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Cost of living no hindrance to Aussie spring travel plans

·5-min read
A travelling family flies a kite on a beach.
When it comes to travel, Australians are keen on a change in scenery. (Source: Getty)

Despite ongoing inflation and rising fuel costs, Aussie travellers are booking their spring holidays en masse for a much needed change of scenery, food, weather and epic activities, according to the latest data and insights via Tripadvisor’s latest Seasonal Travel Index.

In what’s amounting to kicking the pandemic’s (manufactured?) fear factor under the rug and shuffle-dancing on its head, nearly three-quarters of Aussies (72 per cent) are keen to get on with life and will travel this spring despite the current cost-of-living thumb screws getting ever tighter, the Index indicates.

Of those travellers booking trips, 28 per cent said they would likely travel for shorter lengths of time and 32 per cent said they would likely travel somewhere closer to home than previously planned.

Using a combination of search and sentiment data to reveal what was on the minds of Australian travellers ahead of the spring travel season, and where they planned to go, other Index insights include:

  • Domestic travel still reigns supreme - nearly four-fifths (79 per cent) of Australians and two-thirds (60 per cent) of global travellers surveyed would opt for domestic travel this spring

  • Colombia (with a particularly colourful trippy salt mine ideal for Instagram happy-snappers) topped the list of trending spring hotspots for Aussies – who knew? And with select Indonesian locations, these destinations collectively were experiencing the biggest demand growth for Australians planning spring holidays

  • Australians were keen on a change in scenery - when it came to the most exciting components of a trip, the top five picks for Aussies were: scenery (60 per cent), food (50 per cent), people (47 people), activities (46 per cent), and weather (42 per cent)

A halite salt crystal in the shape of a heart is seen in the Nemocon salt mine in Colombia.
A halite salt crystal in the shape of a heart is seen in the Nemocon salt mine - a newly popular travel destination. (Source: Reuters)

It's getting hot in here

While perhaps not rocket science, the study showed Australians were over the cold and ready for some spring trips to the nearest spot of sunshine.

Despite inflation climbing to 6.1 per cent - its highest in 21 years - nearly three-quarters of Australian respondents said that they were planning a spring trip this year.

Interestingly, Aussies would still travel even with the cost-of-living crisis, but would do so just a bit differently.

The Tripadvisor Spring Travel Index showed spiralling costs wouldn’t put Australians off travelling, but three out of five of those booking trips (60 per cent) said inflation would impact the way in which they travelled.

Adjusted travel plans were just part of the deal now as the majority of Australians dealt with continued rising costs overall in life by altering their spending habits.

Despite the rises, however, the survey also showed a third (36 per cent) of Australians still intended to travel as planned this spring.

You only live once

After all the twists and turns and weird stuff we’ve been through these past two years, for many Aussies it seemed a holiday was way too precious to give up now and we’d rather cut back on expenses elsewhere to protect that all-important time away.

According to Tripadvisor, two in five (41 per cent) Australian respondents said they planned to travel more this spring than they did during the same period last year, while 48 per cent planned to spend more.

Tripadvisor site data showed the average value of a trip booked by Australian travellers this spring was 36 per cent higher than the same period in 2021.

Domestic reigns supreme

Domestic trips remained the number one choice among Australian travellers, with nearly four-fifths (79 per cent) of Australians and two-thirds (60 per cent) of global travellers surveyed opting for domestic travel this spring.

The top domestic destinations for the upcoming season, as revealed by Tripadvisor site data were:

1. Sydney, New South Wales

2. Melbourne, Victoria

3. Cairns, Queensland

4. Surfers Paradise, Queensland

5. Port Douglas, Queensland

6. Brisbane, Queensland

7. Darwin, Northern Territory

8. Perth, Western Australia

9. Hobart, Tasmania

10. Broadbeach, Queensland

A Qantas passenger plane on the tarmac at an airport.
The Index also highlighted a compelling trend: long-haul air travel is back.. (Source: Getty)

Long haul is back, baby!

The Index also highlighted a compelling trend: long-haul air travel was back.

Of those surveyed, 39 per cent of Australian travellers would travel more than seven hours, and more than half (55 per cent) planned to travel by plane.

Tripadvisor search data underscored travel around the September school holidays as the most popular time to get away.

Outside Australia – but where?

Apparently out of nowhere, Colombia smashed the 2022 trending spring hotspots for Aussies, the insightful Tripadvisor data revealed.

When looking at destinations experiencing the biggest year-on-year increase in searches on Tripadvisor by Aussies, Nemocón, Colombia topped the list. This was followed by Nusa Lembongan, the Indonesian island with clear blue waters perfect for surfing and drift diving.

So, what’s doing down in Columbia?

Nemocón, a small town on the outskirts of capital city Bogota, is home to the second-largest salt mine in Colombia - a highly 'Instagrammable' attraction.

Tripadvisor said visitors to the town could explore the salt mine 80 metres underground and marvel at the world’s biggest salt crystal, known as the ‘Colombian Heart’.

A group of people doing yoga in a shelter on a beach.
Of those booking trips, 28 per cent say they will likely travel for shorter lengths of time. (Source: Getty)

Closer to home, Bali, Indonesia, was one of the hottest destinations for Australians this spring - as per usual, pre-pandemic - represented by seven destinations in the Top 10, including Pecatu, Tanjung Benoa and Legian, ranking third, fourth and fifth-fastest-growing destinations, respectively.

Aside from Australians being keen on a change in scenery, food, people (who could blame them?), activities and the weather, more than half of respondents (56 per cent) said the purpose of their trip was to make memories with family and friends.

A quarter (25 per cent) had booked an on-trip activity ahead of their trip to help them do so.

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