Nine top travel regrets of adventurous travellers over 70

Camels in front of pyramids

We all have those dream destinations we long to explore. Now, a survey by Explore Worldwide highlights why it’s essential to start crossing off as many places as possible. 

The survey reveals that an astounding 62 per cent of individuals over the age of 70 expressed regret for not visiting at least one of their desired destinations. To ignite your wanderlust and inspire your bucket-list adventures, here are the top nine travel regrets shared by these seasoned travellers.

Seeing the northern lights

Those enchanting ribbons of vivid light gracefully dancing across the night sky have entranced humanity for centuries. Unsurprisingly, missing the opportunity to witness this breathtaking phenomenon topped the list of travel regrets among those over 70. A staggering 39 per cent expressed regret over not witnessing the lights in their full glory. The lights are elusive and unpredictable so seeing them requires a touch of luck. If you haven’t checked the northern lights off your bucket list yet, the upcoming years are said to be the prime time to catch a glimpse of them. Plan a journey to Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Greenland, Canada or Alaska to try to catch a glimpse of the northern lights.

Relaxing in the Maldives

A holiday in the Maldives offers a blissful escape to a tropical paradise. So it probably comes as no surprise that 19 per cent of those surveyed regret never having experienced the stunning white sands of this tropical destination While the islands are often associated with luxury, the beauty and romance of this tropical destination can be experienced on any budget, from beachside camping to indulging in the lavish comforts of five-star resorts

Witnessing the Pyramids of Giza

Would you like to immerse yourself in the captivating presence of the Pyramids of Giza, the oldest Wonder of the Ancient World? A staggering 14 million visitors are drawn to their mystique each year. However, 19 per cent of those surveyed said they regretted not seeing these monumental relics. 

Accessible as a day trip from the vibrant city of Cairo, which boasts its own cultural and culinary delights, the pyramids offer an unforgettable journey into the past.

Experiencing the majesty of Machu Picchu

Dubbed ‘The Lost City of the Incas,’ Machu Picchu stands as an iconic testament to the magnificence of Incan civilisation. Nestled amidst the breathtaking Andes Mountains in Peru, this ethereal city has earned its place among the new Seven Wonders of the World, attracting thousands of visitors annually, many of whom embark on the legendary Inca Trail. Centuries after its construction, this awe-inspiring marvel of the Incan Empire continues to captivate and inspire travellers. Understandably, it’s high on the list of travel regrets for those who missed out on seeing it. Another 19 per cent of those surveyed expressed regret at never experiencing Machu Picchu.

Getting up close with Niagara Falls

For those with an appreciation for the wonders of nature, few experiences can rival the majestic splendour of Niagara Falls, the colossal waterfall that spans the border between Canada and the USA. The pinnacle of the experience lies in getting up close to the falls themselves, feeling the exhilarating mist on a boat cruise. The overwhelming beauty of this awe-inspiring scenery makes missing out on this spectacular encounter a regret for many travellers seeking to witness the raw power of nature firsthand. Another 19 per cent of those surveyed said they wished they had the opportunity to get up close and personal with Niagara Falls.

Experiencing the Taj Mahal

As a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Taj Mahal stands as an exquisite testament to the splendour of Muslim art in India. Built in the 17th century as the final resting place for the beloved wife of the Mughal Emperor, this architectural marvel continues to embody romance, artistry, and architectural brilliance. Every facet of the structure is adorned with intricate designs, showcasing the pinnacle of Mughal craftsmanship. The survey found 18 per cent of respondents said they regretted not seeing the Taj Mahal.

Walking the Great Wall of China

Stretching over a staggering 7000km, the Great Wall of China stands as an emblematic testament to human ingenuity and engineering prowess. Today, attracting more than 10 million visitors annually, this marvel of human achievement remains a globally renowned Wonder of the World and an icon of our collective heritage. Walking the Great Wall of China is an unforgettable travel experience that 17 per cent of those surveyed wished they’d undertaken.

Seeing the ruins of Petra

Venturing into the captivating realm of Petra, a city sculpted into the rock face of the Jordanian desert, evokes a sense of stepping into the pages of a fantasy or science-fiction novel. Petra, often referred to as ‘The Rose City’ due to its radiant hue, holds a majestic allure that can only be truly appreciated when experienced in person. Thirteen per cent of over 70s said they regret not having visited Petra.

Witnessing wildlife on an African safari

Africa, a continent teeming with captivating wildlife, beckons adventurers to embark on an extraordinary safari experience. It is a rare opportunity to behold nature’s most majestic creatures, from lions basking in the shade to giraffes gracefully nibbling on acacia trees. The allure of encountering the renowned big five animals is strong and 13 per cent of respondents said they regretted not doing a safari.

What’s on your travel bucket list? Have you had any of these travel experiences? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: World’s top 10 most googled landmarks

Written by Ellie Baxter

Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.


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  1. I would love to be able to afford to go to see some of these destinations. but I am trying to recover from the huge out of pocket expenses for my partner’s 5 year Battle with Cancer.
    Unfortunately she lost that battle last September.
    WE did look at going to Egypt the year before Covid, but the cost was quoted at approx. $14K each, at the time, way out of our reach.

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