Unemployed Britons opting for travel "gap year"

Tourists look at the Houses of Parliament from the south bank of the River Thames, in central London May 10, 2009. REUTERS/John Voos/Files

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Britons who have lost their jobs in the recession are choosing to travel, creating a generation of “grown-up gappers,” a survey showed on Tuesday.

Foreign exchange group Travelex interviewed 4,000 people about post-redundancy plans and found 78 percent were planning to use the time to travel, on a grown-up version of the traditional gap year between school and college.

Those aged 30-55 were more than twice as likely as 18-24 year-olds to take time out to travel.

“Unlike the ‘year out’ typically associated with students, most adult gappers would opt to travel for on average three months,” the survey said.

Travellers are still likely to spend big while they are away with 38 percent spending more than 3,000 pounds ($4,963) and 16 percent spending more than 5,000 pounds.

“Grown-up gappers” are more focused on comfort than student backpackers with around two thirds opting to stay in a hotel instead of a hostel.

Canada was the top destination for grown-up gappers, with Japan, Hawaii, Indonesia and the Philippines featured as other essential stops on their travels.

“Our recent research highlights that the ‘grown up gap year’ is a rapidly growing market, with many people opting for an extended break to destinations they may not have visited in their youth,” said Peter Davies, director of Travelex.

Grown-up gappers were least interested in volunteering abroad, with the majority keen to pursue adventure travel and reflect about the future.