Travel, it’s fair to say, has changed a lot since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We all went from planning party trips to Bali to planning intricate walks to Woolies in Australia just to escape lockdown

When Hostelworld, the hostel-focused online booking platform, revealed their most booked destinations for 2022 though, they discovered that Aussies were deciding to stay local for their next trips, despite international travel reopening.

Their rankings were based on Australian customer bookings made between August and November for travel this year. The 2022 trends were compared to the normal figures pre-pandemic, using the same booking period from 2019 for travel that was due to take place in 2020 (regardless of cancelled trips).

International travel reopened to Australia in November but when it came to looking to 2022, Aussies backpackers kept things very local. For the first time ever, 11 of the top 20 destinations for Aussie backpackers in one year are in Australia.

It might not be surprising that COVID has changed traveller’s outlook but it’s shocking just how much it’s changed things. 95% of Aussies usually travel abroad but in 2022, this figure is down to just 57%. Pre-pandemic, not one Australian city featured in the top 20 list. Not even Sydney!

With Aussies being amongst the most adventurous backpackers, it’s great news for the country. Byron Bay is set to benefit the most, jumping up to top spot in 2022 from 32nd space (an astounding 86% growth). The rest of the top five is rounded out by Airlie Beach, Cairns, and Surfers Paradise, with London being the only foreign representative. To put in perspective, Airlie Beach and Cairns were ranked 295th and 114th respectively just two years ago in 2020.

Other international destinations that still made the top 20 include perennial favourites Paris and Barcelona but it’s all about the Aussie locations. Sydney and Alice Springs made it, obviously, but so did Launceston, Coral Bay, and Noosa this year.

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If you fancy joining these backpackers and exploring everything Australia has to offer in 2022, Hostelworld has great accommodation around the country. Just, you know, keep your fingers crossed that Omicron calms down!

For more on this topic, follow the Travel Observer.

Check out the 15 best things to do in Byron Bay:

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