Travellers are being hit with inflated holiday prices as they rush to book holidays across the country ahead of the festive season and Queensland finally opens its borders to all Australians after 141 days.
A massive spike in travel costs could ruin holidays as a result of the lack of accommodation and shortage of rental cars across the country.
The price of hiring a car has more than tripled in holiday destinations nationwide due to a shortage of vehicles and supply chain issues.
Bookings are up 206 per cent across the country compared with the same time last year and even higher in Queensland with a 359 per cent spike.
In Tasmania there is a 390 per cent spike in bookings.
“There has already been a 206 per cent increase in bookings nationally in December compared to the same time last year as interstate visitors scramble to secure rental vehicles due to the shortage of hire cars and inflated prices,” Car Next Door chief executive Will Davies said.
“Bookings continue to increase heading into Christmas.”
In NSW rental car bookings are up 138 per cent on last year, while in Melbourne they are up 206 per cent.
“We are seeing interstate travellers use local car sharing as a real alternative to traditional car hire,” Mr Davies said.
Sydney mother of two Amie Meehan was booked to fly to Queensland with her family in January but is looking to bring the holiday forward after the borders were opened early.
Ms Meehan was originally quoted $2452 to hire a Suzuki Swift or similar for just four days.
Instead she booked a Suzuki Alto through Car Next Door for just $391 for the same time, using the extra money on food.
As of 1am on Monday, fully vaccinated NSW, Victoria and ACT residents can enter Queensland if they have had a negative PCR test within the 72 hours prior.
They will need another test on day five.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to arrive each day in the lead-up to Christmas.
Emotional scenes were captured at Brisbane and Coolangatta airports on Monday morning as the first flights arrived from Sydney and Victoria.
Families were reunited and some even met new family members for the first time, with some sobbing as they embraced family they’d waited more than 140 days to see.
Jetstar chief executive Gareth Evans told the Today show it was a “great feeling” to have the first flight into Queensland.
“Pre-Covid, 60 per cent of Jetstar’s domestic Australian network touched Queensland, the vast majority of that out of NSW and Victoria,” Mr Evans said.
“So this is a massive part of our network.”
Hundreds of people have already made it into the state via roads after waiting days at nearby motels and caravan parks.
People will also require a border pass to enter Queensland, but on Friday morning the state had not yet made passes available.
From December 13, arrival into Queensland can be by any means, including road. There is no longer a need to quarantine if the measures above are met.
There are no restrictions or testing requirements for those entering Queensland from a non-hotspot zone, such as Hobart.
Anyone else arriving into Queensland who is not vaccinated may only do so by air and must complete 14 days of hotel quarantine at their own expense. This applies to Queensland residents or those relocating to Queensland from another state or territory.