Why Aussies Are the Luckiest Travellers

There’s no doubt about it. Travel overseas is at its cheapest in relative terms as it’s ever been. This fact is being constantly hammered home by the travel industry (often by ex footballers caked in makeup on certain travel shows). Travel overseas has become so accessible that it’s often less of a strain financially to holiday abroad rather than at home.But do we really think about just how lucky Australian’s are when it comes to the opportunity to see the world? There’s more to it than just a cheap Jetstar flight and few nights in Bali.We have a rare combination of cultural acceptance of taking off to see the world, along with the money to do it.If you look at international travel for the masses it’s only been since the 1970’s that it’s been a financial possibility for most Aussies to take off. Travel in this era might be argued to be more ‘free’ when baby boomers set out to see the world. There were no shoe checks or body scans at the airport and the term ‘Bin Laden’ might have referred to an overflowing rubbish bin. Yet international flights were still expensive compared to wages. Compare that to now, with our generally more cashed up accounts and cheap flights.Looking back further travel was surely more an adventure than it presents now, but only a rare few had the money to pay for an entourage of porters, and minders and maids that usually accompanied grand travel. This travel might have been paid for by a chauvinistic geographic society or publishing company keen on retelling tales of the mysterious other to the masses. Not everybody had the chance to meet Mr. Livingstone, or drag a herd of camels across the Aussie dessert looking for a lake.Coming back to the present Australia has the distinction of being the only developed country to recently avoid going into recession, with the economy showing signs of bouncing back strongly. We have enjoyed high levels of disposable income for some time now, making us a wealthier and luckier country than we sometimes care to admit (even my staunchly conservative grandfather might concede something has been done right to keep us above water).To get even deeper into the facts of our good fortune, contrast our wealth with the fact that close to 50% of the world lives in relative poverty to us (that includes every second child). I wonder what percentage of the other 50% actually has the means to travel internationally, or the support or encouragement from parents or general acceptance from society to do so? That better off 50% has suffered much more than us in the past 18 months or so.Along with the financial means culturally we have almost an expectation to go see what’s out there. No longer is Europe or the USA by default out first stop. More and more Aussies are branching out and getting to know other parts of the globe on their first trip away. While Americans are expected to go straight to college, get ahead and take a week off a year in the process, we still have a great attitude to taking time away from our hectic work life. While Europeans are great travellers, their economy has taken a bigger hit than ours.Some might argue that travel has become sanitised to a point where the best days are over. I’d disagree. With the time and inclination there are always adventures to be had, and allot of travel I reckon is getting out to see things before they disappear. Our kids, or at least theirs, might not have the same opportunities that we do right now.So yes, the ads are right. It is a great time to travel. But looking at it more deeply now is really the best time to get going and it’s not all to do with cramped seats on budget airlines and a high dollar.