While football might have been the most searched term across the globe in 2018, it was the archipelago paradise the Maldives that tweaked the most curiosity among Australian travellers.
The Maldives was the most searched term on Google this year for Australians looking for flights, with the term peaking around the second week of January in 2018. This was a trend among those looking to travel in 2019, spiking from December 31 to mid January for all destinations apart from Bali (which peaked in June, when the weather here gets gloomy).
Western Australians were the driving force behind the Maldives search, with people looking for "luxury escapes" and "villas".
The Maldives are a far more convenient option for residents of WA, who are able to fly with budget airlines Scoot and AirAsia via Singapore or Kuala Lumpur and then on to Male for well under $1000 (sometimes even under $500). That would free your cash reserves to splurge on a villa at one of the Maldives' luxury resorts.
India was the second most searched for country with people from Victoria and NSW looking for flights, and Perth residents looking for cheap flights. According to Google's data, related searches include information on capital cities Chennai, Kochi and Hyderabad, the south Indian capital famous for its intricate architecture. Scoot started flying to Hyderabad and Kochi from Perth this year, introducing a swag of cheap flights.
Over in the US, Los Angeles beat New York as the most searched city for flights. Both cities were widely searched for by residents of the eastern states, who were possibly looking to travel outside these major cities.
It will come as no surprise to learn that people searching for flights to LA were also searching for onward travel information on San Diego, Mexico and Cuba. A vast majority of their associated searches were for flights "in April", "in business class", and looking for car rental. While searches for flights to LA remained steady throughout the year – peaking again in August – interest for New York waned after the second week of January.
Those looking to go to New York were also searching for cities such as Quebec and Alaska, and included topics such as "distance" and the month of December.
People searching "flights to Bali" predominantly came from WA and NT, and were overwhelmingly looking for information on "seaside resort", "honeymoon" and the Gili Islands.
Searchers were also looking for the best time to visit and cheap flights, as well as looking at other island retreats such as Bora Bora, Flores and Fiji.
Flights to Gold Coast, Broome, Hobart, Queensland and Melbourne to Sydney rounded out the 10 most searched for items in Australia.
The travel data was released as part of Google's 2018 Year in Search, which highlighted the World Cup, Meghan Markle and the royal wedding as 2018's most searched for stories.
Other popular queries in Australia included "what is listeria" and "what is bitcoin".
"The 2018 Year in Search lists give us an insight into the things that captured the nation's attention over the past 12 months – from major moments in news, sports and entertainment, through to the the latest dance craze," said Kirstin Wright, a Google Search Trends expert.
"Twenty years after its launch, Google Search continues to evolve as people look for information in new and different ways, but our focus remains the same – to make the world's information accessible and useful to everyone."
The top 10 "flights to" searches on Google in 2018
- Gold Coast
- Melbourne from Sydney
- New York