Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Places We’ll Go: 2015 Australian Travel Trends


Top Australian Travel locations

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.


Time Flies? According To These Maps It Does

In late 2015 the Rome2rio team spotted a beautiful travel map on Intelligent Life. The map, which was published by venerable mapmaker John G. Bartholomew in 1914, illustrated how long it would take to travel from London to destinations across the globe.


1914 Isochronic map (credit: John G. Bartholomew)

We were excited to see such a fantastic visualisation of travel times and we were curious to see what had changed in the 100-odd years since; especially at such a world-changing juncture in travel technology. The first commercial flight took place on January 1st, 1914, so travel times started changing drastically soon after this date.

We created a new map using Rome2rio’s routing engine and unique repository of transport data. What we uncovered was fascinating.

2016 Isochronic map (credit: Rome2rio)

It is clear that travel times have improved immensely. Modern air, rail and road infrastructure has led to a ten-fold increase in travel times across the dark pink parts of the map.

Globalisation is also readily apparent. Journeys that would have taken 10 to 20 days by boat and train have been replaced by the speed of air travel, with most of the world now accessible within ½ to 1 day. This change is most apparent in Asia. In 1914 reaching Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo would take up to 40 days. Now, these powerhouses are a day’s travel from London.

Island destinations have benefited from the advances in technology as well.  Locations such as the Bahamas, Bermuda, Seychelles, Mauritius and Madagascar are all with ½ a day’s travel, suggesting demand for direct flights by holiday makers. For those who prefer colder locales, visiting the world’s coldest city, Yakutsk, is a breeze in comparison to the area surrounding it; from London, it takes ¾ of a day.

The 2016 map also showcases the dramatic increase in transport hubs across the US. Once you would arrive on the East Coast and trek out west by train. Now, direct flights will get you to San Diego, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Dallas, Houston and Denver.

However, the improvements have not been evenly distributed and some areas remain quite inaccessible. Greenland, Northern Canada, Siberia and the interiors of Africa, South America and Australia will still require some days of travel to reach.

If you still long for an extended trip then perhaps a trip to Buenos Aires is in order; the direct flight from London takes 15 hours – plenty of time to enjoy the in-flight entertainment.

– Kirsteene Phelan