Youthful Over 65s Sparking Rise In Three-Gen Family Travel

New research released today by award-winning cruise line Viking reveals that the changing lifestyles of the over 65s is inspiring an increasing in multi-generational, all-adult family holidays

The research, carried out amongst 4,000 people in the UK, showed that almost a fifth (18%) of over 65s are regularly travelling with their adult children and grandchildren.

Four years ago, one in six trips taken were cited as multi-generational family holiday bookings. Today, that figure has doubled according to a recent TravelPulse report. Whilst grandparents are enjoying more active, longer retirements, and family group travel is an ideal way to spend quality time together, Viking’s research finds that the profound increase is fundamentally due to the new lifestyle habits of the over 65s who now have a more adventurous and youthful attitude to travel experiences:

They are young at heart

The research found that almost a quarter (23%) of those aged 65+ still feel that they are much younger than their years, meaning they have the energy to keep pace with their children and grandchildren on holiday. What’s more, they credit spending time with their families and loved ones as a contributing factor to keeping them young. A significant 64% believe that spending time with family is essential to their wellbeing.

They want to visit the same destinations as the young

A quiet weekend in the Dordogne or stay in Bournemouth no longer cuts it for the new generation of over 65s. Indeed, when asked where they would most like to visit were money no object, over half of those aged 65+ (51%) chose Australia and New Zealand as their most popular destination. Likewise, these antipodean hotspots came out tops for those aged 35-54 (31%) and aged 18–34 (22%).

They are also looking for adventure

Viking’s research revealed that in 2018 people are doing more adventurous things much later in life than previously. In fact the over 65s want to take on many of the same experiences as the younger generation. For example:

  • 30% of the over 65s would like to take a helicopter flight, compared to 20% of those aged 35-64
  • 15% of the aged 65+ group would like to try canoeing, just 2% less than those in the younger age bracket (18%)
  • Almost a fifth (18%) of both the older and younger generations would like to learn to ride a motorbike
They want authentic cultural experiences and have similar interests

City breaks, foodie trips, and culturally-immersive experiences are not just for the preserve of the Instagram generation, but they are in fact growing in popularity amongst the over 65s. When asked about how they liked to experience their holiday destinations, 67% of the over 65s said that they like to sample the local food, with 58% of those aged 18 – 54 all saying the same. Refusing to hang up their party shoes, over a third (39%) of the over 65s said that they like to try local bars, only 3% fewer than those aged 18 – 34.

Meeting local people, exploring local architecture and visiting museums also emerged as almost equally important to all the age groups.

They are more affluent

This year a report from Savills found that the over 65s are the most affluent generation, holding less mortgage debt and more of the UK’s housing wealth** meaning that they are able to treat their children and grandchildren. Furthermore, Viking’s research revealed that as many as 15% are still working in some capacity (full or part time), boosting their income still further and allowing them to splash out.

Wendy Atkin-Smith, Managing Director, Viking UK says “We know from the many guests we welcome to Viking each year that the over 65s are adventurous, active and culturally-curious. This has undoubtedly contributed to a rise in travel experiences that appeal to the extended family dynamic. At Viking we have always ensured we offered a variety of active and adventurous excursions, providing different ways to access iconic destinations and experiences that offer real insight into the working world and local life of the destinations that we visit all over the world.

About Viking

Viking offers culturally enriching, destination-focused river and ocean cruises for travellers curious about the world, its rich culture and varied history. Viking takes its guests on curated, elegant voyages to some of the most iconic rivers in Europe and the Far East, allowing a unique window on inspiring destinations and rewarding experiences. Featuring onboard cultural enrichment and included shore excursions, Viking’s journeys are competitively priced for genuine value.

Since its 1997 inception the company has grown to become the world’s leading operator with a fleet of 65 vessels and in 2015 Viking debuted its maiden season of ocean cruising. In 2016 Viking Ocean Cruises launched the Viking Sea, and in 2017, it launched its third ocean ship, the Viking Sky. Viking Ocean Cruises also took delivery of a fourth ship, Viking Sun in 2017 and its fifth ship, Viking Orion, will set sail in 2018. A sixth ship, Viking Jupiter will begin sailing in 2019, marking Viking as the largest small ship ocean cruise line. The sophisticated state-of-the-art Viking Ocean Ships can host 930 guests on itineraries that start from the brand’s homeland in Scandinavia and the Baltic through to the Western and Eastern Mediterranean. Viking consistently wins customer-voted and industry-recommended awards. In 2017, The British Travel Awards recognised the cruise line for Best Luxury Ocean Cruise Line, Best Midsize Ships Ocean Cruise Line and Best River Cruise Line for the 9th year running. Viking also won three River Cruise Awards at the Cruise Critic’s editor’s picks award – for Best Enrichment, Best for First Timers, and Best Shore Excursions. By 2019, it will operate a fleet of 69 river vessels.

Viking is now Good Housekeeping Institute accredited for its food and drink offering and a Which? Recommended Provider for its River Cruises.

For additional information on Viking’s River and Ocean offering, contact Viking on 0208 780 7995 or visit the company at