Brits only really start to get the most from a holiday at the age of 31, a study has found.

After years of booze-filled breaks and late nights, it’s only once we reach our early thirties that we really start to relax and truly enjoy holidays.

Although getting away from it all is still a priority, the way we go about this is different – we are less inclined to party and more inclined to pursue family-friendly activities that will live long in the memory.

Experiences such as whale watching and helicopter rides are among the activities those in their thirties are most interested in, along with cultural excursions such museums and art galleries.

The findings emerged after six in ten admitted they have been on a holiday only to return home feeling like they’ve not really had a break at all.

The research of 2,000 holidaymakers was commissioned by Virgin Holidays, who are launching 250 new ‘Experiences’, enabling travellers to personalise their holidays and trips.

Joe Thompson, Managing Director at Virgin Holidays, said: “Our research suggests the travel industry needs to do more to offer holidaymakers bespoke holidays, personalised to their individual needs.

“It’s apparent we all want different things from our getaways and there is no one-size fits all when it comes to holidaying.”

When it comes to what we want from our holidays, trying new dishes is among the top things all age groups look for – along with escaping the daily grind.

A third of ‘care-free’ 18 to 29 year olds are keen to top up the tan, 29 per cent look for vibrant nightlife and around a quarter want the chance to be independent.

And more people from this age group – 25 per cent – favour adventure holidays than any other age demographic.

As we reach our thirties, our preferences alter, with a quarter simply happy to get a moment to read a book, while 27 per cent want to do “as little as possible”.

However it’s not all peace and quiet for this age group as theme park holidays are most popular among this group.

A quarter of those in their forties are keen on getting off the beaten track, nearly a fifth are interested in wine and cocktails and two in five prefer a city break.

Twenty-seven per cent of those in their fifties want to learn something new when holidaying and 30 per cent favour cultural holidays the most.

Three in ten over sixty year olds want to meet interesting people when getting away and they are also the biggest advocates of multiple destination trips, group tours and cruises.

Amid this, the research carried out by One Poll also found more people aged under 30 said laughter makes a holiday memorable than any other age group.

And more respondents in their thirties and forties said family time makes holidays live long in the memory than anyone else.

While a greater proportion of 50 year olds said doing something new makes a holiday memorable.

And larger numbers of those aged over 60 said the weather makes a trip unforgettable.

When booking a holiday top of the list of criteria across all age groups is cost, however the weather and the distance from door to destination is key too.

Joe Thompson added: “We’re want to empower customers to do more on their travels, with personalised itineraries.

“That’s why we’re launching over 250 Virgin Holidays Experiences – there is something for everyone to help create happy holiday memories.”

“The Experiences include activities for thrill-seekers, outdoor adventurers, foodies, shopaholics and sci-fi fanatics.”


1. Foodie experiences
2. Whale watching
3. Helicopter ride over a natural wonder (like the Grand Canyon)
4. Museums and art galleries
5. Wine tasting
6. Helicopter ride over a city (like New York)
7. Visiting the set of my favourite films or TV shows
8. Local food cooking course
9. Driving a classic or luxury car
10. Checking out the local street art
11. Going in a seaplane
12. Driving an Easyrider motorcycle on Route 66
13. Personal shopping experience
14. Flying in a fighter jet (Top Gun style)
15. Zip-lining
16. Jet packing in the sea
17. Surf lessons
18. Bungee jumping

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