Aussies love travelling overseas – it’s a simple fact. According to ABS stats, more of us head abroad for our holidays than ever before. This is despite the fact that the Aussie dollar hasn’t fared too well of late, making it more expensive for us to get our hands on other currencies to make purchases at our destinations.
So how does one afford an overseas holiday with an underperforming Aussie dollar? It’s not necessarily about resorting to hitchhiking and staying in backpacker hostels. Rather, it’s about being smart with your choice of destination. There are a number of countries around the world where luxury hotels, shopping and local activities are still affordable for Australians.
According to those aforementioned statistics, visitors are flocking to Vietnam. This makes sense; after all, it’s just as conveniently close as traditional favourites such as Bali and Thailand, but there’s a sense of it being less explored and ‘touristy’. Vietnam is a land of incredible diversity; from south to north, there’s something for everyone from cruise lovers and beach bums to gourmets and history buffs.
Another reason it’s become a hot destination is the cuisine. Aussies have increasingly been exploring and enjoying Vietnamese food in recent years, as evidenced by the popularity of certain cooking shows, and Vietnamese street food from phở (traditional noodle soup) to bánh mì (French-influenced baguettes) and gỏi cuốn (rice paper rolls). If you love Vietnamese food here, why not try the real thing in person for a fraction of the price?
Ravaged by war in the early ‘90s, Croatia is now well recovered to its former glory. It’s home to some of the most stunning coastlines in the world; the Dalmatian Coast regularly tops lists of stylish beach destinations. You may have spotted the cities of Dubrovnik and Split in recent movies and TV shows, including Game of Thrones, The Amazing Race and even Star Wars.
If you’re looking for an affordable stay with an ocean view, look to Airbnb where private apartments near the richly historic Old Town start are great value for money. Thinking of taking a cruise around the pristine coast? You can create your own customised island-hopping itinerary using ferry fares.
Japan has shot up in popularity over the past few years, and not just because the AUD hit historic highs against the Yen in 2013 and 2014. Rather, it’s because the mix of airlines travelling between Australia and Japan has changed, forcing airfares lower thanks to competition. It’s now possible to score a return fare to Tokyo, Osaka or Chitose for well under $1,000, no matter what time of year you choose to travel.
It doesn’t hurt that Japan provides a combination of rich cultural and historical experiences, and stunning natural scenery – including some of the world’s best snowfields in the northern island of Hokkaido.
While you’re there, make sure to try a variety of food from different venues – not just the high-end sushi restaurants and tourist hotspots. Food safety standards in Japan are very high, so you’re quite safe dining anywhere from a tiny lunch stall in a seafood market, to a convenience store, to a local izakaya (Japanese pub).
Nestled in the South Pacific just a couple of hours flying time from Australia’s east coast, New Caledonia is a tiny French territory made up of dozens of islands. It’s a toss-up as to whether it’s best known for its stunning natural environs – think lagoons, tree-lined beaches and a barrier reef – or its charming French-influenced local culture.
For a budget-friendly stay close to nature, consider ‘glamping’ (luxury camping) or basic traditional Melanesian cabins. They’re available everywhere from Noumea to the Isle of Pines.
Even the best value holiday plans require a little budgeting and planning ahead. It’s important to make sure you’ve planned for everything from airfares and accommodation to the right travel insurance and a comfortable amount of spending money.