Active older men and women are regularly viewing their later years as another stage in life to travel, experience, and explore — regardless of physical limitations. In response, the travel and leisure industry is making an effort to keep up with this new consumer. Ken Dychtwald, a psychologist and author who writes about this is a new occurrence says, “This is an emerging phenomenon because there are now tens of millions of older adults with more vitality than they ever imagined.”
In the article Seeing Old Age as a Never-Ending Adventure by Kirk Johnson, Dychtwald lists examples of this new fad: Ilse Telesmanich, 90, who regularly hikes in South Africa; Tom Lackey, 89, who has wing-walked on top of single-engine biplane across the English Channel at 160 miles per; a 75-year-old woman who climbed Mt. Everest before turning back 1,000 feet from the summit.
In response, several companies have stepped up to the plate to cater to these new clients:
- Grand Circle Corporation is based in Boston and specializes in older travelers. Their adventure tours have increased from 16 percent of passenger volume in 2001 to 50 percent for advance bookings, with the average age rising from 62 to 68.
- Road Scholar is a non-profit educational travel group that has seen a sharp surge in the over-85 market and boasts that the percentage of people this age who are choosing adventure-tour options is up 27 percent since 2004.
- VBT is a bike touring company in Vermont that coordinates rides around the world, with the number of bikers over the age of 70 doubling in the last 10 years.
Grab life by the horns and face aging head on. Staying healthy, eating right and taking care of your emotional needs can greatly increase your chances of being able to adventure in your later years. Plan ahead and prepare now for where you want to journey later in life.
Where are you going next?