It was a good time to be an international traveller (or an online shopper) on Friday, as the Aussie dollar jumped to a two-year high against the greenback, bagging a cool 81 US cents.
You had to be quick to bag a bargain though - by Monday it had slipped back down to 80.58 US cents. But the good news for anyone craving an overseas holiday is there are still plenty of great holiday destinations where the Aussie dollar is going strong.
To help you plan a frugal trip away, we’ve rounded up five of our favourite holiday spots where Aussie globetrotters can now get more bang for their buck than this time last year.
1. Tokyo - Japan
Equal parts bustling modernity and serene history, a trip to Tokyo is an experience like none other.
We recommend in Tokyo: Film buffs, make sure you check out the Ghibli Museum, designed by animator Miyazaki Hayao, the man behind movies like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. Make sure you pick up your tickets in advance, and catch the minibus leaving from Mitaka Station every 20 minutes to get there. A round trip will set you back ¥320 (AU$3.76).
Currency check: At the moment, the Aussie dollar buys about ¥87.24 - that’s a +13.01% increase since this time last year!
2. Queenstown - New Zealand
Just a hop skip and a jump away, neighbouring New Zealand is a hot favourite for Aussie travellers. And if a holiday is more about getting your heart racing than relaxing by the pool, Queenstown is the place for you.
Photo by Cynthia Andres
We recommend in Queenstown: They don’t call Queenstown the ‘Global Adventure Capital’ for nothing. But if you’re not quite up to jumping out of a plane, white water rafting is our next pick to get the adrenaline pumping. The price will depend on how long you go for and with what company, but it should set you back around NZ$170 or AU$153 for about 4 hours.
Currency check: With a 8.04% increase since this time last year, you can currently cash in every one of your Aussie dollars for NZ$1.11.
3. Hong Kong - China
Cuisine, culture, shopping - this bustling metropolitan has something for everyone!
Photo by Chester Ho
We recommend in Hong Kong: Don’t leave Hong Kong until you’ve taken a ride on a Star Ferry. If you’re travelling on the cheap, take a trip from Kowloon to Central, which will set you back HK$2.50 - HK$3.40 (AU$0.40 - AU$0.54) for an adult ticket. For those with a little more cash to burn, you can jump on an hour-long harbour tour for HK$80-200 (AU$12.72 - AU$31.80).
Currency check: The Aussie dollar has had a 7.52% rise against it’s Hong Kong counterpart since last year. At the moment, AU$1 will bag you around HK$6.29.
4. London - Britain
From expats, to backpackers, to five-star travellers, it seems no Aussie can resist the allure of London.
Photo by Aron Van de Pol
We recommend in London: If you’re an art lover, you can’t go past Tate Modern. Housing artists like Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, and Jackson Pollock, this is one gallery we’d happily spend hours wandering in. Entry to see the permanent collection is free, but you can pick up an audio guide for £4 - AU$6.55.
Currency check: The Aussie dollar only buys £0.6105 at the moment, but that’s 7.44% more than this time last year.
5. New York City - USA
New York, New York! The Big Apple has a place on many travellers’ bucket lists - and for good reason!
Photo by Todd Quackenbush
We recommend in New York: The perfect way to see more of New York City? From on high at the Empire State Building. To get to the 86th floor observation deck will set you back US$34 (AU$42.26) - to make it to the observation deck on the 102nd floor, you’re looking at US$54 (AU$67.12). It’s also worth paying the US$2 fee (AU$2.49) to buy your tickets ahead of time, so you can skip the queues.
Currency check: If you’re heading to the States, your Aussie dollar will buy US$0.8047 at the moment - not quite as much as it might have on Friday, but still 6.75% more than this time last year.
Head over to our foreign exchange calculator to check out the exchange rates on offer from a range of providers right now. And before you travel, make sure you pick up a prepaid travel card to lock in a great rate!
While these overseas destinations are sure to bag you a cheap and wonderful holiday, if you’re staying in Australia this year, never fear! There’s heaps of fun to be had at home too - for example, check out this list of ways to live it up for less in Sydney.
Please note: Rates correct at time of writing (11/9/17), but are subject to change. Please check current exchange rates before travelling or shopping overseas.