Gap year-takers getting older: report

It’s traditionally thought that gap years are for students taking time out before entering the world of work, however research from Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money reveals that people aged between 26 and 40 are actually the most likely to do so. 

Older guests are increasingly on the lookout for adventure activities.
Older guests are increasingly on the lookout for adventure activities.

The survey asked people how old they were when they took a gap year: 34% were between 26-40 years old, 28% were between 20 and 25 years old, followed by pre-University 18-19 year-olds (19%).

The research also highlights a new generation of mature gappers, with 12% aged 41-59 and 4% aged 60 or over taking a gap year. 4% of those who went away were younger teenagers aged 18 and under.

The research also suggests that 45% of people in Britain who want to take a gap year are planning to do so between the ages of 26-40, followed by those who say they’ll be 41-59 years old (19%). 18% plan to take time out between the ages of 20-25 and 17% say they’ll be aged 60 or over. Just 1% of 18-19 year olds have plans to take a gap year in the near future.

A desire to see the world (16%) was the most important factor to inspire Britons to take a gap year. Those who wanted a break from school or university accounted for 12% of those who had; the search of a once in a lifetime experience inspired 11% of travellers and 8% were looking for a career break to gain a fresh perspective. 6% of travellers opted for redundancy gap years; 5% of gap year takers were retirees and only 4% of travellers considered their gap year as an experience that would enhance their CV.

The most popular destination for British gappers who travelled abroad is Europe (32%), followed by the USA (20%) and a round the world trip (19%). Other popular destinations include South East Asia (15%), Australia and New Zealand (14%) and South America (9%).

According to the research, gap years are most commonly funded through savings (40%), working throughout the gap year (20%) or through financial support from family (14%).

Regionally, London has the largest number of gap year takers (39%) followed by the North West (21%) and North East (20%), then Scotland (16%) and Wales (16%). The research suggests the Northern Irish are the most ‘gap year shy’ (2%).

Those that have taken a gap year opted to travel with their spouse or partner (25%), followed by solo travelling (22%) and travelling with friends (20%). The findings show that 27% of women prefer travelling solo in comparison to men (18%).

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