Huge surge in travel to Southeast Asia and Australia helps Polarsteps reach 5 million user milestone

Leading travel app Polarsteps, whose initial popularity was built on backpackers tracking their journeys across Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, has seen a huge surge in travelers returning to these classic long-haul destinations following the end of Covid-related restrictions. The substantial increase has helped Polarsteps have a record-breaking summer, smashing through the five million user mark just months after surpassing four million.

“It’s fitting to have these destinations that were so instrumental in our initial success to be part of this historic milestone,” says Polarsteps CEO and co-founder Maximiliano Neustadt. “This shift in behavior is also exciting as it illustrates that travelers are feeling more comfortable to explore further from home and for longer periods of time.”

With impressive week-on-week increases in visitor numbers to Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand over the past month, as well as similar increases in planned trips within its app, Polarsteps predicts that these destinations will dominate the long-haul market for European travellers this winter. In terms of total user numbers in the next few months, Australia and Thailand will both surpass the USA and stand above all other international long-haul destinations.

While Polarsteps’ prediction that the USA would be the summer’s most-visited long-haul nation in terms of total visitor numbers proved true, the country’s travel figures have not increased as much in relative terms to other regions. In fact, since Polarsteps surpassed four million users in early June 2022, its data shows that Southeast Asia has seen the largest percentage rise in traveler numbers, with dramatic – almost tenfold – increases in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Laos.

The traditional long-haul backpacking strongholds of Australia and New Zealand have also seen unprecedented growth, with user numbers visiting these nations climbing similarly since June 2022. 

“While seasonal travel patterns can account for some of this rapid growth, much of it is undoubtedly due to a combination of pent-up demand and the easing of travel restrictions,” says Polarsteps managing travel editor Matt Phillips. “This is especially true for Australia and New Zealand, which had such incredibly strict rules that international travel was all but eliminated during the pandemic, earning them both nicknames as ‘fortresses’ in the press. On the other side of the coin is Mexico, a rare nation that remained open to visitors throughout 2020 and 2021 – traveler numbers remain high there, but growth since June has only been moderate.” 

Polarsteps has seen similar patterns in user figures of its ever-growing list of 250+ free travel guides in the app, with titles such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Koh Lanta, Koh Tao, Ubud, Auckland, Sydney, and Melbourne all climbing up to the top of its most-viewed list.

“Witnessing our growing community of adventurers heading back to the very destinations that spawned our initial growth feels rather like we’ve come full circle,” says Polarsteps CEO and co-founder Maximiliano Neustadt. “But what I find particularly rewarding is how much we’ve moved forward since then. Thanks to the advent of Polarsteps Guides, we are no longer just helping travelers track and relive their journeys in a beautiful way – we are now actively helping them to plan and to get the most out of their trips with well-researched content that is as inspiring as it is informative.”

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About Polarsteps

About Polarsteps
Polarsteps is helping over 5 million travelers across the world to plan, track, and relive their trips. The Amsterdam scale-up was founded in 2015 by a team of avid travelers with a passion for smart technology and cool design. The all-in-one travel app makes every part of the journey easier and more enjoyable: from the very first spark of travel inspiration to reliving it when it’s all over and done. The goal? To inspire and connect people across the globe through travel — so that everyone can express their wanderlust in a beautiful (and responsible) way.

Polarsteps is available for free in the App Store and Google Play store, or visit

Polarsteps – Make your way in the world

About the app
Easily use your travel bucket list to plan a trip and build your own editable itinerary. Once you're there, let us take over and plot your path on a digital world map that you can fill with your own photos, videos, and thoughts. Want to share your journey? Simply invite your loved ones along for the virtual ride. Finally, at the end of it all, you can create a beautifully designed Travel Book with the push of a button – turning your travel moments (the good, the bad, and everything in between) into lifetime memories.