Seniors choosing adventure over nest eggs

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The cost of living may be gnawing at our budgets, but seniors are refusing to give up their travel plans, according to the Grey Nomads Report 2024.

Released by insurer New Zealand Seniors, the report shows more than half (54 percent) of survey respondents say the high cost of living is impacting their travel plans, with financial constraints listed as their number one travel obstacle.

Despite this, almost three-quarters (74 percent) plan to travel within the next 12 months, with destinations closer to home such as other regions of NZ and Australia topping the list. The average active traveller is on the move for about five and a half weeks a year.

Over 70 percent of seniors were willing to dip into their children’s inheritance to fund a trip on their bucket list, while 87 percent will use their savings. About 17 percent will dip into their superannuation and 15 percent use their credit cards.

Travel guru Kate Tawhai, who owns Travel Expert, says over 50s are still booking travel in droves, “albeit with a specific budget in mind”.

“In fact, according to International Air Transport Association data, global travel traffic has returned to 99 percent of levels seen at the peak of 2019,” she says.

While overall travel costs are rising, airfares are showing signs of reducing, thanks to greater competition in the market.

“More overseas carriers are returning to New Zealand, especially from Asia and the USA with more direct routes leading to greater competition,” Tawhai says.

She offers these tips for seniors keen to make their travel dollars go a bit further.

  1. For lower airfares, be open to a slightly longer journey with an extra transit stop.
  2. Use a travel credit card to save on foreign transaction fees on overseas purchases.
  3. Get advice from an experienced travel expert, who can tailor a travel itinerary to fit your budget. 
  4. Avoid countries where the NZ dollar doesn’t stretch as far, for example, parts of Asia over the USA.  
  5. Prebook and arrange as much of your sightseeing as you can before you travel.
  6. Dine a few blocks away from the heart of the tourist attractions for local prices.
  7. Shop like a local for picnic supplies from local supermarkets or get takeaway meals.  
  8. Don’t be put off the luxury brand cruises as their all-inclusiveness represents great value with all sightseeing tours included, premium drinks, Wi-Fi, and more.

The report, put together with consumer research group MYMAVINS, surveyed more than 500 New Zealanders aged over 50.

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