Move over kids. The most adventurous travellers are those aged between 50 and 65. Indeed, there are more adventure travellers in this 15-year age bracket than there are amongst all travellers under 50. Rather surprisingly, while 14 per cent of adventure travellers are under 35, some 21 per cent are over 65.

These are the findings of the international luxury travel network Virtuoso released at its annual gathering in Las Vegas last month. Virtuoso’s travel specialists almost all said that sales in active, adventure and specialty travel has grown over the past 12 months and looks set to continue to grow into the future.

The Virtuoso survey found travellers crave authentic experiences, choosing to immerse themselves in destinations to learn, not merely sightsee. “Today’s health-conscious travellers want to maintain their lifestyle away from home. As well, a trip where they can indulge personal passions, whether athletic, artistic or gourmet, is a priority,” the authors concluded.

Adventure -travellers -%-wyza -com -au
50-65 year olds dominate the adventure traveller market

The top 10 activities

1. Hiking/trekking
2. Biking
3. Kayaking
4. Small-ship expedition cruising
5. Food and wine
6. Safaris/wildlife viewing
7. Walking
8. Photography
9. Scuba diving
10. Arts and culture


Adventure -travel -kenya -wyza -com -au
Heading on a safari is high up on the bucket list of adventure travellers

Happy together
The most common travel units are couples. They’re followed by immediate families, friends travelling together, solo travellers, and multigenerational family members.

Diverse destinations
The top 10 adventure destinations gaining in popularity are:

  1. Iceland
  2. Galapagos / Ecuador
  3. Costa Rica and Chile / Patagonia (tie)
  4. New Zealand
  5. Peru
  6. Cuba
  7. Antarctica 
  8. Arctic / North Pole
  9. South Africa
  10. Australia

It’s gratifying to see the largely US-based survey recognises the many adventure opportunities in Australia. Latin America rates highly because, like Asia for Australians, it allows you to combine nature and culture.

Adventure -travel -iceland -wyza -com -au
Looking for adventure? Try trekking in Iceland!

Why adventure?
The respondents to the survey cited several factors that were driving adventure travel’s popularity: 

  • communing with nature
  • checking experiences off a bucket list
  • spending quality time together on family and multigenerational trips, and
  • the ability of today’s older travellers to be more active due to improved longevity and health.

Best 5 tips for adventure travel

1. Challenge yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone and being open to new activities.
2. Familiarise yourself with the culture of the destination by meeting interesting locals.
3. Look at the world in a new way: gain a fresh perspective and possibly even change an opinion.
4. Travel now, because some of these destinations are changing fast and may not be in this state in just a few years.
5. Don’t try to do too much. Keep travel distances manageable and build in rest days and free time.

Adventure -travel -valpo -wyza -com -au
Immersing yourself in the local culture is a big part of adventure travel (Image: olgasunnyday /

Because Virtuoso is a luxury travel network, the survey may be somewhat self-selecting, reflecting what travellers with healthy budgets are choosing to do. However, it also reflects general trends in travel. The 50+ group has both the money and time to travel and is no longer prepared to accept boring, static holidays that fit the stereotype of how “retirees” wish to travel.

Younger travellers are just going to have to get used to the notion that they are likely to find their parents and grandparents hiking up Chilean volcanoes, dancing in Cuba or packing for the North Pole.

Are you ready to go?

What is your next travel adventure? Let us know in the comments section below.

Read more: