The latest survey conducted by Roy Morgan Research, the largest independent research company in Australia, reveals that the "domestic touring holiday" – that is, one that takes place in a rental car from Brisbane or elsewhere – is still a popular past-time.
In the year to August 2013, 21 per cent of Australian holiday-makers said they "toured around by car and discovered things at their own pace" on their last trip.
Roy Morgan Research show that this number has not changed significantly in the past 10 years. In 2003, when the survey was last conducted, 20 per cent of those who took part said the same thing.
It seems that this penchant for the domestic touring holiday isn't going away, either.
When asked how they intended to spend their next holiday in Australia, 19 per cent of participants said they were planning to hire a rental car from the Brisbane airport – or some other fabulous destination in the country – and explore the area on their own.
Imagine it. No tour guides, no itineraries, no annoying child kicking the back of your seat on the airplane – just you, your family or significant other and the open road.
Jane Ianniello, international director of tourism, travel and leisure at Roy Morgan Research, said in an October 8 statement that:
"The touring market enjoys discovering things at its own pace – soaking up the countryside and scenery as well as visiting national parks, historical sites, museums, botanical gardens, parks and wineries".
Though you may think that the domestic touring holiday is solely the domain of adventurous retirees – or "grey nomads", as Ms Ianniello calls them – you'd be wrong!
Yes, people aged 50 years and over make up a large portion of the domestic touring holiday market (this group constitutes approximately 50 per cent of such holiday-makers). However, 61 per cent of Australians who opt for this kind of holiday are working, either full-time or part-time.
Only 24 per cent of people who prefer the domestic touring holiday are retired, and 10 per cent are currently looking for work (in case you were interested).
Ms Ianniello said it's interesting that so many people like driving themselves from place to place more than flying to specific destinations or using some other form of transport to get around.
She explained that petrol prices are continuing to rise and domestic airfares are continuing to fall – but that doesn't seem to have affected Australian's love of the open road.
There are a number of reasons why driving around in a rental car is the best way to enjoy what our beautiful country has to offer.
1) You don't have to go through complicated and time-consuming airport security checks, or worry about your flight being delayed or cancelled due to bad weather.
2) It's often a whole lot cheaper, especially if you're planning to take the entire family on holiday.
3) Most domestic flights put a limit on the amount of carry-on bags you can take on a domestic flight, and charge you extra for any luggage you check in. If you're driving a rental car, you can pack as much as you want!
4) You will have plenty of leg room, and you can pull over whenever and wherever you like (within reason) to stretch your limbs and have a look around.
5) If you're not a stringent planner, you can change your travel plans at a moment's notice. If you see a sign for some activity or destination that tickles your fancy, you can turn the steering wheel and head toward it. Easy!