Where do empty-nesters head to on holiday? We reveal the top spots, and you won’t believe where the empty nesters are choosing to visit!

It can be extremely confronting when grown-up “children” leave home – be it for uni, work or that joltingly “where-did-the-years-go?” decision to build a nest of their own.

But joining the ranks of empty-nesters can also be very liberating.

The door is suddenly flung open to explore new horizons free from concerns about managing the logistics of a family holiday or selecting destinations that keep the small fry entertained.

Even better, with a newly downsized home, empty-nesters are free to lock and leave and explore the world.

Over-55s are attracting plenty of industry interest

With their weight of numbers and a bank balance often beefed up from downsizing, empty nesters carry plenty of clout with specialist tour operators and accommodation providers.

Long story short, Australia’s over-55s have become an important demographic for the tourism industry, and their diverse range of travel cravings is being well catered to – anything from the so-called “grey nomads” hitting the road in a motorhome, to luxury destinations overseas.

Downsizers prefer to holiday at home

So where do empty-nesters wander when the wanderlust for travel kicks in?

Surprisingly, research[1] shows over-55s opt for domestic travel rather than heading overseas with 90% of empty-nesters preferring to vacation in Australia compared to 67% who want to jet-set globally.

And their ideal destinations may surprise you.

Research by Roy Morgan[2] found that for short breaks spanning just a couple of nights, over-55s are likely to skip well-trodden family-friendly coastal hot spots such as Surfers Paradise, and instead head to the outback.  In fact, empty-nesters are almost twice as likely to visit remote locations such as Lightning Ridge, Coober Pedy or Mt Isa as the average Aussie.

As Roy Morgan observes, over-55s are unconstrained by the demands of children – and often work, and they have time to explore destinations that others simply don’t get to.

Asia remains popular

When empty-nesters do head overseas, they’re likely to join other Australians at our overwhelmingly three favourite destinations[3] – New Zealand, Indonesia and the United States.

Locations across Asia notably Singapore, Thailand and Japan rank highly among Australian travellers, though more exotic locations such as Vietnam and Cambodia are becoming more popular thanks in part to new routes offered by low cost airlines like Scoot and Jetstar.

The freedom of downsizing

No matter whether your bucket list includes a weekend in Wollongong or a month exploring Paris, one of the beauties of downsizing a home is the freedom it provides to head off whenever you choose without concerns about who’ll mow the lawns or clean the pool. Indeed, a survey by Downsizing.com.au found almost one in two over-55s are looking for a home that allows more freedom to travel.

And as we mentioned earlier, downsizing has the potential to free up equity in a large suburban home, giving you the financial means to answer the call of the open road, explore new horizons and fulfil your travel dreams. 


Greg Oddy is Director of Sales and Marketing for Downsizing.com.au and Seniors Housing Online.

[1] https://www.destinationnsw.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Over-55s-travel-to-NSW-snapshot.pdf

[2] http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/5921-golden-oldies-blaze-tourist-trails-201411120126

[3] http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/products/961B6B53B87C130ACA2574030010BD05