The good news is that there are still plenty of places that are a great value for Australian travelers and 2016 is the perfect year to take that around the world adventure you’ve been dreaming of. Today we’ve got a list of ten countries that are still a great value for Australians, and we’ve even put together a sample trip to show you how it’s done!
- Start in Sydney and fly to Bangkok
- From Bangkok make the jump to Delhi
- Explore Eastern Europe from Bucharest
- Travel overland through Europe to London, because of it’s great flights west
- Make the long hop to Mexico City
- Head home via Auckland
Begin in Sydney and chase summer by flying north to Bangkok. Southeast Asia has always been a great value for Australians and it continues to be. Bangkok is easy to fly into.
From there, head across to Burma, it’s becoming more popular but is still further off the beaten track than Angkor Wat or Chiang Mai. (Okay, you should go those places too!) The point is, it’s easy to hop around Southeast Asia on a shoestring budget once you’re on the ground. Go explore!
Next, make the leap to Delhi. It’s a non-stop flight and will put you right where you want to be. India is a feast for the senses. Stay a month, drink it all in.
Enter Europe through Romania. Bucharest is a good place to start, then, travel overland to London. By bus is economical, but also uncomfortable. Our Romanian team members recommend the train instead. You’ll see the continent one little town at a time.
Mexico City is a metropolis worth immersing yourself in. It’s also a great jumping off point for overland travel all over Central America. Take some time, climb some ruins, explore Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. They’re all fantastic budget destinations and hopping buses is safe and easy.
Take your time heading home and detox for a while in New Zealand. Flying into Auckland is the obvious choice, but explore both islands as you remember what it feels like back on your side of the world.
You’ll be home by mid-winter with a great tan and stories to tell! The flights will only set you back about $4237 AUD
While it’s true that the Baht has gained against the Australian Dollar a bit this year, the AUD hasn’t lost as much, by comparison, as it has against some other currencies. Thailand is a relatively convenient and inexpensive flight from Australia and feels much further away than it actually is.
Thailand has something for everyone and can be made to tailor to any budget, if you’re looking for an excuse, we’ve got 10 reasons you should visit Thailand now. Because you’re starting in Bangkok, be sure to try these 8 dishes. The cheapest parts of the country are the northern highlands. The most expensive are Phuket and some sections of Bangkok. Beach holidays can be a bargain if you stay in small local places instead of five star, all inclusive resorts. Find out why Ayutthaya lives up to it’s name.
Travis Sherry of Extra Pack of Peanuts has this to add about Southeast Asia:
“How could any value travel list be complete without a nod to Southeast Asia. An already incredibly cheap, amazing part of the world is even cheaper now – my favorite meal in the world, khao soi in Chiang Mai has dropped from $1.10 a bowl to under $1! There’s a reason tons of people make the backpacker trail of Southeast Asia one of their main port of calls during round the world trips and that’s because the lifestyle that $1500 a month can get you is completely unparalleled.”
There was some fluctuation mid year, but, in general, the Australian dollar has continued to stretch just a tiny bit further in New Zealand than it does at home. The biggest thing that New Zealand has going for it, from the perspective of Australian travel, is it’s convenience. The price is comparable, but the flights there can be quite affordable, particularly if you’re willing to fly a discount airline, like JetStar and leave from one of the bigger cities on the east coast, like Brisbane, or Sydney. Deals can be had if you watch for them!
There is more to New Zealand than Auckland vs. Christchurch. In fact, Wellington is the urban gem of the country, as well as the capital. The museums are world class, the downtown is walkable and full of great little restaurants and cute shops. The botanical garden is gorgeous year ’round and the parliament tour is cooler than it sounds. Plan to spend some time on both islands, perhaps do some car camping to get off the beaten path. Explore the sex lives of glowworms in Waitomo. Wondering where to start? With the ABCs of New Zealand, of course!
The Canadians have had a rough year on the international currency exchange. Australians haven’t fared much better, but they’re ahead of their northern friends. That means that anywhere on Canada’s list of travel deals, is also going to be a great deal for Australians. At the beginning of 2015 the Australian dollar was worth 95 Canadian cents, now, it’s worth $1.05.
The best flights for getting to Canada run from Australia through either New Zealand or the Philippines. If you play your cards right you might be able to get a one week stop over in the Philippines at no added cost to your ticket. The trick is to search your outbound flight, a week later, at exactly the same time (and flight number) as you’d have transferred to on the same day.
The big key is NOT to connect through Hawaii, or anywhere else in the USA because your 90 day visa clock starts ticking the moment you step onto American soil, even if you’re just transferring through. If you intend to visit the USA after Canada (Why not, since you’re already that far away and they’re right next to each other?) it could mess up your plans.
Once you’re in Canada, it’s possible to travel for $60 a day! Explore Vancouver’s best kept secrets, and the lesser known charms of Eastern Canada if you want to travel where most tourists don’t. Eat your way through Quebec, and get up close and personal with polar bears in Churchill.
India is still inexpensive for Australians. With a wide range of options for many budgets, India remains one of the countries that is most flexible and accommodating, whether you’re backpacking on a shoestring, or looking for 5 star luxury resorts. The abundance of dirt cheap (and amazing) street food means that you can stretch your dollar even further.
More good news: India simplified their visa rodeo this year, which is great news for travelers. One way to applaud their forward thinking international policy in this area is to vote with your dollars and add India to your RTW plans this year.
What to do once you’re there? The possibilities are almost endless. Travel India by train, travel second class and see the country as it really is. Focus on yourself a bit, and take an inner journey of healing. Bravely explore the culinary delights of roadside eateries. Or, search for authenticity among the over-rated.
Burma is back. It has become a hot destination over the past couple of years. As the political situation stabilizes and Burma begins to open its doors to the world, the intrepid are heading there before it becomes a standard stop of the Southeast Asia tourist trail. The Australian dollar is worth more this December than it was at the same time last year, giving travelers one more reason add it to their trips.
Of course the American Dollar is still widely used alongside local currency. If you decide to take greenbacks, make sure that they are as close to pristine condition as possible. If you’re in Southeast Asia already, Cambodia is a good place to stock up, as the ATMs there dish out USD upon request. Clean $1 bills are preferred.
It’s easy enough to travel in Burma for $45 a day, and at that price it will be hard not to fall in love with it. If you’re captivated by Burma, then perhaps you want to look into how to plan an extended trip in Southeast Asia and spend a few months exploring the rest of the region as well.
If you’re interested in heading to Europe and are looking for a budget friendly country, then Romania is an excellent (and beautiful) choice. The currency exchange between Australian Dollar and New Leu is roughly the same as last year. Eastern Europe has always been an under traveled yet spectacular half of the continent. In the wake of the post-Soviet era, the history, culture, and feel of these countries is quite different from the western half of Europe. Romania is a progressive country with deep history, beautiful culture and fantastic food.
You’ll get more bang for your buck in Romania, which hasn’t joined the EU yet, and so retains its own currency.
Were you captivated by the Dracula stories in your youth? Visit Transylvania and tour the castle. Spend some time on more than a whirlwind tour of Bucharest. And find your own reasons to fall in love with Romania.
What’s happening in the wake of the plunge of crude oil prices this summer is worth noting for budget minded travelers. Azerbaijan, along with several other countries in the region, Kazakhstan and Russia included, moved to free float currencies within the past couple of months. As a result their currencies plunged, devaluing by as much as 50% overnight.
What does this mean? The whole country is like a 50% off sale for Australians right now, and for others with stronger currencies too. A classic stop on the silk road, flights are readily available from the major cities in Europe to the capital of Baku. Be sure to arrange your visa in advance. And, find out why the South Caucasus is Europe’s forgotten frontier.
Mexico is another one of the countries that has gotten to be an even better deal than it already was, for Australians, over the past year. It’s an old standby on the North American circuit. If you’re traveling to the other side of the world anyway, then definitely don’t miss it.
Once again, the difficulty for Australians with the US visa situation rears its ugly head. If you’re not going to apply for the extended visa in advance, then this is the best way to maximize your time on the continent: Fly into Canada (where you’ll get a 6 month tourist visa on arrival). Spend your six months, then cross, overland, into the USA and explore to your heart’s content for three months, and not a day more. Then fly into Mexico City and work your way south. Don’t miss Oaxaca, or San Cristobal de Las Casas.
Deb & Dave of The Planet D about the value of Mexico:
“There is a reason many professional digital nomads winter in Mexico and Central America, the rent, hotels, food and transportation are just too reasonable to pass up.”
The Australian dollar just keeps getting stronger, where the Uruguayan peso is concerned. What does that mean? It means that one of the best beach destinations in the world just got a little bit cheaper!
As a bonus, Uruguay is safe, clean and welcoming. Montevideo, the capital is in the top 3 cities in Latin America for quality of life. You won’t need to rough it here.
Namibia’s dollar has been slowly declining against the Australian Dollar this year. That’s good news for travelers looking to spend some time in one of the countries in southern Africa that has the best infrastructure and tons of options for exploration.
Head to the beaches to kite surf and hang out. Go driving in the desert. Take a safari, or camp independently around the national parks. Or, take the classic American road trip… across… Namibia? I’m in. Discover three ways to give back. Did you know that Namibia is home to the second largest canyon in the world? Neither did I. Fish River Canyon; we should go there.