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No kidding: parents of infants more likely than those of older children to take overseas holidays

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January-December 2015 (n=15,367).

In 2015, more than 2.7 million Australians 14+ (or 13.9% of the population) reported travelling overseas on their last holiday. Just over 19% of those overseas travellers were parents of kids under 16, with parents of infants aged 0-2 years being the most likely to take to the skies, according to the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research.

As anyone who’s flown with, or in close proximity to, infants would know, it can be challenging, to say the least. But 11.6% of parents with kids aged 0-2 years flew overseas on their last trip, a higher proportion than parents of 12-15 year-olds (10.3%), 9-11 year-olds (9.7%), 3-5 year-olds (9.3%) and 6-8 year-olds (8.9%).

Who dares flies: overseas holidays with kids


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January-December 2015 (n=15,367).

So why do parents of infants put themselves through the frequently stressful experience of taking their tots on an overseas flight? Presumably, the special infants’ fares (generally around 10% the price of an adult ticket) offered by many airlines would be a strong incentive, as would the desire to keep their young children with them. 

But there’s a bit more to it than that. Comparing Australian-born and overseas-born parents of children under 16, it emerges that not only are the latter group twice as likely as the former to have left the country on their last trip, but when it comes to those with kids aged 0-2, the gap widens even further.

Flying high: Australian-born vs overseas-born parents who went overseas on last trip

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January-December 2015 (n=15,367).

While 5.3% of Australian-born parents of infants went overseas on their last holiday, almost one-quarter (23.5%) of their overseas-born counterparts did. This pattern can also be seen among parents with children of different ages, as the chart above shows.

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

“Flying overseas with young children is not for the faint-hearted, and infants aged under two years can be especially challenging. However, the discounted rates offered by most international airlines for infants who sit on their parent’s (or accompanying adult’s) lap are extremely good value, and it’s not surprising that this group is more likely than parents of older children to go overseas on holiday. While we cannot assume that every parent of infants takes their little ones with them when they go on an overseas holiday (they might, for instance, leave the kids with their grandparents), it is likely that the majority do (simply because 0-2 is very young to be separated from one’s parents for any length of time).

“When country of birth is taken into consideration, we find that overseas-born parents of children under 16 are much more likely than Aussie-born parents to have travelled overseas on their last holiday — particularly when their kids are under two. With the special infant rate for flights, and the prospect of seeing family and friends back in their country of birth, it makes perfect sense for these parents to fly back with their tots and ‘show them off’ to their loved ones!

“Of course, this is just a high-level example of how the in-depth, holistic data contained within Roy Morgan’s Holiday Tracker is invaluable for airlines and other tourism- and travel-industry players wishing to tailor their marketing strategy to the right audience. Delving deeper into country of birth, number and gender of children, media consumption and attitudinal data can all contribute to an even clearer picture of holidaying parents, ensuring businesses hit the bull’s eye every time.”

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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%