Older Adults Embrace Post-Pandemic Travel with Enthusiasm

Older Adults Embrace Post-Pandemic Travel with Enthusiasm

Older travelers are hitting the road post-pandemic, adapting to new travel needs and embracing adventure. Discover how inclusive travel is making their journeys easier.

As summer travelers hit the roads and skies, many older adults eagerly embrace post-pandemic travel.

These seasoned voyagers are flocking to international destinations, adjusting their travel habits to accommodate the physical and cognitive changes that come with aging.

“Travel consistently ranks among [older adults’] top priorities when it comes to spending discretionary income,” said Charuta Fadnis, Senior Vice President of Research and Product Strategy for Phocuswright Inc.

The trend highlights older travelers’ continued passion for exploration and relaxation.

Demographic Shift in Travel

Approximately 62 million Americans aged 65 and older currently constitute 18% of the U.S. population.

According to the Census Bureau, this number is projected to rise to 82 million, or 23% of the population, by 2050.

This demographic shift suggests that older adults will increasingly dominate the travel landscape.

Older adults often travel more frequently due to having fewer family obligations and greater financial freedom.

According to an AARP survey, their travel motivations include relaxation (49%), escapism (36%), and spending time with friends and family (35%).

Addressing Mobility and Cognitive Challenges

Mobility issues are a common concern among older travelers.

Laurie Johnsrud, a travel advisor at Travel Leaders Market Square in Rochester, noted frequent requests for scooters and wheelchairs.

Airlines accommodate these needs by offering wheelchair services, but challenges remain, such as fitting wheelchairs down airplane aisles.

Travel can also be daunting for the nearly 7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia.

Sara Barsel, founder of the Dementia-Friendly Airports Working Group, advocates for dementia-inclusive airport policies.

Programs like the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower initiative help by discreetly signaling the need for additional assistance.

Innovative Solutions for Inclusivity

Airports and airlines are increasingly recognizing the need for age-friendly and dementia-friendly services.

Dr. Benjamin Rosenstein, a geriatric specialist at M Health Fairview, cites improvements like age-friendly airports, reduced security measures, and better architectural designs.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International (MSP) Airport is leading in accessibility by offering various services, including personal escorts and accessibility maps.

MSP plans to open quiet rooms by 2027 to provide peaceful spaces for travelers with sensory processing difficulties.

Future of Inclusive Travel

As the U.S. population ages, the travel industry must evolve to offer inclusive and accessible travel experiences for older adults.

Enhancing airport and airline services is crucial to making travel more comfortable and enjoyable for this growing demographic.

Addressing mobility and cognitive challenges will ensure that older travelers continue exploring the world confidently and enthusiastically.

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