Airfares go up, currencies go down, hotel prices change – travel these days is a moveable feast and last year’s travel bargain might break the budget this year.
Finding an affordable international trip, however, could be as simple as some number crunching to see where your dollar will go further.
Managing Director of Expedia Australia and New Zealand, Georg Ruebensal says, “Changes in the Australian dollar do not mean you need to cancel your next holiday… the answer should be to travel smarter by keeping an eye on currencies”.
While the Aussie dollar is weaker against the US dollar and the Japanese yen, it’s up 18 per cent on the South African rand and at least 5 per cent against the Sri Lankan rupee – providing some exciting options for that affordable overseas trip.
Say sayonara to Japan
Japan has been one of the most popular international destinations for Australians, but the Aussie dollar has dropped 14 per cent against the yen in the past year, so you could be in for a price shock.
Alistair Jedlin usually travels overseas once or twice a year and recently returned from Japan.
“I hadn’t checked the foreign exchange rate … leaving me stung by the Aussie dollar’s fall against the yen. Hotel prices were notably more expensive when compared to my trip to Tokyo three years ago,” he told The New Daily.
“Dinner in a restaurant cost around $50 more and a beer cost about $11, which is expensive when compared to the cost of beer in Australia.”
China is a better-value option in East Asia, with the average cost of flights to China down 10% to around $766 and the average hotel costs 37 per cent less than Japan.
From Vietnam’s China Sea to the shores of Sri Lanka
Vietnam has become a favourite holiday destination for Australians but with flight costs to Vietnam increasing by a hefty 29 per cent it’s no longer the bargain it was.
Sri Lanka – with its tropical beaches, lush hinterland, new resorts, weaker rupee and airfares that have dropped by a 7 per cent year-on-year average to around $576 return – is definitely calling.
From Hong Kong hawker food to South Korean kimchi
Hong Kong has long been the go-to destination for that big-city Asian vibe and spectacular cuisine, but Korea now offers a worthwhile alternative.
The Australian dollar is down three per cent against the Hong Kong dollar and airfares are up 12 per cent year-on-year.
By comparison, the average of $725 flight from Australia to Seoul is 24 per cent cheaper than flying to Hong Kong. That’s a lot of kimchi.
Korean hotel prices are also significantly lower, averaging $133 per night, or 38 per cent cheaper than in Hong Kong.
From northern Africa to South Africa
Morocco has had a legendary pull with its camels and exotic souks, but airfares have gone up by a budget-denting 23 per cent.
At the same time, the average cost of flights from Australia to South Africa has fallen 11 per cent this year.
South Africa is proving a drawcard with its wineries, wildlife and incredible landscape and the Australian dollar’s 18 per cent jump against the rand means more holiday buying power.
*Statistics are from the ABS and flight and hotel prices are based on the first half of 2016.