Gap years if 55 going on 18

Post Office Travel Insurance says the over 55s are now picking up on what was traditionally the reserve of young students, and jetting off abroad for an extended break. Intrepid over 55s will take a shorter gap³ travelling for just over three and a half months, compared to those under 35 who spend on average just under five months travelling.

However, over 55s will spend more to make sure they get good quality accommodation and the most from their time away.

The most popular gap year destinations include back-packer havens Australia and New Zealand. Their sense of adventure is also taking them as far afield as India, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

Gap year travellers are under-prepared for their time abroad and leaving themselves vulnerable. The research found that only a quarter of people planning an extended trip purchased a specific gap year policy, with 6% not taking out any insurance at all.

Of those who did purchase a specific gap year policy, only two fifths read the terms and conditions to check they would be covered for specific activities.

Sarah Munro says, "It is worrying though that so few gap year holidaymakers take out adequate insurance. If you are going abroad for an extended period of time the most vital areas to be insured for are medical treatment, repatriation in case you need to be flown home, and cancellation in case you fall ill and are unable to travel."

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Gap years if 55 going on 18
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