Over 50s entitled to fun abroad too

Posted on: 20 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

The Foreign Office report on the 'risky' holiday behaviour of the over 50s - and we want to know what you think.

Today (Thursday March 20th, 2008) the media is awash with news that apparently the over 50’s are just as bad abroad as their younger counterparts, drinking too much alcohol and taking risks with their health.

The Foreign Office (FCO) are apparently concerned about the ‘risky holiday behaviour and lack of travel insurance’ among the over 50s who are taking more holidays than ever before.   They have dubbed this an ‘Overseas & Plastered’ phenomenon within this demographic, and state that from their survey of 1020 people over the age of 55 that:

‘Over half admit they drink more alcohol than usual whilst on holiday and a third say they'd indulge even more in an all-inclusive resort where the booze is included – which according to the British Embassies in popular resorts, can lead to problems and has previously caused incidents of drowning.’

The Foreign Office research also says that 20% of older travellers take risks abroad which they wouldn't contemplate at home, with favourite activities ranging from bungee jumping, parasailing, water-skiing and moped-riding.  And that one in five couples say that they, or their daredevil partner, has been injured along the way because of their thrill-seeking antics. 

How Valid Is This Survey?

Is this Government headline purely for sensational effect, I wonder?  The findings of this study are based on a survey of a mere 1,020 people over the age of 55, yet the over 50s account for 34% of the entire UK population, which means there are approximately 20 million in the UK today.  Does a survey of such a tiny proportion of this demographic justify the Foreign Office's almost ageist press campaign?

Is it not entirely 'normal' to want to experience some adventure whilst on holiday, and try things you wouldn't at home?  It might be riding a camel across the Sahara, jet-skiing in the Med or bunjee jumping over the Victoria Falls.  When you reach 50, 60 or 70, you still want to have exhilerating experiences - just like someone in their 20s, 30s, or 40s does.  

The majority of people, whatever their age, let their hair down and drink more than usual whilst on holiday.  Obviously I am difrentiating from obliterated to nicely merry here, but currently, there does seem to be a persistent anti-alcohol stance emanating from the Government.

The Foreign Office also warns that 65% of the 1020 people surveyed admitted they did not take out travel insurance on their last trip abroad.  Obviously 50connect do not condone a lack of travel insurance when visiting another country, and suggest travellers look for yearly policies which are more cost-effective if you travel more than once a year.  But, again, I can't help wonder how accurate this statistic is.    

By Rachael Hannan

We want to hear your views?  Have you ever gone on holiday without travel insurance?  Do you think the Government's warnings are justified by this survey?  We want to hear your views, so share your thoughts in the comment box below.


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