For many couples, it’s a dream come true: the kids have finally grown up and moved out. But instead of sitting in the empty nest, it’s time for mom and dad to fly the coop and reward all those years of parenting with a dream getaway. The travel experts at Cheapflights have interviewed some recent empty nesters to break down the top travel destinations for dream vacations once the kids leave home.
Haggerstone Island, Australia
Fresh lobster for lunch with a crisp white wine on the beachfront? Certainly madam. Would you or sir like to catch the lobster yourself? Haggerstone Island is the ultimate empty nester vacation with privacy, stunning views, beautiful accommodations, delicious fresh seafood and an exceptional wine list. Fly into Cairns in Tropical North Queensland before taking a smaller aircraft to the remote island. No phones, no Wi-Fi, no problem – the kids will never find you! You’ll just have personalized service and an untouched section of the Great Barrier Reef all to yourselves. This is living the dream.
Taormina, Sicily, Italy
As soon as you arrive in the hillside town of Taormina, you’ll feel the magical, mythical atmosphere that has enchanted visitors for generations. Surrounded by two spectacular bays, with the often-snowcapped Mount Etna as a backdrop, it’s the perfect place to hang out and live like a local. Learn the art of true Italian cooking, make friends with the town’s merchants, learn the language and enjoy life as only the Italians can. Bellissimo!
The best time to explore the Norwegian fjords is from May to September when the days are long, the scenery spectacular and the weather is warmer (around 60 F). Cruising along the fjords and stopping at beautiful towns with architecture dating back to the 1700s is a spectacular way to explore this seafaring country full of Viking history and incredible natural wonders.
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
With world-class accommodations, dining options, spas and shows, Las Vegas is the perfect place for empty nesters to celebrate their new freedom and perhaps win back some of that college tuition money at the blackjack table! Take in a performance of Cirque du Soleil, nosh on exceptional cuisine from award-winning chefs and explore the intoxicating combination of luxury and kitsch for which Vegas has become known. Or use this opportunity to revel in your new empty-nester status with margaritas by the pool followed by a night of adult fun on the Strip. (If anyone asks, it’s Vegas and you’re not obligated to divulge what happens there!) If the bright lights of Sin City aren’t quite your speed, consider a stay in nearby Henderson, where you can pair poolside relaxation with desert views.
Home to “Downton Abbey” and the post-wedding wind-down destination for George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin, Berkshire County is also the location of Windsor Castle and lots of brilliant 17th century architecture. For opulent accommodations fit for royalty, check out the historical Clivenden House complete with a Michelin-starred restaurant from Chef André Garrett. It’s hosted every British monarch since George I, so the staff is accustomed to providing the full royal treatment.
Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Set out on one of the most stunning road trips in the world, along the 144-mile Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper. Whether you choose to travel by car, bus, train, bike or foot, this trip of a lifetime takes you through incredible mountainous scenery, where you pass waterfalls (frozen in winter), blue lakes and rambling streams. And, with wildlife galore including grizzly bears, black bears, bighorn sheep, elk, eagles, moose, caribou, wolves and maybe even a cougar, there’s plenty to see along the way.
If you want to experience the magic of Arabia and the culture and tradition of the Middle East, head to Oman. Tourism experiences range from the red sands of the desert to the lush tropical interior to the ultimate contrast of ocean cruising. Ocean Blue Oman offers a variety of land and sea-based tours including traditional Omani cooking classes with locals in a seaside village.
When you visit Morocco, it’s hard to resist becoming totally immersed in the sights, sounds, smells and culture of this country of contrasts. There’s more to Morocco than the exciting hustle and bustle of Marrakesh. To the north, you’ll discover the “blue town” of Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountains with its colorful architecture of white-washed buildings with bright blue walls.
Cape Town, South Africa
With more time and a less jam-packed schedule, there is no reason not to pull out all the stops when it comes to planning a getaway. South Africa is a bucket-list destination for many – and with good reason. Indulge in freshly caught seafood, wine taste your way through the Cape Winelands, take in the breathtaking views from Table Mountain and immerse yourself in the local culture. With endless opportunities for recreation and relaxation, a South African getaway is such a memorable experience, you’ll (almost) wish you brought the whole family.
Natural beauty just oozes out of the Central American country of Nicaragua, known as “The Land of Lakes and Volcanos.” The two colonial cities of Granada and Leon, founded by the Spaniards in the early 1500s, are famous for their architecture, particularly the Baroque churches. While many accommodation options throughout Nicaragua are basic, the Mukul Beach Golf & Spa resort on the Emerald Coast offers a new level of luxury with a choice of four spectacular options ranging from suites to beach villas. The day spa is spread out over six individual spa locations with retreats like “The Healing Hut,” “The Secret Garden” and “The Crystal Temple” – each offering a specific menu specializing in unique ancient healing traditions.