Media Release

Aussie holiday-goers warned: Beware of ‘Christmas tax’

  • Australian travellers could be paying 103% more over the Christmas holiday period
  • Gold Coast labelled the destination with the highest ‘Christmas tax’
  • Tips for cutting costs when travelling during the festive season

28 November, 2016, Sydney, Australia – Australians could be paying up to 103% more to travel over the Christmas holiday season, a new analysis by Australia's most visited comparison website1,, shows. examined the top 10 international destinations2 for Australian travellers, as well as a domestic favourite, the Gold Coast, and took into account the cost of travel – including hotels, flights and car rental – for two people over a two-week period, comparing both peak and off-peak periods.

Topping the list for the most expensive travel destination during the peak period – Saturday 24 December to 7 January 2017 – was, surprisingly, the Gold Coast.

Despite being just a short flight from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, travelling to the Gold Coast during the Christmas period could set Aussies back, on average, $8,907.

Meanwhile holidaying there in November 2016 or February 2017, could cost less than half of that – $4,391, on average.

The biggest price hike was accommodation on the Gold Coast, up 121% on off-peak prices.

Internationally, Phuket was found to have the largest price gouge, with Australians paying, on average, 72% more to travel there during Christmas. This was followed by Nadi (66%), Bali (63%), and Goa (54%).

Analysis of the top 10 international destinations found it could cost on average 41% more to visit over the Christmas holidays.

Interestingly, one of the destinations in the study, Auckland, came in cheaper during Christmas - costing, on average, 6% less during the peak season.

Cost of travel for 2 people for 14 nights (Flights, Hotel, Rental Car)

RankDestinationOff Peak CostChristmas CostAdditional CostPercentage difference
1Gold Coast, Queensland$4,391$8,907$4,517103%
2Phuket, Thailand$4,326$7,453$3,12872%
3Nadi, Fiji$5,464$9,067$3,60366%
4Bali, Indonesia*$3,068$4,990$1,92263%
5Goa, India*$5,374$8,265$2,89054%
6Tokyo, Japan$11,341$14,843$3,50231%
8Shanghai, China*$4,356$5,047$69016%
9New York, USA$8,282$9,467$1,18514%
10London, UK$6,144$6,882$73812%
11Auckland, New Zealand$5,605$5,279-$326-6%
International Average$5,770$7,882$2,11241%
*Rental cars not available in locations

Bessie Hassan, Money Expert at, says there are some ways to minimise cost – and it starts with being organised.

“With many Australian families forced to take their annual leave over the Christmas and New Year period, inflated holiday pricing seems to be a cost many have to bare.

“However, keeping costs down starts with doing research – jump online and use comparison websites to compare flights, accommodation and transport. Doing your homework can leave you with more spending money.”

An analysis of airline data3 found that mid-week flights are generally more affordable than weekends, as are early morning or late night flights.

“The sweet spot for booking flights is around 17 weeks prior to departure for international and long-haul domestic flights, and 5-11 weeks for shorter domestic flights. So plan ahead, and save.”

Prepaid travel money cards and travel insurance can also help to keep costs down once at your destination.

Travel money cards are useful for travellers who want to lock in a favourable exchange rate or are travelling to several destinations.

“These prepaid cards can also help you avoid fees including currency conversion and ATM withdrawal fees, which can sting unsuspecting travellers,” says Ms Hassan.

Ms Hassan recommends shopping around online to find the best Christmas travel insurance deals and discounts.

“When it comes to travel insurance it’s always best to lock-it in early so you’re covered from the moment you book for any unexpected delays or cancellations,” said Ms Hassan.

“It’s also worth looking into a policy that will cover the value of your Christmas pressies in the case of lost or stolen luggage.”


  • Flights were sourced using Skyscanner and the cheapest option was chosen for each destination. All flights were from Sydney.
  • 3 hotels in each destination were chosen using Trivago within a price range of $90 - $1,600 a night (the outlier being Tokyo due to no 5 star hotel being cheaper). We chose a 3 star, 4 star and 5 star hotel in each location in order to get a varying price. The hotel choice was the first on the list to be available over all three date periods was chosen.
  • Car hire was priced using Expedia, with the cheapest option being used in each case.
  • The dates used for searches were:
    • Saturday 5 November - Saturday 19 November 2016 (off-peak)
    • Saturday 24 December 2016 - Saturday 7th January 2017 (peak Christmas period)
    • Saturday 4 February- Saturday 18 February 2017 (off-peak)
  • The two off-peak search periods (November and February) were averaged to get the off-peak prices.
  • The top 10 travel destinations are according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and are listed as countries. In order to find individual pricing, we chose top travel destinations in each of those countries.
  • Prices checked on 2/11/16 and 3/11/16.

1 Experian Hitwise since 2015
2 According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics
3 Jetstar, Qantas, Tiger, Virgin Australia


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The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on's review pages for the current correct values.

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