THE over 50s are more willing to immerse themselves in local culture than younger travellers according to new research.
Those entering their sixth decade are also more likely to socialise with the locals, communicate in the native language and go off the beaten track.
Over 50s are more adventurous than younger travellers[/caption]
Around seven in ten are happy going for walks away from the resort – compared to just 54 per cent of those aged 30 and under.
And 41 per cent of the over 50s will happily make new friends when abroad, while only a third of younger adults said the same.
In contrast, younger holidaymakers are far more likely to travel for a suntan – 22 per cent compared to 15 per cent of older passengers.
Those under 30 are also almost three times more likely to feel nervous about experiencing local cultures and customs when abroad than older travellers.
The poll of 2,000 adults was carried out by TUI Tours, to coincide with the launch of a new programme that offers local experiences in far-flung destinations like Borneo and Uzbeckistan.
A spokeswoman said: “This research shows a real thirst for travelling to more unknown and unusual countries.
“Those aged 50 and above definitely have an adventurous side, and more than that, a desire to understand and experience local cultures and customs.
“They are after all, the original free-spirited adventurers of the 60s and 70s and they want more from their travels than just a beach flop.”
The study also found that driving and shopping are also activities older holidaymakers are happy to undertake while abroad.
However, Brits under 30 are a little braver when it comes to adopting local customs such as wearing appropriate clothing – 21 per cent versus 16 per cent of the over-50s.
It also emerged those nearing or in retirement like to travel three times a year to far-flung destinations.
And those in their fifties and sixties are also far more likely to opt for multi-destination holidays – breaks where they take in several locations and experience many sites – than the younger generation.
When it comes to a destination wish list, Japan, New Zealand and the Arctic Circle are among the places the over 50s want to visit, in addition to countries closer to home such as Italy and Spain.
Younger travellers tend to enjoy beach breaks[/caption]
So far, one in ten adults aged 50 and above have been to Canada, Australia and Egypt respectively.
A further one in 20 of those polled, via OnePoll, has visited India, while 26 per cent have experienced America.
Researchers also found the drive for adventurous travel comes from a desire to understand what happens in other countries (13 per cent).
Almost a fifth are hankering after more authentic experiences than the usual sun, sea and sand holidays while one in 20 want to have interesting stories to share with others.
And more than one in ten have a number of countries they want to tick off their bucket list.
To demonstrate the effect of going off the beaten path, TUI sent five lucky competition winners on a TUI Tours South Africa adventure to keep a video diary.
Diarist Kevin Hughes described the once-in-a-lifetime trip as “unbelievable” and said: “If it wasn’t on your bucket list, it should be.”
The group also got to grips with some local cooking lessons, and took a watery plunge on a voyage to spot hippos guarding their young from hungry predators.
Julia Bradbury, who accompanied the TUI Tours winners on their quest to experience the authentic side of South Africa, said: “As the video diaries of our competition winners and the survey results show, there is a real drive among the over 50s age group to experience local cultures and customs when they travel.
“With age comes a certain level of confidence and experience of course, which may lead to a willingness to go off the beaten track.
“Everybody likes to go home with happy memories and positive experiences from their holidays, but the over 50’s also like to return home armed with more knowledge about where they’ve been , knowing they made a positive impact on the local communities as well.”
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