The over 50s are playing a leading role in a new travel trend and that is forming small groups of like-minded individuals to go on global adventures. JustLuxe magazine says: “Travellers are increasingly seeking exclusive and regionally-authentic itineraries that cater to small groups,” and industry experts say that small group bookings were up 50% in 2016. One reason for their growing popularity is that this type of expedition is more personalised and allows a more intimate view of local cultures, compared with the traditional, large group tours.
Travel industry reports also conclude that the concept that they call “connoisseurs of local culture” will see a big growth for the rest of 2017 and into 2018 and that people will be looking for this type of vacation whether they stay at home or travel abroad. One hotelier said that he expected this type of traveller to spend more time at historic sights and famous landmarks, and added that they will want to spend more time getting to know locals. As a result, a rise in demand for private guides is also predicted, especially for groups visiting more rural communities where insights into the traditions of the countryside and community are considered an important element of the holiday.
In some ways this is not surprising. There are a number of places that I would like to go to, but don’t wish to go alone. I also know that my close friends wouldn’t particularly want to join me in Jaipur, Samarkand or Persepolis, but there are online sites available – Stitch is one that comes to mind – where you can find travelling companions with similar tastes and create a group, or at least find one other person to join you.
I have written about Stitch in the past; it is, as it says, a website for “Friendship, Activities, Travel and Romance for mature adults.” At one time it was positioned as more of a dating site, but now it is more focused on “companionship” and there are indeed people of our age from all over the world who are looking for like-minded peers to travel with. Going off on safari with somebody you have only met online may seem daunting, but Stitch offers companions of any gender, plus there are opportunities to meet up in a group setting, which some may find safer and more comfortable.
It would also seem that the more mature traveller wants to go further afield these days: New Zealand tops a lot of British over 50s’ lists. Safaris are another favourite, as is viewing the Northern Lights and driving a classic American car in Cuba. These are all requested by small groups, rather than by individual travellers, who want an authentic experience alongside the traditional holiday activities.
People also cite small group travel as being better for a flexibility that isn’t available on organised tours. Members can agree on a schedule and individuals can dip in and out when they need to rest or have time alone. Added to this, finding like-minded people to travel with could just make you a new set of friends for the future, whether they stay as travelling companions or become something more. Either way, the group adventure offers a new way to travel to the places you want to go, no matter how outlandish, because you’re sure to find at least a few others who want to go there too.
If you’re heading out alone or as part of a group, check out your holiday insurance options with Staysure.