Want to get more bang for your buck? 7 destinations where your dollar goes further
The Australian dollar might not be doing so well against the US greenback but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy cheap overseas holidays. You just need to find a destination where the Aussie dollar goes further. The best holiday deals. Luckily for you, that’s what we've done here. The following are seven cheap holiday destinations where you can have a fantastic time, while getting the most out of your hard-earned Aussie dollars.
With the strengthening US dollar and money from Brazil being repatriated back to the US, the Brazilian economy is not doing so well, which makes a Brazilian holiday even better value than usual for Aussie travellers. The Aussie dollar is about 15% higher against the Brazilian real, with exchange rates currently showing one Australian dollar buying around 2.5 real, compared with only about 2.1 real in 2014. With the Rio Olympic Games coming up next year, the famed Rio Carnival in February 2016 and sun-drenched beaches by day and partying by night at any time of the year, there has never been a better time to smile and go to Rio.
2. Southern Europe
Countries like Spain, Italy, Portugal, France and Greece all have weakened economies, which while not good for them, is good news for Aussie tourists. Seeing the Parthenon, holidaying on a Greek island in the Mediterranean or running with the bulls in Pamplona have never been cheaper for Australian travellers. For example, an average six-night stay in Athens in a 3-star hotel currently starts from around $2,900 per person for a couple, which includes your return airfare, hotel, taxes and other fees. And if you venture outside the eurozone to destinations like Croatia, Poland and Czechoslovakia, our dollar is up relative to all of their currencies.
Right now, Russia is the hands-down winner in the bargain travel department. Due to the ongoing US sanctions and the Ukraine crisis, the Russian rouble has dipped dramatically, with the Aussie dollar now buying 50% more roubles than it did last year.
With many hotel rooms vacant due to a big drop off in business travellers, you can now stay in luxury hotels for 3-star prices and pick up bargains across the board in tours, dining, rail journeys and river cruises. If you’ve always wanted to see Moscow and St Petersburg, now is the time.
While the Aussie dollar has dropped slightly against the currencies of Asian destinations such as Thailand, Indonesia, China, Singapore, India and Vietnam, holidaying in Asia is still one of the best and cheapest options for Australian travellers.
In South-East Asia, the prices of hotel rooms, transport, shopping, dining and spa and beauty treatments still represent incredible value for money when compared with other holiday destinations around the world.Find travel insurance for Asia
5. New Caledonia
Our dollar has lost ground against the currencies of Pacific Island nations such as Fiji and Vanuatu but it has gained around 4% in New Caledonia. This French-speaking nation boasts a variety of luxurious resorts where prices are currently very affordable and every kind of holiday attraction is on offer, from whale-watching and wreck diving to windsurfing and outrigger canoeing.
6. New Zealand
If you’re planning to head to across the Tasman, you're not alone. Not only is New Zealand perennially Australia's favourite holiday destination, it's also a sneaky bargain. According to the Expedia Foreign Exchange Index, the Aussie dollar is buying you a whole lot more in New Zealand than it did only a year ago. From the ski fields in Queenstown to Hot Water Beach, New Zealand has something for every traveller.
The Aussie dollar is only slightly down against the Yen but with the average ticket prices down 2%, Japan could be a cheeky getaway for those wanting to make the most of these discounted fares.
While Japan is not a "cheap destination", the chance to take on the ski fields of Hokkaido is something you can't afford to miss.
Tips to make your Aussie dollar go even further
As well as finding cheap holiday destinations, there are even more ways to stretch your Aussie dollar to the limit. These include:
- Make lunch your main meal of the day and snack in the evening, as dinners traditionally cost more in cafes and restaurants
- If you’re holidaying somewhere for longer than a few days, look at renting an apartment rather than a hotel room, as it will work out cheaper accommodation-wise and you can save by preparing some of your own meals
- Buy a local SIM card for your phone and switch off your global roaming, or you’ll come home to a huge mobile phone bill
- Eat where the locals eat rather than at the tourist hot spots, as it will usually be cheaper and the food will probably be better as well
- Use a fee-free debit card for your financial transactions rather than a pre-paid money card, which can attract high fees
- Plan your holiday for the shoulder season, as there will be smaller crowds, less demand and hence lower prices for fares, accommodation and tours
- Consider booking your accommodation through sites such as couchsurfing.com and Airbnb, where you can stay with locals in the region you are visiting for a fraction of the price of a hotel room
- If you’re hiring a rental car, make sure the GPS is included in the price, or it could end up costing you an extra $10 a day
- Book your airfares separately at the lowest prices, rather than as a package, but make sure you allow plenty of time between flights
- Consider a cruise holiday, as this is one of the cheapest holiday options, with all your accommodation, meals and entertainment included in the one price
Cover your cheap getaways
Despite all the doom and gloom surrounding the weakening Aussie dollar, it’s only losing ground because the US dollar is strengthening and is still a lot stronger than many other currencies around the world. So don’t postpone your overseas holiday. Just holiday smarter and go somewhere where you’ll get value for money.
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