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The decline of the old-fashioned Aussie day trip

Article PhotoAustralians are known for our laid back demeanour and appetite for adventure. With a country as vast and varied – from spectacular desert settings to sub-tropical rainforests, there is plenty to see and do in just a day.

However, according to a recent Roy Morgan survey, most of us don’t even have a day to spend enjoying the great outdoors and undertake a good old-fashioned Aussie road trip anymore.

With job commitments increasing and children immersed in laptops and tablets, it is becoming rarer to see a family pack the car and head out for a day of adventure.

Based on the results of close to 17,000 respondents, just 36.9 per cent of Australians aged 14+ had taken a day trip by car in the year to June 2014. This was down from 41.1 per cent in June 2010.

In addition, only 25 per cent of teenagers under 18 had been on a day road trip and 27.7 per cent of young people aged between 18 and 24 had done likewise.

This data is backed up by Tourism Research Australia statistics that showed that there were just over 76 million day trips in the year to June 2014. This was down from a high of over 83 million trips back in June 1999.

Group Account Director at Roy Morgan Research, Angela Smith offered some insight into why the great Aussie day trip has lost its appeal over recent years.

“Taking the car out for the occasional day trip has long been part of the Australian tradition,” she said.

“But with the price of petrol steadily increasing, it’s no longer the affordable prospect it once was, particularly in the larger states like WA, where you have to drive further to reach your destination.”

Changing demographics

There are some statistics in Roy Morgan’s poll that suggest that all hope is not lost for traditionalists of the Aussie day trip.

The 50-64 age bracket are the most likely to head out on the road with 41.4 per cent of respondents indicating that they had taken a trip in the past year. This demographic could have more disposable income after their children have left home in recent years which could explain the spike.

In addition, the 65 and older category was not far behind with 36.5 per cent of those respondents undertaking a day road trip since June 2013.

Rural vs urban

There is a common generalisation that those living in the city are less likely to head out for the day than their rural counterparts – and the Roy Morgan survey backs up this view.

Close to two-fifths (39.8 per cent) of rural Australians have enjoyed a road trip in the recent past, compared to 35.2 per cent of those who live in Australia’s capital cities.

It is interesting to note that residents of rural Victoria and Tasmania are more likely to do a day trip, while those least likely to take on an journey are from urban Perth.

Ms Smith explained the personality and profile of rural residents mean they take day trips more often than those in urban areas.

“For example, people from the rural-based Country Conservatives persona are 27 per cent more likely than the average Aussie to be day-trippers,” she said.

“These older, working-class couples lead quiet lives centred around their domestic comfort zone. Where some people yearn for exotic, action-packed holidays in foreign climes, Country conservatives prefer the relative familiarity of a day trip in the car.”

With the warmer weather beginning to pick up, this is the perfect time to plan and enjoy a day road trip. Just remember to ensure your vehicle is up to standard and that ctp greenslip and registration are up to date.

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