The places we’ll go: 2015 Australian travel trends

Published January 27, 2016

Australians are a well-travelled bunch – the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports that in 2014, over 9 million Australians headed overseas. Members of the Rome2rio team are no exception, having recently been to Toblach and San Gimignano in Italy, Alpe d’Huez in France, Ronda in Spain, Kona in Hawaii, Key West in Florida, and Rosarito in Mexico.

When we’re not travelling, we’re often talking about travel, about places we’ve been and places we want to go. This passion and curiosity prompts us to ask questions about the world around us; questions like; where are Australians looking to travel? And when do they travel? To find the answers, we processed and aggregated a year of search records from Australian users of Rome2rio that searched for flights to destinations outside Australia.

Australian top travel locations

We found that across all Australian states, Northern America and Europe were the most popular destinations for travel planning during 2015. The United States lead with 17.2% closely followed by the United Kingdom at 13.2%.

Comparing our data (which records travel searches) to data published by the ABS (which records departures) for the same period, we found that destinations ranked differently. The top two countries by departures are New Zealand and Indonesia, which rank 9th and 12th respectively by number of searches. This ranking suggests that New Zealand and Indonesia are destinations that are already well-known and Australians are thus less likely to be searching for information on how to reach them.


We then took Australians’ top travel locations and broke them down by state. Locations such as the USA and the United Kingdom were still the most popular in almost every state. However, we found that once you look past those wildly popular destinations each state had a different set of favoured places. For example, 13% of searches from the Northern Territory were to Indonesia, while only 1.9% of searches from Australia as a whole were to Indonesia. The same is seen in South Australia, where 6% of searches from South Australia were to Spain, whereas the national average was 2.6%.


By then analysing when users searched for outbound and return flights (with dates) we were able to determine when they intended to travel during the year. We found that the Winter holidays and Christmas/New Year were by far the most popular times that Australians were planning to travel outside Australia while Easter was less popular in comparison. There were also notable spikes around Valentine’s Day and the week just before the Spring school holidays.

2016 is off and running and we are keen to see if there are any changes in this data this time next year. What do you think will be popular? Where are you planning to visit in 2016?

Source: Rome2rio logs of search requests made by users with Australian IP addresses from January to December 2015.

Written by
UI/UX Developer at Rome2rio
Rome2rio, based in Melbourne, Australia, is organising the world’s transport information. We offer a multi-modal, door-to-door travel search engine that returns itineraries for air, train, coach, ferry, mass transit and driving options to and from any location. Discover the possibilities at