Seven or eight years ago I had an article published in a national magazine that put forward my view that Gap Years were wasted on young people, filling in the gap between their ‘A’ levels and getting a place in University (see The Gap Year on my website menu bar above). I probably wrote it in a fit of pique because I set sail on the University of Life at the age of 16, as an apprentice in the Merchant Navy.
Last week a study carried out by Barclays Bank confirmed that the Baby Boomers generation spend more on travel and have more fun doing it than any other age group. On average the over 55s age group spend £5,419 a year on foreign travel compared to £3,187 for the 35 to 54 age group.
They are more adventurous than previous generations and have more fun too and crucially, they can afford it. In spite of the economic troubles of recent years, the over 55s are in better financial shape since the recovery.
Increasingly the Baby Boomers are mortgage free and now have a disposable income over 5% better than before the economic crisis. On the other hand, their debt laden children are finding it harder to fund, or even justify, a costly gap year that is now overshadowed by the looming university tuition fees.
So the gap year is no longer a rite of passage for teenagers and as more of the ‘Saga’ generation straps on their backpacks its getting greyer all the time. After eight years I can honestly say “I told you so”