take your holidays to a whole new level. Plan them right and maximise that magic!