Quick getaway or extended stay-away? The latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal that when it comes to the length of holidays, shorter trips are overwhelmingly more popular with Australians than longer ones.
Of the 13.8 million Aussies aged 14 and over who took at least one holiday in the past year, more than 45% were away for just three or less nights on their last trip. At the opposite end of the spectrum, 4.1% took off for a month or more.
Holidays of between four and seven nights accounted for 15% of travellers, while 12.9% were away for between eight and 14 nights. From there, numbers drop dramatically, with just 4.7% taking a holiday of 15-21 nights and 3.3% enjoying a longer trip of 22-30 nights.
Overall, the average length of a holiday taken by Aussies in the 12 months to June 2016 was 8.5 nights.
So who, Roy Morgan asks, in this over-committed, time-pressed day and age of ours, has the luxury of escaping on holiday for a month or more? Certainly not mid-life families, young singles and young parents, all of whom are well below average for taking long holidays…but if you guessed older, retired and/or empty-nester Australians, you’re on the right track.
Breaking down Australia’s holiday-goers into those aged 50 or older and those aged under-50, we find that 5.3% of the former group were away for a month or more on their last holiday, compared with 3.3% of the latter.
In both cases, a considerable majority – 63.8% of people aged 50+ whose last trip was a month or longer, and 79.1% of their under-50 counterparts– headed overseas. The fact that fewer than four in every 10 of the older group spent their last trip in Australia may come as a surprise, given the ubiquity of the Grey Nomad stereotype, but it is worth noting that 15.6% of the 50+ travellers stayed in a caravan at some point during their last holiday (vs 0.2% of under-50s), indicating that a nomadic approach to travel definitely appeals more to this group than the younger holiday-goers.
When it comes to other forms of accommodation used on extended holidays, friends’/ relatives’ homes come out on top, ahead of standard hotels/motels in second place, for both age groups.
Four-star hotels/resorts and rented properties also rate highly as accommodation choices for extended holidays, featuring in the top five for both groups. But whereas 22.3% of travellers aged 50 and over stayed aboard a cruise ship for at least some of their trip (making it the fifth-most popular type of lodging among this demographic), youth hostels were in fifth spot for their younger counterparts (15.4%).
Commenting on the trend, Roy Morgan Research’s industry communications director, Norman Morris, agreed that the fact that long holidays were more likely to be taken by older Australians came as no surprise.
“Whether they’re retired, using up well-deserved long-service leave, or simply no longer limited by parenting responsibilities, this group has a level of freedom that people raising families do not have. So why not make the most of it?
“Contrary to popular cliché, older Australians who take holidays of a month or longer are less likely to hit the road in their caravan and do the Grey Nomad thing, and more likely to head overseas. Which makes particular sense for the long-haul destinations: why not make the most of them once you’re there, after all?”
Edited by William Sykes