Empty nesters fly the nest in pursuit of adventure

Thursday 21 July 2005

Empty nesters fly the nest in pursuit of adventure

  • Over a quarter of the nations over 50s want to learn to fly
  • Saga raises the stakes in its search to find the most adventurous over 50 year old with the launch of the 2005 Saga Endeavour Awards

Saga, Britain's leading travel company for over 50s, today reveals that learning to fly tops the poll as the number one activity this generation would most like to take part in. Independent research commissioned by the holiday group unveils that 63% of 1,000 over 50s questioned would like to fly away to the Galapagos Islands. This number one holiday hot spot is closely contested by the magnificent Angel Falls in Venezuela, receiving 59% of the votes.

In their quest to live life to the full, over 50s are increasingly ready to try more adventurous and adrenalin-fuelled activities, with the research showing that six out of ten are keen to throw themselves into learning a new activity . Currently one in 10 already take part in an extreme or highly energetic sport such as snowboarding or mountain climbing (amongst others) and given the chance, nearly a quarter of them would like to go on a long distance expedition or trek.

75% of the nation's over 50s would rather do something other than save or invest their money, indicating that this generation seems be taking a leaf out of the younger generation's book by showing a more relaxed attitude to their finances and spending. Given the opportunity they are increasingly keen to undertake activities typically associated with the younger generation, such as going to gigs, music festivals and rally car driving.

The nation's over 50s currently have 30% higher disposable income than those under 50 and the research shows they are not afraid to spend it. Nearly a third (31%) of the over 50s questioned, if given the opportunity, would rather spend 20,000 on holidays and travelling, compared to only 8% who stated that they would leave the money for inheritance; suggesting that this generation are 'living it up' and leaving the kids to earn for themselves.

Given the opportunity over a third of the over 50s surveyed would consider spending their high level of disposable income on purchasing goods over the internet (34%), downloading music (19%) or buying a fast car or motorbike (17%). Nearly 40% of over 50s enjoy texting friends, a quarter currently enjoy the buzz of playing computer games and nearly a third would like to improve their fitness levels by joining a gym.

In response to this growing trend for adventure, Angela Rippon today launches the 'Saga Endeavour Awards'.The search is on to find the individual aged 50 or over who embodies this trend of seeking adventure and free-spirited feeling. These awards are about championing high achievers.

Angela Rippon, the face of the Saga Endeavour Awards, comments:

"I am thrilled to see that today's over 50s are throwing themselves into demanding and physically challenging pursuits - no Horlicks and slippers for this lot! Last year we were overwhelmed with the level of entries received for the Saga Endeavour Awards and this year we expect to see a greater number, as I am sure the nation's over 50s have been pushing their personal boundaries in pursuit of adventure over the past year."

Andrew Goodsell, Chief Executive, Saga Group comments:

"The Saga Endeavour Awards are a great way of celebrating outstanding achievements by people aged 50 and over. We hope that their tales of adventure will encourage others to pursue their dreams and realise that it is never too late to learn a new skill and experience the world."

The research: Over 50s top 10s

Top 10 activities over 50s would most like to take part in:

1) Flying/learning to fly (27%)

2) Sailing (26%)

3) Taking part in a long distance expedition or trek (24%)

4) Rally car driving (22%)

5) Skiing or snowboarding (20%)

6) White water rafting (12%)

7) Surfing (11%)

8) Mountain climbing (10%)

9) Sky diving (9%)

10) Marathon running (9%)

Top 10 destinations over 50s would most like to visit:

1) Galapagos Islands - offering a breath of wildlife and a natural experience

2) Angel Falls, Venezuela - the highest waterfalls in the world

3) Macchu Pichu, Peru - spectacular Inca ruins

4) Terracotta Warriors, China - the inspiring armies of life size warriors

5) Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania - snow-peaked mountains

6) Petra, Jordan - the UNESCO World Heritage Site

7) Tokyo, Japan - bright lights and busy nights

8) Angkor Wat, Cambodia - Ancient temple complex

9) Havana, Cuba - free-spirited Salsa nights

10) Everest base camp, Nepal - the start of the famous Everest Expeditions

Last year's winner, Marion Smith from Nottinghamshire has an unquenchable thirst for adrenaline-fuelled activities. The 62 year old grandmother has cycled 1,000 miles across Italian Alps, backpacked through the Australian Bush, climbed the mountains of Nepal and even paraglided over the French Alps. She has recently returned from her winning trip to Borneo, where she didn't just relax beside the pool, instead she enjoyed taking part in a range of activities from scuba diving to climbing Mount Kinabalu.

The awards will look for 11 regional winners leading to one national winner who will be announced in October 2005 by Angela Rippon, who will also form part of the judging panel.

To enter the Saga Endeavour Awards

Are you over 50 or do you know someone who is over 50 who embodies adventure, has a lust for life and is a great achiever. Can you prove it? To find out more about how to enter and the prizes at stake visit www.saga.co.uk/endeavour. Applicants will need to complete a form either online from the above website or via post. Call 020 7067 0295 for a postal application form.

Regional heats will be held in Scotland, North East, North West, Yorkshire, Midlands, Wales, East Anglia, London, South East, South, and West Country, with each regional winner receiving 250 of Saga holiday vouchers. The national winner will receive a fantastic round the world air ticket for two people. The ticket, valid for a year, will allow up to six stopovers in a selection of exciting destinations including Bangkok, Mumbai, Fiji, Auckland and New York.


High resolution images to accompany this story have been sent to your picture desk

Case studies are available upon request.

Notes to editors:

The research was commissioned by Saga Holidays and conducted by NOP World in June 2005

The research questioned a representative sample of 1,000 people over 50 across Britain in terms of sex, social grade and region

1000 adults age 50 plus were interviewed across Britain by phone. Data weighted to bring in line with national profiles

*There are 19.6 million people aged 50 and over in the UK which is projected to increase by 26% to 24.8 million over the next 20 years or so

Saga Holidays are only available direct and not through travel agents

Saga Holidays has over 50 years experience in arranging holidays for the over 50s

A travelling companion may be aged 40 or over


To match demand for adventure, Saga Holidays offer a fantastic range of extensive holidays including a tour to the number one destination over 50s aspire to visit - the Galapagos Islands. The 'Wonder of the Galapagos Islands' is a 10 night tour exploring the destination and its extensive wildlife. Saga has also just introduced a 12 night trekking in Nepal tour, taking travellers across mountainous peaks some six thousand feet above sea

New from Saga Holidays, Sprit of Adventure, a new cruise ship offering a range of fly cruises throughout the Mediterranean, South East Asia and the Middle East. The 352-passenger liner will call at more unusual ports offering a range of adventurous activities and excursions. Highlights on board include 'life long learning' with an impressive line up of guest lecturers who will give an insight into the history, culture and traditions of the ports of call visited.

For further press information please contact the Saga Press Office on: 01303 771529.

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