Kiwis are prioritising travel despite rising cost of living, with 85% planning a trip in the next 12 months

  • For the first time ever, New Zealand tops list as number one destination, with Australia, Turkey, Morocco and Vietnam also in the top five

As inflation and interest rates continue to peak across the nation, a new report from Intrepid Travel reveals Kiwis are prioritising travel despite the rising cost of living, with a massive 85% planning a trip in the next 12 months. The news comes just weeks after the country fully opened its borders to international travellers in August.

From sustainable stays, active adventures and going it alone, to travelling for wellness and finding new hobbies, the Intrepid Travel Index is a comprehensive report that uncovers the preferences, behaviours and motivators that are driving Kiwis to travel in the post-COVID world.


The report, which is based on a combination of Intrepid’s owned insights and externally commissioned research of more than 1,000 New Zealanders, shows that while COVID remains top of mind, Kiwis’ appetite for travel is stronger.

Travel is back

Looking ahead to 2023, one thing is certain – Kiwis intend on travelling. According to the survey 85% are planning a trip next year, with 56% looking to travel domestically and 29% planning an overseas trip.


For the first time in the Index’s history, New Zealand has taken out top spot for most popular destination, with our Trans-Tasman neighbour Australia coming in second. Turkey, which was sixth on the list in 2019, has jumped up to third place. Vietnam and Morocco, which top the list consecutively in 2019, have remained strong holiday choices, rounding out the top five.

When it comes to bucket-list destinations, Italy came in first place, followed by the USA in second and Egypt coming in third.

Embracing the unpredictable

While the pandemic continues to impact day to day life, when it comes to travel, Kiwis are keen to start exploring again, with 72% saying they will travel despite the threat of infection. According to the survey, 52% of New Zealanders are conscious of catching COVID on an international trip, with almost a third (30%) changing the way they travel as result, opting for more off-the-beaten-track adventures in lesser-populated destinations. Travellers are also taking note of vaccines, with almost a third (29%) opting to travel in countries with high vaccination rates.


Kiwis going it alone

Kiwis are an adventurous bunch, with more than two thirds (67%) saying they’d consider travelling solo. And while many are happy to strike it out on their own, there are still some barriers that are holding people back. According to the Index, safety (83%), language barriers (49%) and feeling lonely (39%) were among the top concerns for solo travellers. Digging deeper, women were more concerned about safety (90%) compared to men (75%), and 48% of women were concerned about not knowing where to go or what to do compared to 31% of men.


Mind matters

According to the survey, almost half (44%) of Kiwis have booked a holiday to improve their wellbeing, with 60% saying travel has positively impacted their mental health. In terms of other health benefits, 62% say travel has decreased stress and burnout and 49% say travel has connected them with nature.


Sarah Clark, Managing Director ANZ at Intrepid Travel says, “The travel industry is in a very different position from when we launched our last Index back in 2019. And while the pandemic brought the world to grinding halt, it also gave us a rare opportunity to reassess the impacts and opportunities the travel industry has on it.”


“Our customers have changed and the way they want to travel has changed. We are excited to see the industry bounce back, so we can provide more travellers with opportunities to experience lesser-known destinations, immerse themselves in local cultures and continue to create positive change through the joy of travel.”


Further key findings include:

  • The future is green: Sustainability and responsibility are no longer nice-to-haves, they’re non-negotiables for travellers. A massive 87% of respondents said they were likely to choose sustainable travel options for their next trip.
  • Transformative travel: A huge 73% of respondents said travelling has given them a new lease on life, while over a quarter (26%) have taken up a new hobby after travelling.


The Intrepid Travel Index combines Intrepid statistics, externally commissioned third party research, and a survey of local tour leaders across the globe.

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