No slowdown in overseas travel in 2024 as Australians chase new experiences and cultures

More Australians than ever are planning overseas holidays throughout 2024 despite the cost of living pressures, with new experiences, culture and value topping the list of what is determining destinations for their next vacation.

According to Travel Trends: Redefining Value through Experience in 2024, a new report by travel agency Skyscanner which combined their flight and hotel data with annual consumer behaviour, Australians aren’t planning on tightening the purse strings anytime soon when it comes to holidaying.

Jarrod Kris, Principal Commercial Manager at Skyscanner, said a great way to ensure that flights are cheap and travellers get the most out of their money is by mixing and matching airlines and airports.

“A lot of Aussies will generally look to just fly a return flight with the same carrier via the same airport,” he said.

“You can book one way with one carrier and book another way with another, or alternatively, add a stopover destination as well.”

75 per cent of Australians plan to travel more or the same amount in 2024 as compared to previous years, with cultural exploration the number one attraction for people jetting overseas.

Culture and experiences

35 per cent of Australians reported planning to spend more on travel next year, while Japan was the top destination on their radar.

Kris said while 2023 was more about freedom of travel, next year people will be trying to get out and explore different destinations, cultures and experiences.

“We’re starting to look at how these experiences can inspire a certain feeling or vibe,” he said.

“We’ve seen people ‘gig tripping,’ with Taylor Swift, with people desperate to see her live.”

More Australians reported being willing to travel for gigs or festivals. Photo: Getty

He said another factor that can influence travel plans is when a destination appears in pop culture.

“One of them you may have seen highlighted was with Emily In Paris, after it was aired in December 2022 we saw a 65 per cent increase in searches for flights from Australia to Paris,” he said.

“That desire to absorb themselves into a culture has definitely changed, where previously it didn’t exist because people were just happy to get out the door as soon as borders opened.”

The top ten destinations for Australian travellers, based on year-on-year increases in searches, are:

  1. Osaka, Japan
  2. Chengdu, China
  3. Sapporo, Japan
  4. Beijing, China
  5. Tokyo, Japan
  6. Krabi, Thailand
  7. Taipei, Taiwan
  8. New Caledonia
  9. Cebu, Philippines
  10. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Cities, and street food, topped the list of most-searched destinations. Photo: Skyscanner

The major factors driving choice in vacation destinations were weather, attractions and food while sampling local food, historical tours and shopping are the most popular activities.

Best value destinations

Kris said people looking for a bargain holiday should look close to home.

“In places like New Zealand, we are expecting a 35 per cent drop in airfares in the new year,” he said.

“Hopping across the pond would be a great way to explore something different in an affordable way as well.”

New Zealand's first six-star hotel has opened in Queenstown.

New Zealand will be a budget-friendly holiday for Australians in 2024. Photo: Getty

Flights to Samoa, Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan have also seen a significant drop in price over the past year, and Kris said people should be flexible with their holidays if they are looking to vacation on the cheap.

“We are seeing some of the best value throughout southeast Asia well, places like Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia, where you can get a five-star stay for as little as $150 a night,” he said.

“The launch of our savings generator tool helps people plan and find the cheapest days to travel, specifically across the school holiday period.”

Another changing trend, according to Kris, is more Australians than ever travelling to celebrate big milestones.

“A lot of people are booking birthday or anniversary getaways, and experiences resonate with them too,” he said.

“One that resonates with Aussies is a budget food exploration, really looking around for that best value.”

Topics: Travel
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