When it comes to travel, almost half of all Kiwis spend more than 10 percent of their annual income on holidays, making the most of each trip by prioritising their time and pre-booking adventures.

New research commissioned by Visa looks at the travel habits of New Zealanders and Australians, noting differences and similarities between the trans-Tasman counterparts when it comes to researching, booking and taking holidays.

In New Zealand, 85 percent of Kiwis choose to book the majority, if not all, of their holiday activities before heading away, compared with 88 percent of all Australian travellers.

Despite the natural inclination to plan all travel details, many Kiwis still enjoy the spontaneity of booking things as they go, with 15 percent saying the only thing they book for a trip are return flights. Compared with Australians, New Zealanders are more laid-back – just 12 percent of Australians are willing to leave home without the comfort of a confirmed itinerary.

Travel websites and online forums/social media are a popular source for information with 67 percent of Kiwi travellers looking to them for direction when planning a trip. Anecdotes and stories from friends and family also play a large part in influencing travel plans.

However, despite the growth of the internet age, there is still a large portion of Kiwis using travel agents, especially in the older demographics with more than two thirds of New Zealanders over 65 years of age preferring to receive travel advice from an agent.

Sean Preston, New Zealand Country Manager for Visa says travel is a part of the New Zealand culture.

“New Zealanders love to explore the world, whether it be the right-of-passage of an overseas experience (OE), family holiday or something people save up to do in their retirement years. Travel is such a priority for New Zealanders that almost half of the population spends more than 10 percent of their annual salary on travel every year.”

That said, luxury accommodation and travel are of less interest to Kiwis with only four percent of people spending their money on upgrades, comfort and style.

Instead, holiday money is largely spent on sightseeing tours with 53 percent of New Zealanders ranking sightseeing as their biggest expense when on holiday. Indeed, for more than half of Kiwis, the famous sights on offer are the primary factor when choosing a travel destination.

“The payment options vary for travellers but we are noting a growth of debit card usage overseas. This is reflected in the research which stated more than 72 percent of New Zealanders travel with credit or debit cards as the preferred form of payment”, says Preston.

To make it easier for all New Zealanders to plan and make the most of their holidays, Visa has partnered with Lonely Planet to launch The Travel Companion; an online hub providing Kiwis with a host of tips, tricks and tools for hassle free travel planning.

At the heart of The Travel Companion is ‘Create Your Own Guide’ (CYOG), a new online tool that can pull together Lonely Planet’s information on some of the world’s best destinations, to create an individual itinerary to kick-start travel plans.

Samantha Finnegan, Client Solutions Director APAC at Lonely Planet says “The Travel Companion will enhance the experience and excitement of planning a trip. CYOG is a fun way for consumers to access Lonely Planet’s expert advice on what to do and things to see as they plan their next adventure. We’re proud to continue our long-standing partnership with Visa, culminating in this first-of-its-kind travel resource.”

To celebrate this launch, Visa is giving New Zealanders the opportunity to win their dream trip, simply by creating their own guide and submitting their best travel tip. To enter the competition visit: www.lonelyplanet.com/campaigns/visa-travel-companion.

Additional findings include:

– 18 percent of Kiwis have forgotten what their last holiday was like because it was so long ago

– Less than 12 percent of people enjoy travelling alone, with 78 percent of holidaymakers preferring to travel with a loved one

– Australians are more likely to go online for travel advice (74 percent vs. 67 percent) whereas Kiwis are more likely to go to a travel agent (48 per cent vs. 56 percent)

– Australians tend to spend more of their annual salary on travel, with more than 55 percent spending more than 10 percent of their annual salary on travel in comparison to 47 percent of Kiwis

– Aussies and Kiwis both ranked sightseeing as their biggest expense overseas (53 respectively). Kiwis were bigger fans of shopping than the Aussies (24 percent vs. 23 percent) whereas Aussies spend more funds on lavish accommodation and travel.

4 July 2012

http://www.voxy.co.nz/business/visa-and-lonely-planet-launch-online-travel-tool/5/128148

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