New rating and ranking system of 100 countries to visit, evaluating them by eight criteria.
Third Age Travel has released the Third Age Travel Country Rating 2018, its inaugural ranking of 100 countries by their desirability and ease of traveling. The report is available as a free download.
As the Baby Boomers retire, more and more of us are traveling the world. But most travel advice is suited mainly to younger people. Third Age Travel was formed to redress the balance. This report rates and ranks major travel destinations, based on the following criteria:
1. Value for money
2. Ease of visiting
3. Number of things to see and do
5. Crime rate
6. Standard of health care
7. Corruption level
8. Age awareness (based on the percentage of the population over 60).
Most of these are equally relevant to travellers of any age, but all of them have a bearing on how easy or difficult it is to travel in these countries for Third Agers. All the scores have been sourced from reputable international indices.
What it doesn’t cover
The rating system does not cover things like excitement level, the tastiness of the local cuisine, ease or cost of travel to these destinations (which will vary according to your starting point), or a range of other subjective factors. Travel is the most personal of experiences, and individual tastes cannot be quantified. But the eight factors we have chosen give a good indication of the relative merits of different countries, based on important criteria to the older traveller.
The rating system is by necessity a little arbitrary – there is no one way of properly weighting the different factors. But the eight individual indices give a good indication of the strengths and weaknesses of each country, and act as a handy guide as to which of them offer a combination of ease of travel and desirability as a destination.
The winner is Japan. Rightly so, because it is a wonderful country and one of the best places on earth to visit. It is number one in two factors (age awareness and low level of crime), in the top ten in two others another (healthcare and ease of visiting). Japan also ranks well in most other areas. It once had a reputation of being expensive, but the report shows that for the traveler it is on a par with Europe and North America.
The Third Age Travel Map of the World
Most of the other countries rated in the top 20 are in Western Europe. They include the ‘Big Five’ of the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Also in the top 20 are some smaller Western European countries, the USA and Canada in North America, and New Zealand and Australia. Singapore also makes the cut. Like Japan, it is a first world country in Asia.
Countries ranked from 21 to 40 in the Third Age Travel Index are all easy countries to travel in. Four of them – Norway, Ireland, Hong Kong and Iceland – would have made the Top 20 if they weren’t so expensive. This group doesn’t have the big hitters of the Top 20, but there are still some wonderful places to visit and none of them are difficult. The other countries in this group are mostly in southern and eastern Europe.
So many countries, so little time
Countries in the third quintile, ranked from 41 to 60, are safe enough and easy enough, and many of them are fabulous destinations. But the lower rating indicates that some care needs to be taken. They may have higher crime rates, poorer health care, and lower quality infrastructure. But that is no reason not to go. More cautious travelers may prefer package tours to these countries, but they can all be easily handled by the independent traveller. Countries in this band include the popular destinations of China, Mexico, and Thailand.
The 61 to 80 group includes some wonderful countries, but none of them are easy. They can be dangerous, dirty and difficult. They can also be very rewarding. Major destinations in this group included India, Russia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
Then things start to get a little tricky. Countries ranked in the bottom 20 present some degree of difficulty for the Third Age Traveler. These countries include most of eastern and southern Africa, and Central America. Many of them are very worthwhile destinations, and they are usually inexpensive. But they can be difficult for the casual traveller and demand some level of confidence and understanding.
The index rates 100 countries. That leaves many that are unrated. This is usually because they are too poor, too small, or have insufficient data. Most are in Africa. None of them are major destinations for the Third Age Traveler, though we would have liked to have included Cuba, Botswana and Madagascar.
We are not aware that anybody has ever attempted a country rating of this nature. We believe it is a valuable contribution to helping an increasingly important group of travelers understand their world – and where they should go next.