Australia Travel Trends Report 2018

  • Lisbon and Da Nang predicted as emerging destinations for 2019 
  • 9 in 10 of Aussies surveyed travelled overseas in 2018, with ‘exploration’ as the key motivator for travel
  • Bali and Melbourne remain as the top holiday favourites 
  • Premium economy flights on the rise, with a 30% increase in bookings this year

29 NOVEMBER 2018  – As the year draws to a close, Skyscanner, has today released its ‘Australia Travel Trends 2018’ Report. The report explores the top and rising destinations to watch out for in 2019, airfare trends and motivators that have driven Australians to book holidays over the year.


Emerging destinations: Sights to see before everyone else does

For those seeking for a new adventure in 2019, here are the destinations to watch in the upcoming year with the biggest rise in bookings the past year.  While these are destinations to look out for, don’t just watch – make sure to visit before everyone else does. 

Top 10 Emerging DestinationsYoY Growth In Search SharesChange In Rank (2017 VS 2018)
Lisbon (Portugal) 37% 16
Da Nang (Vietnam) 23% 9
Kiev (Ukraine) 129% 62
Nice (France) 33% 19
Thessaloniki (Greece) 69% 43
St Petersburg (Russia) 49% 31
Nha Trang (Vietnam) 33% 25
Palawan  (Philippines) 32% 21
Porto (Portugal) 31% 24
Medellin (Colombia) 23% 16

These destinations, including Lisbon, Da Nang and Kiev, are deeply ingrained in culture, history and experiences, a reflection of the holidays that Aussie travellers seek.

There are plenty of reasons why these destinations are enticing holidaymakers, with Porto pulling in visitors for its colourful medieval merchant’s houses and port wine, and Thessaloniki for its affordability and expansive sea views. With its paradisiacal beaches and booming nightlife, Da Nang offers a fitting option for those looking for an alternative to Bali in 2019.  Want to know why you should be adding these destinations to your bucket list? Read on here.

Top destinations and airfare trends

Skyscanner has crunched its data from the last year to reveal the top destinations for overseas travel. Unsurprisingly, Bali, renowned for its exotic culture, and London, popular for its massive attractions, remain favourites taking out the top search rankings respectively, followed closely by Auckland and Bangkok.

For those embarking to Bali and London, year-on-year price drops were welcome news, meaning slightly more savings for these lucky travellers. This could be attributed to an increase in flight routes, or flash sales by budget airlines like Jetstar. Although a popular destination, those travelling to Bangkok did need to open their wallets a little bit more to fund their trip, as average airfare shot up by 12% in 2018.

 Rank Destination Average return airfare* (AUD) Average YoY price difference
1 Bali $376 −3.1%
2 London $964 −1.2%
3 Auckland $341 +3.4%
4 Bangkok $582 +12.3%
5 Tokyo $649 +9.5%
6 Singapore $442 +9.7%
7 Manila $534 −3.8%
8 New Delhi $678 +0.2%
9 Los Angeles $813 +0.8%
10 Phuket $481 +10.1%

*Airfare shown are average economy fares from Australia to destination for 1 adult in 2018. 

When it comes to interstate travel, Melbourne, famous for its foodie and culture scenes, remains as the number one destination year-on-year, followed by Sydney and Brisbane.

Over the course of this year, we’ve seen that there will always be destinations that remain strong favourites among Aussie travellers, such as Bali and London.

However, we’re also seeing that Aussies are increasingly becoming more ‘culture vultures’ as they seek to fuel their desire for unique experiences across the world. Particularly, from the list of emerging destinations we expect to see more travellers exploring unique destinations that shy away from the typical holiday favourites.

Michael Grierson, Travel Expert at Skyscanner Australia

Up, up and away: How often are Aussies travelling

Skyscanner’s report found that travel was high on the agenda for Aussies this year, with a massive 96% surveyed having travelled either domestically or overseas. Out of which, a huge 87% jet set internationally at least once in 2018. Domestic travel was also popular throughout the year with more than three quarters (81%) eager to explore their homeland.

Amongst those surveyed, one in three (34%) embarked on up to four trips domestically this year. 

Exploration and relaxation: Motivations behind travelling

While there are many factors that fuel the travel bug, Aussies are most motivated to travel by the appeal of exploring new destinations (68%). Rest and relaxation (54%) was the next most cited drivers for travel, followed by the desire to enjoy authentic experiences (40%) through travelling. This is true testament to the laid-back and adventurous nature that Australians are known for.

With inspiration all around them, holidaymakers have revealed that ‘word of mouth’ (73%) played a major role when deciding on their next destination, suggesting that Aussies are more inclined to trust the experiences of those around them in order to make an informed decision about their next holiday. The power of social media also plays its role with more than 1 in 3 (34%) admitting they gain their trip inspiration from social media.For a handful (5%), social media is such a strong influence in their lives travel for “bragging” reasons as well.

Solo sightseeing or passport pals

Travel experiences are preferably shared with loved ones, as most Aussies travelled with their partner (48%) or family (40%). However, solo travel remained a common choice with close to two-fifths (39%) of independent travellers choosing to explore the world on their own this year.

With many enjoying the perks of solo travel, those aged 18 – 29 were the most likely to do so, with nearly 2 in 5 (38%) within the age bracket travelling by themselves this past year. But it’s not just the young ones enjoying their independence – close to 1 in 5 (19%) of those aged 60+ travelled by themselves, showing how adventurous they are through their golden years.

A taste of the high life

A comparison across other countries in the Asia Pacific region revealed that Australia registered the strongest growth in Premium Economy and Business Class flight search.

This rise in searches could potentially be a result of Premium Economy and Business Class flights becoming more affordable over the past year.

With better flight affordability in terms of destination and cabin class, Aussies are able to enjoy their holidays, but with more exposure to opportunities to splash out a little and travel in style.

Grierson continued. 

For more information on Skyscanner’s ‘Australia Travel Trends 2018’ Report, please see here.