top 10 travel destinations 2019



Published January 1st, 2019

We’ve taken a look at the travel trends, explored all the lands and can share with you the ten places emerging in popularity among Student Flights and Australian travellers that we predict to be the best places for 2019.

The popularity of the Middle East is soaring, while Japan is continuing to grow in popularity with Aussies as the investment in tourism grows – specifically the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. European hotspots like Copenhagen, Reykjavik and Istanbul will also draw crowds, and more are interested in off-the-beaten-track destinations, such as Sri Lanka, Morocco and the Maldives.

Cross-checking different industry sources from air ticket purchases to touring bookings and increased social chatter, here are the best holiday destinations for 2019.

1. Japan

Japan looks set to dominate our Insta feeds come 2019 and even 2020.  With the Rugby World Cup coming to Japan in 2019 and then not long after there’s the Olympics in 2020, it’s the country everyone will be talking about.

Travel to Japan is up 37 per cent and 2019 bookings are at an all-time high according to Intrepid Travel who is predicting that number to continue to increase for Aussies. The country now has around 257,000 Aussie holidaymakers a year, up from just 46,000 a decade ago.

Heading beyond the usual Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka will also see people head further afield to places like Okinawa, described as the Hawaii of Japan. The desire to get off the beaten path and head a little further afield will be even more widespread in 2019.

2. Jordan

That lust for discovering less known, less ‘Instagramed’ locations may also be the reason why Intrepid has also seen a rise in Aussies visiting the Middle East. Travel to the region increased a whopping 121 per cent just this year and the trend looks set to continue in 2019.

From the desert to the beach, Jordan offers up so much rich history and excitement. Its most famous national park is Wadi Rum, where you can spend the night surrounded by the otherworldly blush-hued desert at a simple Bedouin Beit Shar (goat-hair tent) encampment. It truly is like another world which is why films like Indiana Jones and Lawrence of Arabia have been filmed here.

Though it has the smallest strip of Red Sea seashore it’s a great location to hit the beach, and if you want to see colossal historical monuments, Jordan has you covered. The most well-known archaeological site being in Petra, but the Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Arab Empires all made their mark across the countryside so there’s so much more to discover in Jordan.

3. Turkey

Rising from several tough years, there interestingly was a 132 per cent increase in Aussies travelling to Turkey in September 2018 compared to the same time last year for Intrepid, and that’s up 369 per cent overall.

Sitting at the crossroads between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, Turkey is a cultural melting pot. From the Byzantine monasteries to ancient Roman ruins and the WW1 battlefields of Gallipoli, Turkey has a multifaceted history worth exploring. There’s also plenty to see and do like see the mesmerising rock chimneys of Cappadocia by hot-air balloon, trek the coastal Lycian Way or take the ferry from Istanbul to Bosphorus to see the fishing villages that intersect the East and West.

Right now the Aussie dollar will also get you about four Turkish lira. So for AUD$2 is enough for the well-known and delicious local fish kebab which is eight lira or a beer for seven lira.

4. Morocco

Morocco has been luring adventure travellers, backpackers and culture vultures in greater numbers over the past few years and that trend shows no sign of slowing down. That’s why you should head there now before it gets the chance to adapt and change. Morocco is a fascinating mixture of Berber, African, Moorish, European and Arabic cultures and you can experience a little bit of each whether you head for the bustling souks of Marrakech, the tanneries of Fes or the camp in the vast and arid Sahara Desert.

5. Maldives

This tropical far-flung oasis was once out of reach for many travellers but now with the addition of new hotels all spruiking great offers and an increase in cheap flight deals, competition has increased. Combine that with the unbeatable mix of weather, gourmet food offerings and insane OTT over-water bungalows and you’ve got yourself a real winner for travel in 2019.

6. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has been climbing its way to the top of the list of trending travel destinations for a while and it is no surprise Australians have taken note. It’s the perfect location for tropical beaches, unique wildlife, incredible local food, and stylish boutique hotels. However it’s the diverse landscape that really sets Sri Lanka apart–to the west are historical coastal towns such as Galle, in the central hills there’s stunning waterfalls and tea plantations and south-east at Yala National Park there are wildlife game drives.

With so many deals going for Sri Lanka in 2018 and 2019, it’s a wonder why so many Australians are still heading to Bali? Look out Seminyak, there’s a new tropical destination vying for your top holiday spot and there’s no sign of it slowing down.

7. Copenhagen

It doesn’t get much more prestigious a travel award than being touted as Lonely Planet’s top city to see in 2019. Copenhagen has come out on top and it isn’t hard to see why. From the delicious and healthy food options to the city’s notorious pedal power (there are more bicycles than people), it’s no wonder the Danes, especially those that live in Copenhagen, are consistently voted some of the happiest in the world. Why wouldn’t you want to see it for yourself?

8. Iceland

Iceland is a country on the up and up. In 2017, the number of tourists topped 2 million people which is in fact six times the total population. This follows in the travel trend being observed where highly remote and regional places are becoming more popular as off-the-beaten-path destinations to travel to. This includes places like Iceland and even Finland during the winter when travellers can experience bucket list activities like the Northern Lights, husky dog sledding, staying in igloos and basking in natural hot springs. The biggest learning curve you’ll come across in Iceland, however, will always be how to pronounce pretty much any street sign you come across. Good luck.

9. Egypt


ancient sculptures in egypt
Courtesy: Intrepid 18-29's Egypt

Egypt has once again hit its stride as travellers are starting to come back in numbers. This has been partly due to the relaxed travel advise from the UK and US. Aussies are also back on the bandwagon when it comes to rediscovering ancient monuments like the Pyramids of Giza, Great Sphinx and Valley of the Kings tombs.

10. Kathmandu, Nepal

Nepal’s mountainous capital is well and truly back on travellers lists as the region has made a lengthy recovery following the 2015 earthquake. Despite the hardship, the country went through it has come back stronger than ever and has made travellers appreciate, even more, the temples and heritage sites that made it through the quake. A Nepal trek is high on many backpackers and younger travellers bucket lists so 2019 is a great year to put that experience back high on the list.

Student Flights

Sam Aldenton

Sam Aldenton is a travel writer, digital content creator (read: takes photos/videos with her iphone and sometimes a real camera) and former retail and youth trend forecaster. When she's not off discovering the world’s best pizza (an obsession picked up from her 4-years in New York), she makes her home in Brisbane, Australia. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @samaaldenton.