No more is adventurous travel the sole preserve of the young; the grey gappers are here with their passports in hand, ready to see the world.
While arguably a derogatory moniker, it characterises the recent increase of people aged over 50/55 that have decided to tick a few items off their bucket list and go on some medium to high-octane holidays. Walking the Inca Trail, scuba diving off the Great Barrier Reef, even bungee-jumping from the Victoria Falls Bridge; you name it, this breed of fearless babyboomers is trying it!
The advantage they have over their younger counterparts is typically the possession of more time and greater funds, both of which can turn a simply OK holiday into a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. That said, a certain amount of preparation is naturally required to ensure yours is a trip to remember and on that basis, here are five top tips for making your first adventure holiday a success.
Jetting off to foreign climes, though exciting, might require a trip to the local GP for an injection or some malaria tablets. To determine whether your chosen destination requires you to have any medical intervention, the NHS Fit For Travel website is extremely useful. Not only does it provide location-specific advice, but also some general travel health guidance to reflect a range of personal circumstances.
It might also be a sensible idea for intrepid travellers to obtain a pre-holiday health check, in order that they can ensure they have adequate medicine, where necessary, to last the duration.
When you reach "a certain age", it can be difficult to find a company that is willing to provide travel insurance, with many unnecessarily cautious due to the misperceived decrepitude of this category of holiday-goer. That doesn't mean that insurance should be abandoned though, it simply means that travellers need to be more discerning about their choice of provider; finding one which offers products that reflect today's travel trends. These might include backpacker, adventure or over-64 options. Do make sure to check that it covers you for the relevant extreme activities, treks and tours so as not to invalidate your insurance.
Savvy travellers don't lug huge suitcases around. It's all about capsule travel wardrobes and clever packing; all designed to lighten the load. If you're going to be away from some time and don't want the bother of hand washing from your desert teepee, then it's advisable to take robust clothes that are darker in colour, so the dirt doesn't show so obviously. Perhaps pack a small bottle of fabric freshening spray for a quick spritz of freshness?
Making sure your clothes coordinate will allow you to integrate different items and pack less. Layers are ideal; pashminas are a god-send. Ensure that you are taking clothes and shoes that will be appropriate practically and culturally - don't take items that you won't actually have the opportunity to wear.
Plan - to some extent
Whether your trip is three months or three days, each day is precious and you won't want to waste a single one debating ways to fill them. Therefore, some advance planning is a good idea - especially if you need to travel toward a different point to fly home. This doesn't necessarily mean buying an expensive guidebook and following a well-worn tourist trail; instead, do some research on the internet and see what other travellers recommend. Simply searching "off the beaten track" can present you with some fantastic ideas - from hidden gem eateries to best kept secret sights. Use your imagination!
Go with an open mind
Even the best laid plans can go awry, so it's best to accept that one or two elements of your finely-sculpted holiday may not occur in accordance with your wishes. However, that doesn't mean it'll be to the detriment of your trip. Some of the best experiences are spontaneous ones, therefore, go with an open mind, be prepared to take some chances and push yourself a little out of your comfort zone; you never know what you might end up doing!