Too old to take a gap year?

21st Sep 2011
Written by: Mary Short

Too old to take a gap year?

A lot of people have been talking about this one recently and it’s been popping up all over the place. The debate – who’s taking more gap years – over-55s or under-35s?

According to a recent survey, a quarter (25%) of over-55s are planning on taking a gap year or short gap within the next two years, compared to only 19% of students.

The survey, conducted by Post Office Travel Insurance, stated that the rise in university tuition fees as one of the reasons why fewer students are planning on taking a gap year.

After a lifetime of saving, the older generation, being dubbed as ‘grey gappers’, have both the time and money to travel. According to the Post Office, they will spend a total of £4,136 on their trip, the equivalent of £54.03 a day, whereas under-35s spend just £3,100, the equivalent of £30.10 a day. (As a gap year comparison, I spent nearly £10,000 in 20 months on my gap year – Ed).

But regardless of age, Australia and New Zealand still remain the most popular destinations for travelling and backpacking, with more than half of those surveyed saying they planned to head to one or both of these destinations.

Sarah Munro, the head of travel insurance at the Post Office, said: “Age shouldn’t be a barrier when it comes to experiencing different cultures and spreading your wings.

“Whilst holidays are a fantastic way to explore a new country, taking that extra bit of time out to travel and really get to grips with a place is great fun no matter how old you are.”

Daisy Ashworth, gapyear.com member, said: “Interesting news story this morning on gap years. It looks like the combination of increasing fees and recession causing redundancy is changing the face of backpacking.”

However, we feel that students will always go on gap years, regardless of the cost. People want to travel at any age, and even though grey gappers may be able to splash a bit more cash, the younger generation will always find a way to travel.

Do you think you’ll put off taking a gap year in favour of university? What do you think about older travellers on the road? And importantly, who do you think travels more, over-55s or under 35s? As always, post your thoughts below.

Quotes taken from Opodo.

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