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How does the Gold Cost compete with NYC, London and Auckland?

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

Gold Coast accommodation prices increase the most as holiday-makers could be paying up to 103% more to travel over the Christmas holiday season, according to a new analysis by comparison website

The site examined the top 10 international destinations 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)

Rank Destination Off Peak Cost Christmas Cost Additional Cost Percentage difference
Gold Coast, Queensland
Phuket, Thailand
Nadi, Fiji
Bali, Indonesia*
Goa, India*
Tokyo, Japan
Shanghai, China*
New York, USA
London, UK
Auckland, New Zealand
International Average
*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.

An analysis of airline data 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.”



  • 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.

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