A new survey by Journeys of Distinction has revealed that 2011 is the year of the 60+ gap year, with older travellers taking more exotic and longer travels than before - a marked change from 2000 when a much younger gap year generation were travelling the world between school and university.

The survey of 1,000 regular travellers was undertaken to establish how social attitudes and attitudes towards travel have changed in the last ten years.  

The operator's managing director, Karen Gee, said: “There’s a marked trend that older people are the new gap year generation, those aged 60+ are travelling more often and further afield than ever before. We also discovered that of there is a much greater concern about the environment and the effects of travel, as well as a far greater interest in taking part and experiencing local life.”

The survey found that:-

 ·   More than 80% of people now research their holiday destination on the internet and then fact-check if necessary with an operator before booking.

·   90% of those asked wanted several holidays and breaks a year, some taking up to seven holidays annually. 

·   74% felt that holidays become more important with age

·   The 60+ age group are taking the most holidays, now travelling to more exotic locations than any previous generations of that age

·   Those in the 40+ age group feel they work much harder than past generations and therefore feel they deserve more holidays

·   62% of respondents feel that they have helped their children financially more than their parents or grandparents helped them and now want to enjoy life

·   60% of respondents agreed that they would rather take a holiday than spend money on a new car or home improvements

Gee said: “It’s clear we are becoming increasingly adventurous in our choice of destinations as we get older. People are inspired by their grandchildren taking time off to see the world and now many older people are now taking the time to explore and take their own gap year.

"The Antarctic, Bhutan, Ecuador, The Amazon, Cambodia and the Baltic States are just some of the places that our respondents aged 60+ told us they would like to visit. This age group are fitter, healthier and more active than ever and have more travel opportunities than before, on top of which the advent of more affordable air travel, greater social mobility and the introduction of the internet have all helped make exotic travel more feasible."

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