With the Easter holiday period fast approaching and winter steadily on its way, now’s the time to get your holiday plans in order for the rest of 2017! Unfortunately as Australians we’re at a bit of a disadvantage given our distance from basically everywhere (sigh), and the cost it takes us to get there (also sigh).
So to help you stretch your travel dollars further, we’ve tracked down seven of the hottest destinations of 2017 which are easy on your wallet - especially with some killer exchange rates on offer.
The Aussie favourites
1. Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia
A perennial favourite for Australian travellers, the Malaysian capital is more than just the 450m high Petronas Towers (but the view is pretty amazing). For the food lovers out there, Kuala Lumpur will be a city of wonder with an amazing variety of Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisine, not to mention the vast array of markets to explore.
Better yet, Kuala Lumpur had the cheapest hotel rooms in the world for Australians in 2016, so you’ll be able to redirect some of that travel cash towards what really matters - your stomach.
Currency Check: It’s good news for Aussie travellers, with the Australian Dollar currently up 8.5% on the Malaysian Ringgit since this time last year.
2. London - United Kingdom
The post-Brexit world may be a deeply divided one, but there’ll be no division amongst Aussie travellers looking for a summer (or winter) jaunt around old London Town, with news that flights are down a whopping 25% from this time last year. Yes the coffee’s basically dirt, but London more than makes up for it with a rich variety of museums, galleries, parks, pubs, history, awesome food and brilliant shopping. Just make sure you keep the costs down on your London purchases by finding a travel-friendly credit card with no overseas transaction fees.
Currency Check: While it’s never in our favour, the Aussie Dollar is up 20% (yes that’s awesome) against the British Pound compared to this time last year.
3. Queenstown - New Zealand
If adventure’s the name of your game and you don’t mind some seriously stunning scenery thrown in the mix, then there’s really nothing on our doorstep that quite compares to the majesty of Queenstown.
Whether you’re keen to hit the slopes, bungee jump, skydive, jetboat, or just hike through the amazing terrain, then New Zealand's snow capital is the place for you. If you’re keen to ski or board then the earlier you buy a lift pass the better (Hint: massive discount), and make sure you’re covered with snow travel insurance because most regular travel insurance won’t cover your gear or any snow-related injuries.
Currency Check: While the Aussie Dollar is 2 cents down on the New Zealand Dollar compared to this time last year, it has shown a recent resurgence and remains above parity.
4. Bali - Indonesia
The Aussie love affair with the idyllic Indonesian island is still very much alive, with flocks of tourists making the short flight across the Timor Sea each year. With plenty of options from surfing and nightlife to amazing scenery and spas, Bali really does have something for everyone.
Best of all for Aussies seeking a cost-efficient holiday, island life still remains relatively cheap when it comes to cost of living, while flights from every major Australian city make it a breeze to get to. If you are off to Bali for a bit of a party make sure you’re aware of the specifics of your travel insurance policy, because your cover may not apply after too many drinks.
Currency Check: With the Aussie Dollar up 3% on the Indonesian Rupiah since this time last year you’ll get some real value for money in Bali.
Off the beaten track
5. Warsaw - Poland
Are you a Europhile looking for a new adventure, or just a history or culture buff? Well the Polish capital Warsaw, aka the new Berlin, might be your answer. Despite almost being levelled during World War II you can’t escape the city’s amazing history, with a number of museums to pique your interest.
If history’s not your thing then get excited for Warsaw’s amazing range of restaurants, bars and the vibrant nightlife. Make sure to book your trip during the European summer though to really see the city and the locals come alive!
Currency Check: The Aussie Dollar is currently up 7.5% on the Polish Zloty in the last year, making it one of the most value-friendly places to visit in Europe.
6. Mendoza - Argentina
Situated near the country’s western border, the food and wine capital of Argentina is actually far closer to Santiago in Chile than Buenos Aires. Abundant with wineries, restaurants and all things good to eat, you won’t struggle to find a glass of the red or white stuff in Mendoza - the region alone produces over two thirds of Argentina’s wine. If food and wine’s not your thing (who are we kidding) then you could always make a day trip to the nearby Andes, which includes the largest peak in Americas (Aconcagua).
Currency Check: If there’s a time to see Argentina it’s now, with the Australian Dollar up 75% against the Argentine Peso in the last two years. Just make sure that you exchange your Aussie Dollars for Argentine Pesos online, and not at the airport, because you’ll get much better value for money.
7. Paramaribo - Suriname
2017 could be the year you turn Suriname from a trivia answer to your travel destination of choice! The former Dutch colony, and smallest country in South America, packs a big punch for its size - especially the country’s high energy capital Paramaribo, which contains a melting pot of cultures set against its architecturally dazzling inner city (which is a UNESCO world heritage site).
Outside of the capital you’ll be able to take advantage of the natural beauty of the country by checking out the Galibi Coppename coastal nature reserve or Brownsberg Nature Park. Unfortunately credit cards aren’t widely accepted in Suriname and some businesses quote their prices in Euros or US Dollars, so it will be a good idea to bring along a travel-friendly debit card with no foreign ATM withdrawal fees so you’ll always be able to have cash on hand.
Currency Check: Suriname is another hit for Aussie travellers, with the Aussie Dollar up 90% against the Surinamese Dollar since this time last year.