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Leisure Time Pursuits

by Published On: Mar 29, 2011

If current trends are any indication, aging baby boomers will choose adventure when they plan their leisure time pursuits. Researchers at George Washington University in Washington, Dc. report that older people are spending more money – about $56 billion – in the “experiential marketplace” and that their spending on sensation, education, adventure and cultural vacations is expected to grow in the future. [1] 

Take Grand Circle Corporation, a Boston company that caters to travelers whose average age is 68. The company’s adventure tours now account for 50 percent of passenger volume, compared to 16 percent in 2001. At Exploritas, formerly known as Elderhostel, the proportion of travel adventurers over age 85 has increased more than 70 percent since 2004. [1] 

Even if they aren’t skydiving or climbing Mt. Everest, aging baby boomers will want to travel, according to a recent AARP survey. In 2007, more than 81 million adults aged 42 and older were planning to travel in the next year, and collectively these travelers planned to spend $126 billion on their next trip alone. But while boomers may want adventure, they aren’t foolhardy by any measure. They still think that adventure should take place within the context of safety. [2]  

How will baby boomers spend their leisure time when they are not on vacation? Most boomers (70%) have a hobby or special interest to which they will dedicate more time when they retire. [3] Yet experts disagree on exactly what those hobbies and interests will be. Some suggest that golf will remain a popular activity, while others see hiking, river rafting, kayaking and hang gliding as top interests for future retirees. [4] Some researchers suggest that future consumers will prefer more gentle activities such as walking, gardening, reading, watching television, bicycling, swimming and attending exercise classes. [5]  

Significantly, researchers at the University of Florida found that activities like entertaining at home, taking day trips and getting involved with religious activities lead to more satisfaction with life and may be just as important as physical activity for those looking to age gracefully and healthfully. [5] 

Read More About Future Retirement Lifestyles: 

[1] Seeing Old Age as a Never-Ending Adventure. 2010. The New York Times, Jan. 7.  

[2] The Sky's the Limit: Travel Trends Among the Baby Boom Generation & Beyond. 2007. AARP. 

[3] Baby Boomers Envision Retirement II: Survey of Baby Boomers' Expectations for Retirement. May 2004. Washington, DC: AARP.  

[4] "Active Recreation Tops Lifestyle Desires for Older Baby Boomers, Senior Citizens.” 2007. Senior Journal. 

[5] "Healthy Aging Depends on Social as Well as Physical Activity." 2009., March 4.  


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