With the nation’s international borders expected  to reopen from November, travel is high on the agenda for millions of Australians, reveals new research from Canstar, Australia’s biggest financial comparison site*, comparing more brands than any other.

A new Canstar survey of 1,094 Australians has revealed a whopping 69% (equivalent to 13.8 million people) intend to book a domestic or international holiday – or both – once borders fully reopen.

Australians aren’t planning to waste too much time before making travel plans, with 7% intending to book internationally and 10% domestically, as soon as borders reopen. Another 11% and 16% respectively, plan to book within six months.

A small number of Australians (6%) plan to book both an international and domestic holiday following border reopenings.

Steve Mickenbecker, Canstar’s finance expert, tells Dave , “Australians have endured over 18 months of fluctuating domestic and international border restrictions, and many have been forced to put their travel plans on hold or cancel them altogether during this time.”

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“With restrictions set to lift once 70-80% of the population is vaccinated, millions of Australians have itchy feet and are counting down the days until they can head-off on a long-awaited holiday or reunite with loved ones.

“Limited opportunities to spend during lockdowns means some Australians have squirrelled away a stockpile of savings, so we’ll likely see a wave of travel-related spending once domestic and international borders reopen.

“We’re already seeing a swathe of deals emerging to incentivise travel for fully vaccinated tourists including discounts on airfares, accommodation, and holiday packages, which should breathe some much-needed life back into the tourism industry.”

But not everyone has been bitten by the travel bug. Canstar’s research found that 31% of Australians have no intention of booking a trip once borders reopen.

Of those who aren’t planning a holiday in the near future, over a quarter (26%) can’t afford it, while 16% don’t have an interest in travel. Other reasons include the fear of catching COVID-19 while travelling (14%), other financial priorities (13%) and the potential for future border closures (13%).

“Throughout the pandemic, borders have often snapped shut with very little notice, leaving thousands of people in the lurch, so it’s understandable there’s some hesitancy around booking a trip for this reason,” said Mickenbecker.

“It will also be interesting to see how travel insurance will work in the coming months. Insurers are entering the uncharted waters of providing cover for those who can freely travel to other countries during a pandemic. There’s also the issue of whether an individual’s vaccine status will impact premium and availability.

“Through the COVID-19 pandemic, insurers have withdrawn international travel insurance from sale, amended policies to preclude or restrict COVID-related claims or relied on blanket pandemic exclusions. Most policies, even domestic ones, are likely to have changed from their pre-COVID form.

 “To avoid being stung on holidays, travellers should check their travel insurance policy before setting out to ensure it includes cover for COVID-19 and other pandemics, and whether this is for all of their related medical, cancellation and interruption of travel costs,” said Mickenbecker.

Where to find travel insurance that covers COVID-19

Travel insurers typically aren’t covering overseas medical costs related to COVID-19, because there is a ‘Do Not Travel’ warning in place, with New Zealand the one exception.

However, a spokesperson from the Insurance Council of Australia told Canstar that travel insurance would be available with some COVID-19-related cover to any countries who may have their ‘Do Not Travel’ warnings lifted in the coming months by the Australian Government.

Of the 45 travel insurance providers on Canstar’s database currently accepting new applications, 28 do not provide any cover for COVID-19 related claims. Canstar has published a list of travel insurers who offer some form of COVID-19 cover.

Survey findings

When Australia’s borders open, how soon will you book a holiday?

I will book an international holiday immediately

7%

I will book an international holiday within six months

11%

I will book an international holiday, but will wait six months or more

12%

I will book a domestic holiday immediately

10%

I will book a domestic holiday within six months

16%

I will book a domestic holiday, but will wait six months or more

8%

I will book both an international and domestic holiday immediately

1%

I will book both an international and domestic holiday within six months

2%

I will book both an international and domestic holiday, but will wait six months or more

3%

I will not book a holiday in the foreseeable future

31%

Total answering

1,094

Source: www.canstar.com.au. Survey of 1,094 Australians aged 18+. Commissioned by Canstar and conducted online via Qualtrics in September 2021. Results rounded to the nearest whole percentage point.

 

Why are you not planning to book a holiday?

I can’t afford to travel

26%

I do not want to travel (i.e not interested in travelling)

16%

I am nervous about getting COVID-19 while traveling

14%

I have other financial priorities where the money will be better spent

13%

I am nervous about traveling, given the potential for future border closures

13%

I am not able to travel because of medical or physical limitations

7%

I am not able to travel because of work, study, or family commitments

5%

Other

7%

Total answering

341

Source: www.canstar.com.au. Survey of 1,094 Australians aged 18+, 341 of whom do not plan to travel. Commissioned by Canstar and conducted online via Qualtrics in September 2021.  Results rounded to the nearest whole percentage poi