The changing face of travel for the over 50s

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Over half of over 50s have changed their holiday travel habits in the last 10 years Only 4%* haven’t taken a holiday in the last decade Over two-thirds* travel more frequently

The changing face of travel for the over 50s

The New Year is always a popular time to book a holiday and Saga’s recent poll of more than 10,000 over 50s looked at how their holiday travel habits have changed over the last decade.

With more disposable income than any other age group, it is no surprise that over half (52%) of respondents have changed their holiday habits over the last 10 years. Last year, Saga commissioned research by Cebr which highlighted that over 50% of the UK’s spending on travel and tourism is made by the over 50s.

Of the respondents who said their holiday habits had changed, two-in-three have changed how often they take a holiday and over half report a change in holiday destination.  Nearly half have changed their type of holiday and just over a third have changed the time of year they travel.

Two-thirds of those reporting a change in holiday frequency travel more often than they did 10 years ago, while 27% travel less frequently.  Of the 67% who said they travel more frequently, 50% travel three or more times per year, in comparison to the quarter of respondents who now travel less frequently.

The poll also asked people whether they changed the type of holiday they took.  The most popular holiday among older respondents is an increase of cruise ship holidays (33% of 80 - 89 year olds). Nearly a third now only travel on touring holidays to explore their chosen destination, in comparison to 15% who want to relax in a resort.  Only 9% of respondents said they only travelled on holidays with their family, children and grandchildren.

For those who have changed where they travel, 34% now travel to more exotic destinations than they did 10 years ago - highest among 50 – 59 year old respondents (39% of 50-59 year olds vs. 13% of 80-89 year olds). Almost a quarter now travel to destinations that do not involve long haul flights and 16% now only travel to destinations in the UK.

And when it comes to the time of year over 50s now travel, over half of those who said they go at a different time of the year say they now avoid travelling during school holidays (53%). For some, (almost a fifth) travelling at times when there are less likely to be other people abroad is a key change to their travelling plans. 

Saga Travel’s Louis Myers says:

“The over 50s have thirst for life and that adventurous spirit is evident in their growing importance to the holiday market where they now make up the majority of travel spend in the UK.  This survey shows that, over the last decade, people have started travelling more often and further afield.  The choices for today's intrepid 50 something is more likely to be Borneo, India or Africa and at a time of year that fits in with their lifestyle.”

By choosing a Saga holiday, customers will be confident they are travelling with like-minded individuals at times of the year when there are likely to be less children abroad. And for those who still want to travel during school holiday times, our adult only cruise ships are the perfect choice for those wanting to see a different destination every day without having to think about whether there will be lots of children travelling at the same time.



Populus interviewed 10,015 Saga customers, all aged 50+, online between 15th and 22nd January 2015. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules; for more information see

*numbers shown are a proportion of those who responded to the survey

Copies of the press release and links to the economic study can be found at:

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