If you’re like many over 50s or baby boomers, you probably followed the traditional route from school or uni to full-time work, and have worked solidly for your entire adult life.
You’ve watched on enviously while your children – or younger relatives – enjoyed their youth, taking gap years and backpacking the globe, before settling down to adult responsibilities.
But who says adventure is reserved for the young? If you’re working less, recently retired, or will retire soon, now’s your chance to make up for lost time, and embark upon some adventures of your own.
What are my options?
The world is – quite literally – your oyster, and increasing numbers of older Australians are exploring it each year.
In 2016, more Australian residents over 50 travelled overseas than in 2006, with people aged 50 and over responsible for 34.2% of all short-term departures in 2016, compared to 32.7% in 2006.1
But heading overseas isn’t the only option. Australia is a vast country of contrasts, and a trip to the wilderness of Tasmania, the tropics of far north Queensland or the remote outback of the Northern Territory may leave you feeling like you’ve been to a different country.
Being on your own is no reason to miss out on the action and adventure of travel in retirement. Make travel plans with friends, your children or other relatives, or take advantage of travel opportunities related to activities or clubs you’re a part of such as hiking, golfing or fishing trips.
Many travel agents who cater to the over 50s market also offer organised tours for solo travelers where you can meet other like minded singles, and not feel ostracised by being surrounded by couples or penalised by the added expense of single supplements. Try 50+ Travel Club or Encounter Travel, or find companionship and travel buddies through over 50s community websites such as Stitch.
Five ultimate adventures
If you’ve been there, done that, or if you’re sick of the stereotypes of grey nomads piling onto cruise liners or caravanning Australia, you might be seeking a different sort of adventure. Depending on your interests this could involve sailing, travelling some of the globe’s great train routes, or touring world-famous museums.
If it’s a real adventure you’re after, try these five trips:
The ultimate in unexplored destinations, Antarctica has historically only been visited by the likes of explorers and scientists. But the vast white continent is now more accessible than ever for tourists, with both cruise and flight options. For more information on tour options to Antarctica, try Aurora Expeditions or Antarctica Flights.
If train travel is more your thing, there are some great options right here at home. The Indian Pacific, which cuts across the country from Sydney to Perth, is the longest stretch of railway in the world. While the Ghan, which intersects the country from Adelaide to Darwin, gives you a ring-side seat to the wonders of central Australia.
Everest Base Camp
Think trekking to base camp is beyond your reach? Think again. World Expeditions runs a trip specifically for over 55s, with a little extra luxury. Think camp beds with mattresses, extra days for both the climb and to acclimatise, and porters to carry all your gear.
Probably the world’s most famous road trip, Route 66 stretches across the United States, from Santa Monica to Chicago, taking in eight states along the way. There’s no shortage of online guides available for driving the famous road, covering everything from accommodation to what to see and do along the way. For self-drivers visit Driving Route 66 or check out Route 66 Tours for organised tours.
Around the globe
The ultimate in adventure travel is an around-the-world trip. While not the cheapest holiday, it’s an effective way to see many different corners of the globe at once. Either plan your own adventure with around-the-world flights or let Constellation Journeys do the hard work for you with a tour aboard a chartered Qantas jet. If you’ve got more time, an around-the-world cruise is another alternative.
How will I afford it?
The Beatles may have sung that the best things in life are free, but it’s unlikely your trip-of-a-lifetime will be. However, even if you’re no longer earning an income, that doesn’t mean it’s beyond your reach.
If you have a financial adviser, they’ll be able to assist you in making the right financial decisions for your unique situation or to plan for your retirement. If you don’t have an adviser, find one in your local area here or call us on 131 267.
And by taking control of your money by budgeting, shopping around for the best deals, and using a smart bank account like the AMP Bett3r account to help you allocate money to a savings goal, you could be booking your ultimate adventure before you know it!
While nearly nine in 10 say they have a preference, less than five in 10 have discussed their wishes with their family. What about you?