Back in the day, a worker would take their four weeks annual leave in one fell swoop. In those days though, jobs were stable and workers loyal to their employers and vice versa. Now, through the GFC, job security is a lost luxury, employee numbers are reduced and people are working harder and for longer hours.
The upshot of this change in workplace patterns is that rather than taking all four weeks at once, workers are now tending to split up their leave and do several short holidays throughout the year.
So where can you go in winter for a week or less? First, domestically, head north. Winter is the ideal time to visit the Northern Territory and the Kimberley. Broome is also sublime in winter, especially with the direct flights from Sydney.
With the Whitsunday region of Queensland and the resorts on Hamilton Island hit hard by Cyclone Debbie, Hayman Island and Daydream Island all closed till around July, so why not show your support and book a late winter/early spring trip to the always glorious Whitsundays?
Meanwhile the Far North region of Queensland around Cairns was not affected and offers a great place for mid-winter break.
Internationally there are the usual pacific islands of Fiji or Vanuatu – but what about something different like Samoa or Tonga? Then there’s Asia with the usual hotspots of Phuket, Bali or Penang – but why not check out the beaches of Vietnam?
We’re also seeing a surge in enquiries for trips to India and Japan. Travel time to these destinations averages about eight to 10 hours so would be better suited to a slightly longer holiday of 10 to 14 days.
The other main travel trend we’re seeing is the growth of the ‘small group traveller. Gone are the days when people would fly to London and join a large tour group of 45 people and travel around Europe visiting six countries in two weeks.
Now, whilst still liking the convenience and security of a group tour, travellers are looking for the smaller, more intimate tour groups, groups averaging 20 people. Even the big group tour companies of Trafalgar and Insight have noticed this trend and are introducing special ‘small group’ departures.
This is also true in the cruise market. We’ve seen an increase in enquiries for smaller ‘expedition’ type cruises: those cruise boats that take less than 500 passengers and can get into the smaller ports of call – companies like Azamara, Ponant and Lindblad. These are ‘soft’ luxury adventure cruises, with adventurous day trips to land on Zodiacs but then the evenings are for fine dining and retiring to your luxuriously appointed cabin to sleep like a baby.
Whatever your choice, make sure you take the time to recharge your batteries, reconnect with your loved ones and broaden your mind – the three cornerstones of travel whatever time of year you go.
Monique Monsees, Cherrybrook Travel, Westleigh