British backpackers are getting older and ‘gap’ years are no longer reserved for students. Stressed executives are quitting the office to explore the world. This is the finding of research published last week Bradford & Bingley to mark the launch of its new travel insurance.
Increasingly the trip of a lifetime comes after people have spent time working or have started a family. Nearly half of the adults questioned (49%) thought the best time to travel was once you had some life experience under your belt, rather than during your student years.
Travelling allows stressed-out executives to reassess their future with 46% of 26-34 year-olds saying the trip was a time to review their outlook on life. While this group would obviously have more money than students have for travelling, half still intend to do it in ‘backpacker’ style.
Some aspects of their wealthier lifestyles are not left behind – 81% would take their digital camera with them, 18% their iPod and 17% their PalmPilot.
Particularly at an age where life itself has become a ‘stress’ zone, travelling has become increasingly popular. People are using extended breaks to relieve work pressure and, having worked for a few years, they feel they deserve it. Adequate insurance is vital, though, as backpackers of 30+ combine a ‘rough it’ approach to travelling with higher-tech possessions, says researcher, Nigel Asplin. 2,013 adults nationwide were questioned for the poll by an organisation called YouGov.
Australia’s Tourism Forecasting Council predicts in 2005 UK visitors will spend the highest number of visitor nights (26.6 million) compared with 16.3 million by North Americans and 13 million by New Zealander – though there will be significantly higher numbers visiting from the land of the long white cloud! The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade statistics show that in 2001-2 visitors from Canada, UK and Germany in that order – had the longest average visit.