Travel and experiencing the world’s natural wonders, from the Northern Lights to whale watching, has always topped bucket list polls. Now with pension reforms releasing billions of pounds, for many in the UK dream travel plans are less of a fantasy and more of a reality than ever before.

Recent reports have suggested that as much as three quarters of those planning to withdraw money from their pensions, are doing so to fulfil a dream to travel.*1

Experts are therefore predicting an increase in over-55s taking the chance to fulfil their travel dreams. Jonny Cooper, founder of Northern Lights and soft adventure travel specialist, said; “These changes have put bucket list travel experiences within reach. As the Northern Lights and whale watching consistently top polls, we expect this to be one of the busier years for these highlight adventure activities.”

Just some of the experiences experts believe to be even more popular this year include:

  • Luleå Winter Adventure and a Northern Lights Safari CampLuleå, in Swedish Lapland, is a vibrant coastal city in the county of Norbotten on the shore of Bothnian Bay. Situated perfectly in the Aurora Oval, the region provides a perfect destination for a Northern Lights holiday along with wilderness that opens up to offer a snow-covered winter playground. You’ll stay in three amazing properties including in a safari camp by the frozen lake, in a stunning arctic lodge and finish with a night in a specially designed treehouse.A four night Luleå Winter Adventure with Off the Map Travel starts from £1999 per person based on two sharing on a full board basis. This includes all transfers, ice sculpting, hunting the Northern Lights, dogsledding and snowmobiling on the frozen Baltic sea, spending one night at the Aurora Safari Camp, two nights at Brändön Lodge and one night at Sweden’s famous Treehotel staying in a specialist treeroom. Excluding all flights.
  • Escorted Aurora Borealis – Swedish LaplandTravel into one of the last true wildernesses in Europe, Abisko and Bjorkliden, one of the best locations to see the Northern Lights in the world. From your accommodation you can spend the days having a go at great Arctic activities whilst at night you will have the chance to experience the Northern Lights dance above your head – all accompanied by a Northern Lights travel expert.A four night Escorted Aurora Borealis adventure through Off the Map Travel costs from £1499 per person based on 2 people travelling on a bed and breakfast basis. This includes transfers, a private Northern Lights guide throughout, guided Northern Lights searches, visit to the ICEHOTEL, Lights Over Lapland photography tour, trip to Norway with your guide to explore the mountains and Fjords. In the evening head to the Aurora Sky Station for, hopefully, one of the best views of the Northern Lights in the world. Excluding flights. Additional activities including snowmobiling or dogsledding can be added.
  • ICEHOTEL – Swedish LaplandA once-in-a-lifetime trip staying in the world’s biggest igloo at the famous ICEHOTEL in Swedish Lapland whilst have the chance to experience the magnificent Northern Lights. The hotel has over 80 rooms built each year from snow and crystal clear ice, taken from the waters of the local river Torne.A three night ICEHOTEL experience through Off the Map Travel costs from £925 per person based on two people sharing. This includes transfers, two nights in the ICEHOTEL’s warm accommodation, a history of huskies dog sled tour, searching for the Northern Lights, learn how the amazing Ice Art and sculptures are made and have a go yourself on an Ice sculpting lesson and a night in cold accommodation (snow room) to experience a night in the snow and ice. Excluding flights.
  • Whale watching in the Azores – Azores AdventureDiscover the stunning islands of the Azores 800 miles off the coast of Portugal, a home to many species of whale and dolphin. Spend time exploring with a small boat whale watching experience, swimming with dolphins, volcanoes, cycling, canoeing and hiking all on the menu.A seven night Azores Adventure through Off the Map Travel costs from £899 per person on a bed and breakfast basis. This includes car hire, accommodation in a stunning coastal hotel on Sao Miguel, Cycling and canoeing on the lake, flights to and from the island of Pico, a night in a self-catering cottage on the island of Pico, a small group whale watching tour. Excluding international flights.

Jonny Cooper from Off the Map Travel adds: “The world today is much more accessible than it has ever been before, with many natural adventures for those reaching retirement. I am sure that these changes will make a big difference in making travel dreams become a reality.”

There are a number of ways for over-55s to access their pensions with advice and guidance available through a variety of sources*2. It is important for anyone thinking of releasing funds from their pension to do so with the proper advice to ensure their post retirement financial security.