The peak holiday season may have only just come to an end, but Aussies are already looking to book their next holiday with a surge in international booking searches.
Australia’s aviation industry faced a bumpy recovery from Covid-19 shutdowns, with staff shortages, long queues at airports, higher fares and axed routes.
However, despite the hiccups, demand for travel is still high with international flight searches in 2023 up by about six per cent, compared to the same period in 2019, according to Kayak.
“Many of us have just returned to work, but we’re not alone in already eyeing our next holiday,” Kayak brand director Nicola Carmichael said.
“For those searching for their next trip, destinations such as London, Paris, Ho Chi Minh City and Istanbul are the ones currently trending.”
London came in first place in the travel search engine’s top 10 trending destinations, followed by Paris and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
Istanbul, Turkey ranked fourth while Zagreb, Croatia nabbed fifth spot.
Data is based on international hotel and flight searches made on Kayak.com.au and associated brands between January 9 and January 15 this year, and for travel between January 1 and January 31 which have been compared to the same search and travel period in 2019.
Best month to fly
Kayak also revealed that October is the best time to fly internationally this year with an average price of $1,431 for a return economy flight, saving you around $247 (about 31 per cent) if you take off in that month.
“Travelling to the Northern Hemisphere in the shoulder season can be a real wallet-saver, with flight prices being lower compared to the peak months,” Ms Carmichael told news.com.au.
“Aussie travellers can score great deals on flights in October and hopefully some tail end summer weather on arrival — and there are more positives for off-peak season travel, for example, it may be easier to book a nice hotel room or enjoy the most popular sights with less other people around.
‘Prices can change quickly’
But Ms Carmichael said prices can change quickly, “so it pays off to invest time to compare different flight options”.
The average flight price to London is $2102, with searches having increased about 236 per cent, compared to 2019.
For Paris it is about $197 and to Ho hi Minh City and Istanbul it’s $939 and $2021, respectively.
More than 2.2 million people were forecast to pass through Sydney Airport during the Christmas peak this year, including 800,000 international passengers.
The chairman of Strategic Aviation Solutions said this increased capacity on flights would lead to cheaper seats over the coming months.
“It’s not doomed to fail, it’s nonsense,” Mr Hansford said.
“The biggest problem is you can’t get workers back … but we’ve bounced back as an economy from Covid much stronger than anybody thought we would.”
Meanwhile, accoridng to Kayak, domestic flight searches are down by about 22 per cent, indicating planning overseas travel could be a higher priority for Aussies this year.
Similarly, searches for flights to travel as a couple are also down by nearly a third (29 per cent, with group and solo travel on the rise by approximately 22 per cent and seven per cent respectively.
“Kayak recently polled Australians and found that around 81 per cent are feeling more empowered to travel ‘their way’ post-pandemic, meaning that they’re prioritising doing what they want to make their holiday perfect, and that’s likely why we’re seeing a rise in solo travel searches,” Ms Carmichael said.
Kayak revealed the most affordable month on average for hotel stays internationally is February, with an average price of $216 per night (around 44 per cent increase than the annual average).
Unsurprisingly, December is set to be an expensive month to stay in a hotel overseas this year.
“Hotel stays in Southeast Asian destinations like Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Kuta are typically under $200 on average per night,” the company revealed in a statement.
“Meanwhile, European overnight hotel stays in cities like London and Paris are $300-$400 on average per night.”