Empty Nester Travel: When to Go, Where to Go, and What to Take

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell
travel look for woman over 50 standing next to luggage wearing a yellow sunny days sweater and white pants with yellow shoes

Did you know that when new empty nesters are asked what they most look forward to about life in the empty nest, travel is the top answer? It’s no wonder, with no school schedules to tie you down, greater flexibility, and more disposable income, opportunities for empty nester travel abound! Bob and I love to travel!

Today, I’m sharing lots of information about empty nester travel! From when and where to go to what to take with you, it’s all here!

As always, click the pink text links or any image for more information. Also, everything fits TTS, unless I tell you otherwise! 😊 

Sunny Days Sweater | No-Stain White Girlfriend Ankle Jeans | Izzy Cinched Nappa Espadrilles | Travel Tote (Design your own HERE) | Personalized Tag | Briggs & Riley Carry-on luggage

8 Great Things About Empty Nesting

Download This Exclusive Content!

Already subscribed?
Enter your email—you won’t be subscribed twice!

When to Go

One big advantage for empty nesters is the flexibility and freedom to travel during “off-peak” times. If your dates are flexible, you’re in an even better position to save money!

woman over 50 wearing black amazon jumpsuit and black sneakers standing by luggage

Amazon Black Knit Jumpsuit | Similar Black Platform Sneakers | Pearl Initial Pendant Necklace | Abbie Strand Necklace | Black & Gold Drop Earrings | Travel Tote | Custom Computer Case | UV Sanitizing Water Bottle | Briggs & Riley Luggage

Shoulder Season

Shoulder season is the travel period between the peak (or high) season in an area and the off (or low) season. In many places, summer is peak season, and winter is off-season, making spring and autumn “shoulder” seasons. That translates roughly to March–April (early May in some places) and late August or September–October (early November in some places). 

Bob and I have taken advantage of traveling to places like Florida and the Caribbean during “shoulder” season many times, and it always translates into big savings, great weather, and fewer crowds. One of our favorite spots is the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes. It has a fabulous golf course, and guests have full access to the amenities, pools, and lazy river at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes next door. We must’ve floated around that lazy river 100 times! (I will literally go ANYWHERE that has a lazy river!😂)


Another advantage of empty nester travel is the ability to pick up and go quickly, allowing you to take advantage of last-minute deals. There are lots of last-minute deals out there! Check these spots:

Bundle Deals

Sometimes bundle deals (packages that include both a hotel room and a flight) can offer amazing last-minute travel bargains. That’s because of wholesaling, in which large blocks of hotel rooms are purchased or reserved by a company that tries to resell them to you at a profit. If they buy too many, they may start slashing rates at the last minute. Check the package options on these websites:

Where are Empty Nesters Going Right Now?

Americans who were stuck in the country for nearly two years spread their wings this year! Travel within the US and to Mexico was down this summer, and some airlines slashed prices. In fact, US round-trip fares were down 11% compared to 2022 and 2019, according to Hopper.com. Alaska Airlines slashed fares, while Southwest, Spirit, and Frontier all held promotions this summer— typically a sign of financial struggles within the airline industry.

In the meantime, globally-operating carriers like American Airlines, Delta, and United have kept prices high after exceeding the summer traffic they expected. International airfare averaged $962, up 10% from last year and 26% from 2019, per Hopper. Even Mastercard said that spending linked to overseas travel was at 154% of pre-pandemic levels.

travel look for woman over 50 standing by the open trunk of the car wearing navy and white gingham sweatshirt and white crop jeans with navy sneakers standing by luggage

Navy & White Gingham Sweatshirt | So-slimming, No-Stain Girlfriend Style White Jeans (My faves for travel!) | Machine Washable Navy Sneakers | Custom Tote Bag (Design your own HERE!) | Custom Laptop Case (Design your own HERE) | Briggs & Riley Luggage | Tory Burch Logo Earrings

Europe is HOT (in More Ways Than One!)

Were you one of the empty nesters who traveled abroad this year? Despite the record-breaking temperatures this summer, lots of Americans went to Europe. According to Allianz, the number of Americans traveling to Europe this year was 55% more than last summer, with London, Paris, Dublin, and Rome as the top destinations.

The Pacific Popped Off Too!

Pacific countries, including China and Japan, also saw a resurgence of tourism this summer. American Airlines reported that passenger revenue for trans-Pacific routes more than tripled in the first half of the year.

Oh, Canada!

Uncover Canada’s Beauty right now for less! From urban adventures to outdoor wonders, you can save on stays of 5 nights or more at Marriott Properties across Canada. Use the promo code LTS for most brands, and for Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, and Element Hotels, use the promo code REG. This deal ends 12/31/23.

What Does That Mean For Empty Nester Travel?

All of the post-Covid international travel has left America and Mexico feeling a little quieter than normal so far this year! In fact, theme parks, including Disney World, Universal, Six Flags, and SeaWorld, have reported lower-than-usual attendance rates. Top Mexico destinations Cancun and neighboring Riviera Maya, which saw a surge in 2021 and 2022, saw far fewer tourists this year.

Where to Go

As you can probably imagine, this means that you can find great deals for many destinations in the US and Mexico right now. Also, it’s shoulder season for both of those, meaning it’s a great time to go!

Still not sure? Feeling like you need more guidance? Consult a travel advisor! We usually use my long-time friend and fellow empty nester Shannon Leyerle of Vacations by Shannon. She’s helped us with everything from a multi-generational Walt Disney World trip to helping our son and new daughter-in-law plan their honeymoon to the luxurious Blackberry Farm in Tennessee.

Woman over 50 wearing black maxi dress with coral cardigan and purse standing by suitcase and travel totes standing on driveway

Black Maxi Dress | Similar Cardigan | Handbag | Similar Pink Sandals | Travel Tote | Custom Laptop Case | Carry-on Suitcase

What to Take

It’s great to make empty nester travel plans, but once you have them, you need to make sure you’re prepared with the right luggage and travel essentials!

Best Luggage for Empty Nesters

One of the first things that Bob and I did when we became empty nesters was to upgrade our luggage! We wanted brands that would last and accommodate all of the empty nester travel we planned to do! So we started researching brands. (I’m big on doing my research!) We settled on Briggs & Riley luggage. The brand offers a lifetime guarantee, which we’ve actually claimed on twice! Both times, our mishaps were completely the airline’s fault, not the fault of our durable luggage! We have been so happy with it!

My Travel Essentials

A little over a year ago, I wrote an entire blog post about my travel essentials. Most of them come from Amazon!

This collage is clickable for more information on anything you see! For the full scoop on my travel essentials, click HERE.

Do you use packing cubes? I used to think they were just one more gimmick, but after hearing so many people raving about the organization Calpack Packing Cubes brought to their packing, I decided to try them! Figuring Amazon must have a similar set that was just about as good, I stumbled on these. (They’re 20% off right now, with an additional 15% off coupon too!) I snagged them in pink (but, of course! 😊) and grabbed a set in navy blue for Bob. When we go, I organize my clothes into categories like undergarments, workout clothes, pajamas, etc. It makes things so easy when we arrive at our destination!

Other key travel must-haves include:

  • Packable Backpack – Ours have been all over the world with us!
  • White Noise Sound Machine – Really helps in noisy hotels!
  • Portable Phone Charger – I like how this one attaches securely to the bottom of my phone, and I can keep using it normally.
  • Hanging Toiletry Bag – I hang this on the hook on the back of the bathroom door in hotels or sometimes right in the closet.
  • This Packing List has saved me from forgetting something important more than once!
  • Jewelry Case – This one is usually big enough for my trips. When we go on a long, big trip, like a 10-day cruise in Europe, I take THIS one.
  • Portable Hangers – I like to hang my clothes in the closet when we travel, rather than leave them in my suitcase or a drawer. (Hello, wrinkles!😝) There never seem to be enough hangers for me, so I always stick THESE in my suitcase to take along. They’re so brightly colored that they’re hard to forget when it comes time to pack up and head home.

I put a list together on the Empty Nest Blessed Amazon page with all of my Travel Must-Haves in one convenient place! You can check it out HERE.

When I speak to groups of soon-to-be OR new empty nesters, one of the first things I always tell them is to plan a trip about a month after they drop off their last child at college. It doesn’t have to be a big trip, but it helps to have something to plan and look forward to at a time that otherwise can feel emotionally overwhelming. It also helps to remind new empty nesters that there really are some great things about life in the empty nest.

Do you have some fun travel plans coming up? I’d love to hear about them! Leave me a comment and let me know where you’re going next, okay?

If you enjoyed this post, you may have a friend that would enjoy it too! Would you consider sharing it with others? Tap the icons at the bottom of the page where you see “Share This Post.” You can also Pin the image below on your Pinterest page! Be sure you’re following me on Pinterest too!

Picture of woman over 50 sitting on a suitcase wearing a yellow sweater with sunny days written on it and white jeans with yellow espadrille shoes with title empty nester travel where to go, what to take, what can help
Thank you for sharing my content!
custom signature for suzy of empty nest blessed.smallversion

Similar Posts


  1. Thanks so much for the shout-out, Suzy! I LOVE my Empty Nest Blessed clients – I’ve sent them all over the world! Great post – right on point! One more thing I’ve noticed since the pandemic, is travel protection. Almost all my clients like the peace of mind that comes with knowing their investment in the trip and their actual travel is protected.

Comments are closed.