Travel is more popular than ever before, among every age group. Travellers generally fall into one of four categories:
Of course, there is a lot of cross-over between the categories. GAP year travellers may work short term jobs here and there, and business travellers and those visiting relatives may combine their trip with a holiday whilst they are at their destination. But the broad categories remain.
Many people start travelling young, nowadays, with some parents taking even quite young children on foreign holidays. Schools also run trips abroad much more frequently than in the past. All the same, for many, the first time they will travel independently as an adult, is as a GAP traveller. The GAP year is a source of great worry for many parents, they worry about their child’s safety, and they also worry that they may return, but not alone – and sporting big flashy diamond wedding rings! Australia must be one of the most terrifying destinations from this perspective, though returning with the big diamond wedding rings must surely count as preferable to staying with the big diamond wedding rings!
GAP travel is often followed by university and then the plunge into the real world of work. Which may then lead to further travel to distant business meetings and on foreign assignments. This may again raise the spectre of big diamond wedding rings in the minds of worried parents. And not without reason – the fourth category of traveller is party the result of such GAP and business travels. People do meet that special person abroad, and marry and settle out of their native land. It’s natural for relatives and friends to then visit them, especially with the added attraction of making a category two of it at the same time!
Of course, holiday travel probably still accounts for the majority of foreign journeys. New destinations are still opening up – what now counts as an exotic destination will in a few years have become more accessible and cheaper to get to, and a new ‘exotic’ destination will take its place.
But holiday travel is changing. The standard types of holiday can be categorised as:
But new types of holiday are on the ascendant. Green alternatives are growing in popularity – utilising long distance train journeys as part of the holiday, rather than planes, for example. Volunteering holidays are hugely increasing in popularity – people pay to work on projects in developing parts of the world, with a period of more traditional holiday built into the programme. Choices vary from building projects to environmental schemes and with their offer of doing something both different and worthwhile, it’s no surprise that they’re proving popular. After all, they say a change is as good as a rest!
Cheap volunteering options are also on the up. The WWOOF (World-wide Workers on Organic Farms) network puts volunteers on organic farms and smallholdings to work a small number of flexible hours in return for bed and board, with plenty of time left over for sightseeing. And ‘Couch-surfing’ allows people to find a spare bed – or couch – to sleep on for free, with the understanding that they’ll open up their own spare bed or couch to travellers when they’re back home. House-sitting is also becoming a more popular way of taking a holiday – some people even do it professionally!
GAP year style trips are also now on the market for the older generations who missed out when they were at what is now considered to be the ‘right’ age. People in their fifties or older can head off to India or Africa just as their children have done – and perhaps it’ll be the children’s turn to worry about those big diamond wedding rings!
There’s no doubt that a majority of people enjoy foreign travel, but there’s also a growing concern about the ethics of air travel. People are afraid that they’re living in an unsustainable way and damaging the planet for future generations. Whilst this is certainly a valid concern, it doesn’t need to be the death-knell for foreign holidays. Schemes are already in place where you can make a donation to offset the carbon you used in the flight. Some schemes put the money towards carbon research, others take a more practical approach and literally plant the right number of trees (or percentage of a tree!) necessary to remove ‘your’ carbon from the air. So guilt-free travel is still possible. Unless you come home to Mum and Dad with one of those big diamond wedding rings on your finger!
This article was written by Ted Hunter on behalf of Travel Republic. Travel Republic offer some of the best deals on cheap all inclusive holidays destinations all over the world. Ted is a keen writer who enjoys reading and likes to share ideas of interest.