Aussie travelers holiday at home this winter |

Money talks. Vacation bookings show backyard trips more popular than jetting abroad

Australians are lining up for domestic vacations in hot spots like Surfers Paradise this winter.

Back in the dark days pre-Google — when faxes were cutting-edge, actual physical tickets arrived by registered mail and travel agents were mysterious practitioners of black arts — we generally had little to no idea what it was they did to get us on that plane, boat or coach trip.

In 2012, thankfully, things are a lot different for would-be vacationers — we have choices, the ability to compare prices at the click of a mouse and some agencies even share with the world the trends and indicators they can divine from the resulting customer booking patterns.

The latest such data come from, which has been rooting around in its records to see what Australian travelers are up to and where they’re heading in the next few months.

Most, it seems, are forgoing the charms of overseas destinations and choosing instead to vacation at home this season.

Hotel bookings for June to August show sojourns in country lead the pack, being far more popular than trips abroad — New Zealand, Indonesia and Thailand come behind Australia in second, third and fourth places, respectively.

Domestic diversity

Drilling deeper into the domestic data, of those bookings the usual suspects dominate the popularity chart.

The five most popular stopovers in Australia are Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Darwin.

The appearance on the list of sunnier spots like Gold Coast underlines the variety of domestic destinations on offer.

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“Australia really does offer a taste of whatever holiday you’re after during the cooler months,” said lastminute’s Kirsty Harrison.

“If you’re a ski bunny, there are plenty of snow regions with great accommodation and nightlife options to choose from. If you’re a sunshine seeker, it’s the perfect time of year to tick Darwin or Tropical North Queensland off your must-visit list.”

Overseas winners

Among those Aussies defying the trend and looking further afield, several beach destinations appear to be booming.

For trips in those same months of June and August, hotel bookings for Koh Samui are up 138 percent on last year, those for Fiji up 87 percent and Phuket’s up by 61 percent.

Looking at flight-only bookings for overseas, London and its imminent Olympics top the chart thanks to an increase of 96 percent on last year’s reservations.

Other cities in the top 10 for want-away Aussies include Auckland, Paris, Los Angeles and Dublin.

Aussie travelers holiday at home this winter |