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Long holidays not an option for most Australians

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015-June 2016, n=10,112. Base: Australians 14+ who took a holiday in last 12 months

Quick getaway or extended stay-away? The latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal that when it comes to the length of our holidays, shorter trips are overwhelmingly more popular with Australians than longer ones. Of the 13.8 million Aussies 14+ 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 15.0% 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.

Australian holiday-goers by length of last trip


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015-June 2016, n=10,112.

So who, 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.

Travellers whose last holiday was a month or more: 50+ years vs under-50 years


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015-June 2016. Base: Australians 14+ who took a holiday of a month or more in last 12 months. * NB: %s don’t equal 100% as there is some crossover between OS and domestic destinations, plus a small number of respondents who can’t say.

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+ 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%).

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“The fact that long holidays are more likely to be taken by older Australians is 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?

“Looking at the kinds of accommodation used by these holiday-goers on their long trips, it’s clear that they represent a potentially lucrative (if niche) market for hotels, resorts, holiday rental providers and cruise companies. But to reach this specific group, it is crucial for businesses to devise communications that will resonate with them. With the deep data contained in Roy Morgan’s Holiday Tracking Survey, it’s possible not only to identify these travellers but also to understand their demographics, attitudes, leisure activities and media consumption in detail – and therefore how best to target them.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%