Not all that long ago, the road trip was an ingrained part of the Australian psyche. It was just something we did. For many of us, it was the only way to travel.
The emergence of affordable domestic and international airfares put the Aussie road trip on the back foot.
Despite the convenience offered by air travel, we remain a country that loves our cars, and with all that’s going on in the world, the road trip is poised to make a comeback.
As a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, international travel is unlikely to return to ‘normal’ for at least a year if the experts have it right. Even if all the restrictions are eased, globetrotters may be reluctant to travel as readily for recreation.
Another concern is with rising unemployment, will people have the disposable income to take an overseas trip?
Business travel may also make a permanent change, those who were required to travel extensively for work have made use of new technology which may have many asking what travel is essential and what can be accomplished via online platforms. With a weak Australian dollar and the global economy looking shaky, companies have the potential to cut costs by winding back travel expenses.
Locally, with the future of Virgin and Tiger in doubt, we are looking at Qantas having a monopoly. Having no genuine competition means prices will rise and some routes will be cut as Qantas looks to bounce back to its former position of strength.
Despite the advent of cheap flights, we continue to argue that the humble motor car remains the most affordable and practical way to explore all Australia has to offer. Reinforcing this agruement is the road trips we have taken in the Toyota Prius v and Fortuner, Lexus NX and Haval H6.
When travelling domestically, flying often sounds more convenient than what it actually is. If it’s a family trip, having a car at the destination is worth the extra travel time.
Then there’s the cost. A family of four flying return from Melbourne to Sydney during school holiday periods is far more expensive than the cost of fuel. Plus, flying cuts out the unique Aussie scenery found nowhere else on Earth.
Holidaying locally is something we will hear many a politician bang on about in the near future. Encouraging people to spend their money here is the best way to reignite our tourist and hospitality sectors.
The car comes into its own when exploring regional and remote parts of Australia. There are plenty of smaller places well worth a visit that are not serviced by airlines. You’ve got to go old school.
If you want to do your bit, going bush is a way to make a difference. When the pandemic hit, regional Australia was already dealing with drought and bushfires. When the restrictions are lifted and the borders reopen, the cost of accommodation will tempt you away from holidays in the city.
While the pandemic will lead to a new normal, there is a chance the road trip will become fashionable again and we can't wait to get back behind the wheel.
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