Where Aussies want to travel first once international borders open

·Features and Health Editor
·6-min read

After the announcement by Scott Morrison last week that Australia would finally be opening its international borders, it didn't take long for Aussies to start getting excited about getting on a plane again to head overseas in the coming months.

International borders were first closed in March 2020, with Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families needing to apply for an exemption to travel to and from Australia.

travelling overseas
Australia is preparing to opening international borders again! Photo: Getty

But now Aussies in some states have been given the green light to travel internationally from November, corresponding with when we're expected to hit the 80 per cent vaccination target.

As a result of the news Expedia has already seen search results for international destinations on their platform grow 50 per cent in the first few weeks of September*, compared to the previous month.


Eacham Curry, Director, Government and Corporate Affairs for ANZ, Expedia Group said: "We're delighted to see the strong appetite, eagerness and trust among our travellers to travel again.

"We commend the government for taking this positive step forward, and together, the industry will be prepared to help our travellers navigate through this phase."

Tourist planing - travel plan, trip vacation, tourism mockup, outfit of traveler.
Where will you go first? Photo: Getty

If you've been hanging out to visit family overseas you'll probably already know where your first stop will be, but if you are still wondering where to book that first glorious overseas trip - theres are the destinations Aussies are most excited about.

Top Searched International Destinations (For travel in Dec-Feb)

1. Bali

No surprise that one of Australia's favourite destinations Bali is already at the top of the list. Indonesia announced this week it will reopen the airport in Bali on October 14, after closing it for more than a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bali’s Kelingking Beach should be on your hit list as it was rated one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with more photos taken on its shores than any other beach. In June, Money.co.uk analysed over 26 million Instagram hashtags, with 4,227 Instagram photos per metre taken at Kelingking. It’s no surprise that this is a popular photo location when you consider the famous cliffs in the shape of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, plus the stunning backdrop of the bright blue sea and the added greenery from the tropical plants.

Tourist couple at Kelingking beach (known also as T-Rex beach), Nusa Penida, Bali, Indonesia
Bali’s Kelingking Beach was rated as one of the most beautiful in the world. Photo: Getty

2. London

Qantas announced London would be one of the first popular travel destinations that will be available to Aussies once the international travel ban is lifted for good in November.

After Morrison’s announcement the Flying Kangaroo brought forward the date of flights to London and Los Angeles to 14 November.

There will be plenty of new hotels to try for your stay including Kingsland Locke, Pan Pacific London, The Londoner, Hutton Brickyards and many more that opened their doors throughout 2021.

London is calling. Photo: Getty

3. Oahu

Known as 'The Gathering Place', Oahu is the third largest Hawaiian island but is home to the largest population of people as well as the best nightlife in Hawaii and of course the iconic Waikiki beach.

With Qantas announcing flights to the US (Los Angeles) will commence next month as well, we won't be far off being able to enjoy the sand, hotels and restaurants on the famous tropical island.

Honolulu hawaii resort waikiki beach in afternoon sun.
Oahu is home to the famous Waikiki beach. Photo: Getty

4. Orlando

Theme park lovers and families are likely behind Orlando, Florida cracking into the top five most popular overseas destinations.

Orlando is of course home to more than a dozen theme parks, chief among them is Walt Disney World, comprised of parks like the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, as well as water parks.

Another major destination, Universal Orlando, offers Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter straddling both.

disney world
We're defintely ready for a trip to Disney World! Photo: Getty

5. Tokyo

2021 was a landmark year for Japan, as Tokyo played host the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, so it's no surprise the country is one of the top travel destinations.

Japan is a land of temples and shrines, inspiring landscapes, healthy food and the time-honoured tradition of onsen. For those desperate to travel, Japan offers the perfect balance of adventure, freedom, solitude, and intrigue.

Elevated view of famous Shibuya pedestrian crossing, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo played host to the 2020 (2021) Olympics and Paralympics. Photo: Getty

Rounding out the top 10 most popular destinations are:

  • Phuket

  • New York

  • Paris

  • Auckland

  • Los Angeles

As Aussies plan their overseas getaways, they must keep in mind that gone are the days where travellers have the freedom to book a flight and leave the next day with such flexibility.

The future of travel planning has changed and to help, here are some top tips from the experts at Expedia to keep in mind when planning or booking international travel.

  1. Do the research: Stay up to date with the latest travel and health advisories and check what destinations are eligible for Australians to travel to, along with what entry requirements may be needed for those destinations, including relevant documentation, pre-departure tests or what vaccine is recognised, e.g. travellers entering the United States must have Pfizer or Moderna, while entry into the UK requires a COVID-19 test in the 3 days before departure. Expedia’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory is a handy tool that provides travellers information on regulations and health and safety guidelines for their destination and origin.

  2. Essential documents: Along with your passport, travellers may be required to have proof of vaccination to enter permitted destinations or be eligible to fly. The Australian government is planning to roll out an internationally recognised proof of vaccination document in the coming weeks, Expedia advises travellers to stay up to date with these requirements before booking or travelling. Don’t forget to double check the expiry date on your passport. As a reminder, some countries may require a passport to have at least six months validity.

  3. Be Flexible: Book in advance and be mentally prepared for cancellations and have a back-up plan in case changes need to be made. Many travel providers today offer flexible options to book, reschedule or cancel a trip at ease. For your accommodation, using Expedia’s “free cancellation” or “Book Now, Pay Later” filters can help travellers find options with flexible and refundable rates (subject to any applicable booking cancellation window).

  4. Enhanced cleanliness standards: Consider accommodation, flights and experiences that have committed to and communicated their enhanced cleanliness standards. To make it easier for travellers, Expedia’s ‘Enhanced Cleaning’ filter will narrow accommodation search results with options that have implemented enhanced hygiene and safety measures.

The Federal Government is recommending people check smartraveller.gov.au for further info.

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