Once a rite of passage for school leavers, now adults over 35 are also putting their careers on hold to do things like: take Spanish lessons from a Peruvian; work at a children’s orphanage in Thailand; or sample Caiprainhas in Brazil.
Representing a shift from the traditional gap year, where teenagers traipse the globe after graduating from high school, new research from Hotels.com has found almost a third of adults in Australia have taken a sabbatical or extended career break to go travelling – with well over half (61%) choosing to do so in their 30s or later.
When it comes to favourite sabbatical destinations for Aussie ‘Grown up Gappers’, Europe tops the list, closely followed by long-time favourites, the United States and the United Kingdom. And when it comes to ticking off dream destinations, one in five say they have visited all the destinations on their “wish list”.
While popular tourist attractions feature prominently on wish lists, a few lesser known locations such as Barbados, Estonia and Micronesia also make the cut. Interestingly, one intrepid Aussie’s wish list featured the Gibraltar Strait.
Over a quarter of ‘Grown up Gappers’ aged 35 and over have taken a gap of up to three months. One in 10 said they were travelling for up to six months and almost 8% departed Australia for more than two years!
Challenging perceptions, the research discovered IT professionals, traditionally seen as being dry and boring, are the second most likely group to take a grown up gap year, behind teachers and Government sector employees.
And while hostels are still a popular accommodation for long-term Aussie ‘Gappers’ irrespective of age, almost one in five older ‘Gappers’, prefer to travel in style opting to stay in 4-5 star accommodation.
The research also found, most intrepid Aussies have returned from their extended travels as planned, however, almost one in five have had to return early. Running out of money, missing home and fulfilling family commitments were the main reasons behind cutting trips short with visa issues also given as a reason for coming home early.
While some Aussies haven’t had the chance to bite the bullet and take a career break to go travelling, just over a third of adults over 35 have every intention to take a career break before retiring, with the USA, UK, Europe and New Zealand in their sights.