From BBC News 27th September:

People over the age of 50 are spending more and more on holidays – including cruises – while younger people are travelling less, according to research.  Over the past five years, the older age group has increased spending on travel by 23%, says a study by the CEBR consultancy for Saga, and those under 50 have cut spending on tourism by 5% during the same period.  As a result, the older generation is now responsible for well over half the UK’s total spending on holidays.

Last year, the over-50s spent £39bn on travel, including £2.8bn on cruises.  Other exotic destinations included exploring the silk road in Uzbekistan, the report says.  Earlier this year, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said that younger people had suffered a fall in income since the financial crisis, while those over 60 had enjoyed a higher standard of living.  In the seven years up to 2015, that age group saw an 11% rise in incomes, and those under 30 saw a 7% drop in income over the same period, with those in the middle seeing little change.

When our boys were small, Sam had a full time job, but I only had paid work at weekends when Sam was able to perform childminding duties.  We managed to have a week’s  UK holiday every year, the bills were paid, but there was absolutely no disposable income.  For at least 2 years in fact I remember having only 50p to last me the whole week, and this was usually spent at Leon’s playgroup.  I went back to work part time when Leon was 12 and Marc was 9.

Fast forward 30 years.  Our mortgage is paid, our boys are married with children of their own, and it’s time for Sam and I to reap the rewards. We sail from Miami in February 2017, cruising to the Mardi Gras in New Orleans to celebrate our joint 60th birthdays, and swimming with the dolphins on the way.  And why not, I ask myself? Why should we feel guilty?  We have worked hard all our lives, we are both in reasonable health, and it’s time to have that holiday of a lifetime before we both get too old.  Doubtless the cruise will be full of 50 and 60 somethings just like ourselves, reaping the rewards of their own middle ages.

Our sons have this all to come.  Now they are paying a hefty mortgage each month on their homes, and funding school trips and expensive school uniforms.  As much as they would like to they cannot have it all, and they will have to wait, just like we did, in order to tick a dream holiday off their bucket lists. Most young couples with children are in the same boat, unless they are funded by parents who can afford to run two homes.  Lucky them if so, but as they say…all good things come to those who wait.  We have waited 36 years, and it’s our turn!