Increase in 'career backpackers'
26 January 2009 11:28
Gap years travelling is becoming increasingly popular among people who bypassed the opportunity during their pre and post-university years, one industry expert has claimed.
Taking a year out between studies to go abroad has been a popular option for many school and university-leavers since they late 1990s when round-the-world packages started becoming more affordable.
And according to Tom Griffiths, founder of Gapyear.com, many 25 to 35-year-olds are now realising the opportunities they missed and deciding to put their careers on hold to make up for lost time.
He explained that while 18 to 24-year-olds still make up the lion's share of gap year travellers (230,000 each year), demand among the next demographic has already reached 90,000 and is accelerating at a faster rate than for any other age group.
"Those travelling now are the ones that didn't actually take the gap year [when they left school]," Mr Griffiths explained. "Their friends did and they've suddenly hit thirty and are having a quarter life crisis."
He added that the most popular destination for older and experienced travellers is South America, while first-time gapers tend to focus on Asia and Australasia.