From my experience as a travel writer for the last decade, I have found that many Indonesians have been travelling more than ever. In the last five years alone, we have seen a significant increase in the number of Indonesian travellers searching for new and unique destinations to visit, locally or internationally. Not just that, but market demographics have also shown the variety of travellers these days— from those who favour the luxury market to the new version of backpacker, known as “flashpacker.”

Erza S.T. has been travelling around the world. Personal Files/NOW!JAKARTA

This can be seen every weekend, where flights are always full, especially to destinations such as Bali, Jogjakarta, and Belitung, Banyuwangi, Labuan Bajo and Raja Ampat. As for international destinations, there is a steady stream of visitors to the UK, Iceland, and Japan. We’re also seeing a rise in the number of Indonesian travellers looking for new experiences in places such as Croatia, Slovenia, the Caucasus region, Russia, Peru, Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

This is also the year of the “flashpacker”, essentially an affluent backpacker. Whereas backpacking is traditionally associated with budget travel and destinations that are relatively affordable, “flashpacking” is associated with those who have more disposable income while travelling and has been defined simply as backpacking with a bigger budget. “Flashpackers” usually look for a unique adventure, ideally one that can also increase their social media presence, especially with destinations such as Peru, Chile, Iceland, Nepal, and Cuba among others.

Indonesian travellers also tend to gravitate toward destinations that don’t require a visa. The ‘visa issue’ comes as the top three issues that influences their decision when choosing a holiday destination. Therefore, ASEAN countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam are still very popular. In addition to that, we also notice a few international destinations where a visa is not needed such as Morocco, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Fiji, Hong Kong and Peru. A special addition to this list is Ireland where a visa is still required but is issued free by the embassy in Jakarta.

Aside from the nature aspect, Indonesian travellers, especially in the high-end market also look for a great shopping experience from international factory outlets such as La Vallee Village in Paris and Bicester Village in Oxford, United Kingdom to great artisan products that are sold by appointment only. This market is also driven by beautiful luxury hotels that have great design and flawless personalised services from brands such as Aman Resorts, Dorchester Collection, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, The Peninsula Hotels and Oetker Collection for example.

It is a fact that about one per cent of the Indonesian population actually belongs to this luxury market and travel the world in a very lavish way. Just by the end of last month, we heard about a great Indonesian wedding in Puglia, Italy where they buy out one of the most luxurious hotels there. Crazy Rich Asians much?

To find out more about the future of Indonesian travellers, I contacted some of the most famous Indonesian travellers on social media to get their thoughts:

Alexander Thian: @amrazing

The type of traveller: I think I am a flexible traveller. I can travel budget and I can do luxury too.

Favourite destination: Iceland, Switzerland, and New Zealand. The nature in these countries is simply to die for.

Future travelling trend: I think more people will look for one of a kind experiences, going off the beaten path and enjoying being like a local rather than a tourist.

Arsya (Anwar Syarief): @social_junkee

The type of traveller: I plan my travels but I am also an impulsive traveller. I will set a date of where and when I leave and return, but I will also give in to last minute decisions.

Favourite destination: A place where nature and city meet and where the new and old collide. I like places that feature both.

Future travelling trend: I think the human-centred travelling, where every decision is in our hands will be the future of travelling. Technology and mobility play the important role in making this happen.

Arif Rahman: @arievrahman

The type of traveller: I like to categorise myself as a “flashpacker”. I am an office worker who is used to travelling for short periods of time. I like to visit many destinations if it is possible and bring my laptop to do my freelance job while travelling.

Favourite destination: I would say that the United Kingdom is a very special destination for me. Visiting this country, especially Newcastle and Liverpool, was a childhood dream come true because I have supported Newcastle United since I was a kid. I finally had a chance to see them play at the stadium. I am also a big fan of the The Beatles and I went to Liverpool to join The Beatles tour, visit the museum and also see a gig in the Cavern Club. It was an experience that gave me the ultimate joy.

Future travelling trend: Travelling for the love of music and sport will always have a place for some people, but I think Aurora Borealis hunting could be a trend next year, especially since people now know that Iceland is not the only place that has it. We have Norway, Canada or Russia, too.

Kadek Arini: @kadekarini

The type of traveller: Nature is my main interest. Anywhere from the mountain to the beach would be my preference. I also love places that are less explored.

Favourite destination: Indonesia, because this country has one of the best wild natural life in the world. Its mountains, beaches and its underwater life are stunning! I also love India because it’s very challenging to travel there. However, despite all of the uncommon local activities, India is a very beautiful country with a rich history. I recently returned from Kyrgyzstan, and completely in love with this mountainous country.  The landscape view is simply breathtaking, especially in the Pamir highway region.

Future travelling trend: I believe nature would still be the trend because people need to relax during their vacation.

Kenny Santana@kartuposinsta

The type of traveller: I am an easy going traveller who likes to spend time exploring cities without a fixed itinerary.

Favourite destination: New York City, London, Tokyo, are cities with so many things to do, see and eat. As for landscapes, I like Chile, Iceland, Alberta in Canada, and New Zealand that have out of this world scenery.

Future travelling trend: People will use more information from social media for their future travels. They will plan their trips independently but sometimes use online travel consultants for their custom-made trips.

Marvin Sulisto@marvinsulistio_

The type of traveller: I am a “flashpacker”. I like to minimise my flight ticket, transportation and accommodation budget, but still, manage to have a comfortable journey. I don’t have a strict budget like a backpacker or a hitchhiker and do it in style instead.

Favourite destination: Iceland, for sure. I am always curious about this country which is in the list of the ‘ttop 3 happiest’ countries in the world. Iceland, like Indonesia, has volcanoes. I found the natural landmarks beautiful and the air was beyond fresh compared to ours. The Eyjafjallajokull cap is amazing and the glaciers are wonderful. Also, I like the feeling when walking alone in the town of Reykjavik. To have that alone feeling in the middle of nowhere is priceless for any traveller.

Future travelling trend: I think Indonesian travellers will increase significantly through the year. The flight tickets are getting budget-friendly and some airlines are opening more direct routes. The new traveller wouldn’t be afraid of backpacking as social media will be their motivation to get as much information as possible. The unique destinations will also be on their list as they look to reach social media targets.

Windy Ariestanty: @windy_ariestanty

The type of traveller: I do not know. I don’t even think that I am a traveller. I am just a person who has a big curiosity about this world and tries to find the answers. My way of doing it is by exploring this planet.

Favourite destination: Everywhere! I don’t have a specific destination per se. I love my travelling experiences as they are all different. The more I travel the more curious I get.

Future travelling trend: This is a tough one. Surely I am not really happy if the man-made selfie destination becomes a trend. Indonesia is a big country that offers remarkable natural beauty that is certainly much better than a man-made selfie destination.


This article is originally from paper. Read NOW!Jakarta Magazine November 2018 issue“Travel Issue”. Available at selected bookstore or SUBSCRIBE here.

Erza S.T.

Erza S.T.

Erza S.T. is the founder of Indonesia Opera Society and has helped contribute to the citys classical music scene. An avid traveller, he writes about his forays around the world for NOW! Jakartas travel section.