Life Travel When and where to book an affordable overseas trip for 2018
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When and where to book an affordable overseas trip for 2018

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Pack your bags – we have the inside info on where to go and when in 2018. Photo: Getty
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Two favourite New Year’s resolutions are to spend less and live life to the full. This year, some new research might just help us keep them.

Data from Skyscanner highlights the perfect time to book flights for the best savings and a list of emerging destinations so you can detour off-the-beaten-tourist-path and do something completely new.

Two resolutions ticked off in one­ – 2018 is looking good already. 

Pack for Portland

California is great, but why not head one state further north to Oregon and the hipster heartland of Portland? This city is increasingly renowned for its creative output and young demographic, seasonal food-centric culture (that’s code for fabulous food), micro wineries, boutique breweries and rural countryside with Insta-perfect red barns. It’s already on the radar (Skyscanner found a 45 per cent increase in online searches by Aussies last year), so start booking.

When to book: Book now for June, four months ahead, and you could save up to 37 per cent on last year’s average return fare of $1707.

Explore Zagreb

Dubrovnik is divine, but for those in the know, the Croatian destination for 2018 is the capital Zagreb. Away from the cruise-ship crowded coast, inland on the beautiful Sava River, Zagreb has a swag of intriguing museums (The Museum of Broken Relationships ­– really), cobblestone streets, colourful Baroque palaces and medieval history.

When to book: Book seven months ahead to save up to 19 per cent on last year’s average return fare.

Have a heavenly time in Vanuatu

If you see yourself going barefoot on the South Pacific’s balmy beaches in 2018, forget Fiji and consider Vanuatu. Espiritu Santo, the largest of Vanuatu’s 83 islands, is low key and laidback, unhurried and uncrowded.

When to book:The average return flight fare in 2017 was $757. Book four or five months ahead and you could save up to 46 per cent on the airfare.

Get off the grid in Mongolia

For those seeking a truly adventurous 2018, Mongolia is having a moment, so now is the time to book for the capital Ulaanbaatar. You won’t be the only one, as there’s been an 83 per cent lift in searches on Skyscanner (but that is starting from a low base). It may not be for everyone ­­ – average minus 22­ degrees Celsius in January, potent vodka and fermented horse milk on offer –– but from here you can get out into the steppes of the Gobi desert, in the steps of Genghis Khan. We’re talking serious travel bragging rights.

When to book: Book four months ahead with potential savings of up to 40 per cent on the average return airfare.

See Xi An

If you’ve seen Shanghai and been to Beijing, one of the new Asian hotspots is Xi An in Central China, the birthplace of Chinese civilization. It has 3000 years of history and is home to the thousands of Terracotta Warriors. Searches for Xi An in 2017 rocketed 101 per cent, so you’d better get your skates on.

When to book: Book four months ahead for up to 27 per cent savings on 2017’s average return fare of $728.

Cheap fare travel hacks

Register for price alerts with individual airlines, aggregators such as Skyscanner and Expedia, or apps such as iknowthepilot.com.au

Check exact dates for low, shoulder and high season. Even a few days before or after high season can save heaps.

Fare estimates and booking times have been supplied by Skyscanner Australia based on data from Australia from 2014­-2017.

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