You’ve waved goodbye to the children and now the reality of an empty nest is starting to set in. You might shed a few tears at the prospect of an empty house, but it doesn’t have to be a sad reality just because you love your children.
With school back in session and the kids all grown up, focus on the fact that you’ve regained the opportunity to plan a much needed vacation for two or the freedom to simply take off at a moment’s notice. This new chapter in your life is the perfect time to start working your way through your bucket list of travel destinations. If you need help deciding where to go first, use our list below of five trips you absolutely need to take as an empty nester.
If touring museums seemed like the height of boredom to your children, then planning a trip to Washington, DC as an empty nester is a must. This city is home to a variety of educational museums, historic monuments and political buildings that are great for exploring sans kids. The Smithsonian Institution alone is comprised of 19 museums and galleries as well as a national zoo. You could spend an entire week touring museum’s in the nation’s capital and barely scratch the surface seeing the copious amount of art and endless exhibits on display. The best part about visiting these museums in Washington, DC is that the majority of them offer free admission, so you can splurge on a luxurious DC vacation rental in your preferred neighborhood.
Another way to celebrate your new status as an empty nester is to take a wine tour of Napa Valley. Engage in a 30-minute discussion about grapes with a local winemaker or sip on a variety of red and white wines at a tasting. Without kids in tow, it’s easy to lose track of time vineyard hopping throughout the area, or stay out late strolling around downtown Napa. Not to mention, you don’t need to worry about the drinking age as an empty nester. Indulge at upscale eateries with other foodies, shop the unique galleries or simply take in the stunning landscape in the comfort of a cozy Napa Valley vacation rental.
Make the most of traveling without kids by booking a getaway to the other side of the world. Plan a trip to a place like Bali for a romantic and relaxing vacation kid-free. Upgrade to first class seats for the long flight to enjoy ultimate comfort in the air. Since you don’t have the added cost of paying for kids on this vacation it’s easier to justify splurging on first class airfare or an over-the-water bungalow that ticks all the boxes on your bucket list vacation. During the day, schedule a couples massage on the beach and be lulled by the rhythmic crashing of the waves. In the evening, treat yourself to a cooking class to learn about and indulge in authentic Balinese cuisine.
If you’re really excited that the kids have flown the coop, head to Las Vegas to truly get the most out of your new empty nester status. Las Vegas offers endless amounts of around-the-clock fun, incredible entertainment and unbelievable food at almost every turn. Stay out as late as you want without having to worry about children wreaking havoc at home. If you enjoy gambling, test your luck at one of the premier casinos in the city, such as the Bellagio or the Venetian. If that’s not your speed, take in all of the sights along The Strip or catch a Cirque du Soleil performance. With year-round warm weather and lots of different attractions, it’s a great destination no matter what your interests are.
There is a very real possibility that you won’t be bothered by any children – let alone your own – while on vacation in St. Lucia. Vacation spots like the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas tend to be more popular with young travelers looking for an affordable beach getaway, so look to Gros Islet to avoid such crowds. This dreamy tropical island offers a romantic retreat for couples looking to rekindle their romance. Sunbathe on the shores of the Caribbean Sea or explore the mountainous landscape that makes up much of this breathtaking vacation destination. This serene location will quickly take your mind off your empty nest.