Survey Reveals With The Kids Away, Empty Nesters Will Travel

BY Courtney Huckabay

With back-​to-​school season in full swing, many parents with college-​age children are facing an empty nest for the first time. A British Airways survey reveals with the kids away, parents will play. The wanderlust of empty nesters sparks a desire to travel.

According to new survey results from British Airways, 40 percent of recent empty nesters are taking their minds off their quiet homes and approaching this new phase by planning a much needed vacation, otherwise known as an “emptynestcation.”

According to the survey of 1,000 U.S. parents whose children are no longer living at home, travel habits change once kids leave the nest.

These travelers are looking for help planning their getaways! According to the AudienceSCAN study, 5.4% of U.S. adults expect to pay for travel-​planning services in the next 12 months.

Interesting trends include:

  • More travel, further afield: More than 40 percent want to try new destinations they may not have considered with children.
  • Dip into savings without guilt: Almost 40 percent of empty nesters would consider dipping into the money they set aside for their children’s inheritance to take a vacation.
    While millennials have a bad reputation for being the “me” generation, in this case the majority of 1,000 college respondents surveyed separately – 63 percent – said they would not mind their parents spending some of their inheritance on a vacation.
  • Gender divide: When it comes to activities empty nesters are looking forward to, men choose planning a vacation (47 percent) and having more sex (43 percent), while women are excited for picking up a new hobby (42 percent), redecorating the house (38 percent) and of course, vacation (36 percent).

According to psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, columnist and bestselling author Dr. Gail Saltz, M.D. “Today’s empty nesters have been parents that firmly put their kids first, more so than previous generations. As a result, many have denied themselves activities they may have liked because of lack of time and money. While recent empty nesters may have forgone romantic trips and site seeing in the past, now it’s something they can do guilt free and enjoy.”

AudienceSCAN research shows 44.3% of Travel Planning Clients have no children living at home.

Dr. Saltz also noted, “Every individual reacts differently when faced with an empty nest for the first time depending on a number of personal factors. For some parents, this can be a difficult transitional period that results in feelings of sadness, while others feel energized by their newfound free time. In either case, an ‘emptynestcation’ can be a positive step toward adjusting, allowing empty nesters to focus their energy and creativity on planning a fulfilling vacation to commemorate the next chapter in their lives.”

Deals should be effective in reaching this audience of Travel Planning Clients. According to AudienceSCAN data, 65.2% of them took action after seeing daily deals (like Groupon or LivingSocial) in the past year.

Additional survey results:

  • 46 percent of empty nesters experience some level of depression about their new circumstances and 42 percent feel excited about the next phase. More women reported feeling sad or depressed, while more men were optimistic.
  • 34 percent of empty nesters said they could not take vacations when their kids were at home due to school schedules and extracurricular activities.
  • 43 percent said they are willing to take the kids on some vacations in the future, but they will make time for personal vacations, too.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.