According to a new survey from adventure travel company Explore Worldwide the majority of people aged 70 or over harbor ‘travel regrets’, with 62% saying there is somewhere in the world they regret never having visited.
The countries mentioned frequently in the over 70s travel regrets include Australia, New Zealand, USA, Japan, and Canada. But when looking at specific travel experiences, one in three people over 70 say they regret never seeing the Northern Lights, making it the travel experience most people regret never doing.
Other experiences older travelers regret never having experienced include seeing the Great Pyramids of Giza, visiting Machu Picchu or missing out on an African safari.
Five travel experiences the older generation regrets the most
1. Seeing the Northern Lights: Charged with cultural and scientific significance, as well as being breathtakingly pretty and only appearing in certain locations, it’s very easy to see why the allure of the magical Northern Lights takes top spot as the travel experience most people regret never seeing. The beautiful light displays need the right conditions to be admired, which is what makes them all the more captivating. They occur in regions close to Earth’s magnetic poles, such as Iceland, Norway, Alaska and Canada.
2. Visiting the Maldives: The epitome of tropical paradise islands, the over-seventies who were surveyed regretted never having felt the white sand under their toes in the Maldives. The nation boasts some unique natural attractions, what with it sitting on top of a vast underwater mountain range, as well as its coral reef, rich green lagoons and beautiful and abundant marine wildlife.
3. Seeing the Great Pyramids of Giza: One of the most iconic and famous monuments on the planet, the Pyramids at Giza are a showcase of incredible ancient engineering, set against a striking desert backdrop. Whether its for their historical significance as tombs for bygone pharaohs, their mystical allure as treasure troves filled with ancient bounty and curses, or simply to marvel at the incredible feat of manual construction – many people regret never having gone to see the Pyramids at Giza.
4. Visiting Machu Picchu: Built in the 15th century, Machu Picchu is one of the few surviving examples of Inca architecture, made all the more special due to its lofty location on a Peruvian mountain ridge overlooking the Urubamba River. the original stone terraces, walls and buildings were created without the use of iron tools or mortar, making it another amazing human feat of construction. Thanks to the hike needed to view the site, its a popular travel experience which rewards adventurers with spectacular views and an insight into ancient culture.
5. Seeing Niagara Falls: The three waterfalls which make up Niagara Falls are a stunning natural wonder of the Earth. Often deemed a romantic setting, couples often honeymoon to this special location, but it’s a hugely popular travel experience for anyone who wants to marvel at the sheer power of mother nature – with millions of gallons of water cascading over the falls every minute. The older generation regret not having seen Niagara Falls first hand, whether from viewing platforms, or a boat on the water or even a helicopter aerial tour.
However, the same survey reveals that people in their mid-life (aged 40-55) expressed a strong desire to see more of the world in the next decade or two. The most popular travel ‘hope’ for mid-lifers is seeing the Northern Lights, followed by a visit to the Maldives. A massive 85% of mid-life people say they hope to visit a new country, with Italy, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and USA coming out as the most popular places that mid-lifers want to visit in the next ten to twenty years.
Michael Edwards, Managing Director at Explore says “By sharing the travel hopes and regrets of different generations, we hope to inspire people to book that special adventure they’ve been dreaming about. The biggest travel regrets include never seeing natural and historical wonders, like the Northern Lights, Machu Picchu or the Maldives islands. These natural and historical wonders help to connect us to our planet and our past, something that becomes more important to us as we grow older.
“We’ve just launched a new map (inspired by David Attenborough) which allows you to plot your travel history onto an interactive map, as well as plotting the places you still want to explore. With our research showing that so many people aged over 70 regret not having visited more of the world, we hope our new map encourages travelers to keep on discovering new things.”