The over-50s travel market is booming as older holidaymakers now account for over half of overseas holiday spend (51%) and 43% of all UK tourism spend.
While holiday purse strings are predicted to remain firmly tightened amongst the under-50s, a new report from travel insurer LV= reveals over-50s holidaymakers typically spend £17.6 billion a year on travel , with this figure set to almost double over the next ten years . On average, older holidaymakers spend £883 on every overseas holiday, 67% more than their younger counterparts who typically spend £528 per trip.
Freed of responsibilities, with many having benefited from the economy in the past and in good health, these older adventurers now account for more than a third of all trips taken both domestic and overseas. The top destinations remain unchanged with Spain, France and Italy continuing to be the top most popular holiday spots for the over-50s, but fast growing destinations over the last nine years  include Poland, Bulgaria and Croatia, as older holidaymakers head off the beaten track.
City breaks are the holiday of choice and have overtaken traditional package holidays in popularity among this age group. Cultural trips are also now favoured over beach breaks, while 'hobby holidays' remain popular, with one in seven (14%) seeing a trip away as an opportunity to combine relaxing with learning a skill or activity.
Many older travellers are also planning activity breaks with more than one in ten (11%) planning a holiday involving activities such as skiing or cycling in the next two years, and one in twenty (5%) are planning to go trekking or on a safari.
Longer, experience led adventure breaks are also enjoying a boom, with 1.6 million over 50s having taken extended 'sabbatical' type trips away . Reflecting the trend for older travellers to visit exotic long-haul destinations, one in seven older travellers (15%) is planning a trip ‘down-under’ over the next two years while on in ten (9%) is plans to visit Asia. A typical overseas trip for the over-50s now takes 11 days.
According to the report out today, buying online is the most popular method of booking holidays with over half (54% or 18.6 million holidaymakers) over 50 , buying via the net, compared to just 16% buying from a travel agent.
Yet the future-gazing report also warns that these good times may be short-lived, as not all of us can look forward to travelling the world in later life. The increasing age of first-time parenthood and lack of pension provisions for younger workers mean the trend will drop off after 2020 as Britain's workforce spends their middle years saving for retirement.
And despite the boom in older holidaymakers choosing to make the most of their retirement, the insurance industry is failing to capitalise on this age group’s health and prosperity with one in five (20%) travellers aged 65 and over saying that getting the right travel insurance remains a problem.
Travel insurer LV= will insure travellers of any age. Its single trip policy, which covers trips of up to 90 days duration, is available online and via the telephone at competitive rates for travellers of all ages.
LV= will also insure travellers with a wide range of medical conditions, some of which will carry just a minor or no increase in cost. Travellers with medical conditions do not need to go through an in-depth medical examination, rather they are just required to fill in an easy to use form online or speak to one of LV='s customer service representatives.
Selwyn Fernandes, managing director of LV= travel insurance, said: "This research shows that the travel habits of the UK’s older citizens hugely benefit the domestic and overseas tourism industries and by 2020 we can expect to see the over-50s making half of all trips. But whether you're planning to spend holidays going off the beaten track, going on adventure holidays or even just relaxing by the beach, we’d urge all holidaymakers to ensure they’re insured whatever their age – in order to ensure that if the worse happens they have cover in place."