Post-COVID, our travel habits have changed, and that also extends to the destinations we’re now choosing. New research by Expedia has identified one new trend in destinations that may help you with your travel inspiration: Islands.
The travel platform found that accommodation search for islands increased by an average of 315% in the last year. It also reports that when it came to the main islands Australians were travelling to, we’re opting for options close to home. Fiji topped the list, while Okinawa, Japan came second and Lombok, Indonesia third.
Ahead are the top ten island destinations around the planet that Australians are travelling to this winter 2023, along with a accommodation pick for each place. In other words, your travel inspiration for this year, sorted.
Just a direct flight away from many parts of Australia, Fiji is the ultimate, all-rounder island holiday. Known for its warm hospitality and breathtaking natural beauty, it’s no longer a spot just for young families, with accommodation interest continuing to soar upwards to almost 55% in the last year. Boasting incredible resorts, many with all-inclusive offerings, Fiji provides a wide range of experiences for groups, couples, and multigenerational families alike.
Accommodation tip: Nanuku Resort
2. Okinawa, Japan
Japan has long been a travel favourite for Australians, but now more of us are exploring beyond the major cities, including Okinawa where accommodation interest is up over 270%. Often referred to as the Hawaii of Japan, the island has a warm year-round climate and offers a unique blend of Japanese and Ryukyuan culture. The island’s well-rated resorts, Japanese hot springs, and healthy cuisine also make it one of the top picks among East Asia wellness getaways.
Accommodation tip: Halekulani Okinawa
3. Lombok, Indonesia
Often overlooked for its nearby its neighbour Bali, Lombok is one to watch, with accommodation interest up almost 170% and an affordable average accommodation rate of $124AUD per night. While the island’s crystal-clear waters and beautiful beaches might be the first things attracting travellers, the island’s unique culture and commitment to sustainability are sure to leave a lasting impression on travellers.
Accommodation tip: Katamaran Hotel & Resort
4. Kauai, Hawaii
Nicknamed the Garden Isle, Kauai is the oldest Hawaiian island and is gaining popularity, with accommodation searches up almost 35% in the last year. Kauai is known for its dramatic natural beauty, including lush tropical rainforests, flowing rivers, and cascading waterfalls — perfect for travellers who want to kayak, snorkel or hike their way around the island. Kauai’s culinary scene also makes the island worth visiting, with fresh ingredients pulled straight from the surrounding waters.
Accommodation tip: Kauai Beach Resort & Spa
5. Langkawi, Malaysia
Just a one-hour flight from Kuala Lumpa, this Malaysian island has had its accommodation interest up almost 130%. Known as the ‘Legendary Island,’ Langkawi is a place where visitors can uncover myths and legends of the ancient geological landscape. Travellers here can swim under waterfalls, walk across white sand beaches or taste some delicious local delicacies.
Accommodation tip: The Danna Langkawi
6. Ischia, Italy
Preserving the culture of Italy decades ago, the island of Ischia in the Tyrrhenian Sea, at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, has unspoilt beaches, five-star hotels and luxury thermal springs. Zoom around its cobblestone streets on a Vespa, take in a religious street parade, or chat with the locals. Accommodation interest for the island, an hour-long ferry ride from Naples, was up by almost 230%.
Accommodation tip: Grifo Hotel Charme & SPA
7. Bali, Indonesia
With a range of accommodation offerings, not to mention an average nightly price of a mere $172, Bali unsurprisingly continues to remain a firm favourite for Australian travellers. Accommodation interest was up almost 230%. The island has a rich cultural heritage, an amazing food scene, and endless natural beauty.
Accommodation tip: The Apurva Kempinski Bali
8. Paros, Greece
Sitting in the heart of the Aegean Sea, Paros is an often overlooked Greek island, though Australians are starting to catch onto it with accommodation searches up over 440%. Here you’ll find golden sands with golden sand beaches, plus modern and traditional Cycladic architecture. When you’re not at the beach, you’ll be at a cafe or restaurant, or when it gets started, at a nightclub.
Accommodation tip: Mr & Mrs White Paros
9. Samoa, Polynesia
The island nation of Samoa is located in Polynesia. It’s seen interest from Aussie travellers soar, with accommodation interest up over 1600%. A no-frills getaway in an untouched paradise is what to expect here. A trip to the humble island offers a peek into the nation’s rich 3,000-year culture and way of life, which focuses on calm and community.
Accommodation tip: Seabreeze Resort
10. Koh Samui, Thailand
Once a quaint fishing community, Koh Samui is now the second largest island in Thailand, with some of the country’s best accommodations. Searches for it increased by over 100% in the last year. From luxury hotels to eco-resorts, travellers are spoilt for choice. Spend your time here exploring the many ornate temples and lively fisherman’s villages.
Accommodation tip: Centara Reserve Samui