Travel Tips to stretch your dollar further
It takes more than a dip in the dollar to get between a determined Australian and an overseas holiday. With a little bit of planning, savvy travellers can overcome an expected fall in the Aussie dollar by traveling smarter, not less.
Our dollar has been trading around the 93 US cents mark for much of 2014 after hitting a high of US$1.10 in July 2011. However, most economists expect the Aussie dollar to settle closer to 80 US cents sometime next year.
If the Aussie dollar is knocked off its perch, there are a number of strategies you can put in place before heading offshore that will ease the pain on your hip pocket. You could begin by investigating travel destinations where your purchasing power is increased.
The land of the cherry blossom tops the list of best value for money for Australian holidaymakers in 2014, according to travel booking site Expedia. But these days, visitors are more likely to be heading north in search of snow not cherry blossoms. Australian skiers have taken to Japan’s powdery snow in their droves. If temples, sushi and quirky fashion are more your style, Japan has a rich cultural heritage that is hard to beat.
Next on Expedia’s value list is Indonesia. Australians have adopted Bali as their own, but why not take a side-trip to Java’s ancient Buddhist temple of Borobudur next time you visit? Or do some islandhopping to Lombok, Flores or Komodo, home of the eponymous dragon? You can learn to dive, explore the forests or just sit by the pool.
Lonely Planet knows a thing or two about budget travel, and top of its list for 2014 is Greece. Visitor numbers have fallen in the wake of the financial crisis which turned Greece into the economic basket case of Europe. But the ancient Acropolis and the lazy charm of the Greek Islands are timeless, and all the more enjoyable while prices are low in an attempt to lure back the tourist dollar.
Portugal has always been a hit with the budget-conscious but it tends to be overshadowed by its brilliant, noisy neighbour Spain. The once-great seafaring nation offers quaint seaside villages, great food and wine, ancient architecture and the surf’s not bad either.
They lost to Germany in this year’s world cup and now they are in the thick of a currency crisis after defaulting on part of their foreign debt for the second time in 12 years. The proud Argentinians may be down on their luck, but they sure know how to live. In Buenos Aires, the ‘Paris of South America’, hotel prices have fallen. So tango, shop and eat your fill of grilled meat at recessionary prices.
Once you choose your destination, think about booking and paying for at least part of your trip up-front to lock in the current favourable exchange rate. And if you are worried that the dollar may fall before you depart, you could start making progressive cash transfers to a pre-paid travel card.
Speak to us at Beyond Bank about the Cash Passport travel card, which enables you to load up to nine foreign currencies on the one card¹. For more information, visit www.beyondbank.com.au/cashpassport
^John, General Manager Professional Services