With the Aussie dollar continuing to slump against the greenback, the time of living like kings abroad looks over. Are Australians doomed to travelling the world on a shoestring once again, the dollar worth less than a handful of clamshells?
Money picture from Shutterstock
Not so fast. We may be getting a raw deal against the US dollar, the UK Pound or the Euro, but there are still some countries whose currencies the AUD is doing quite nicely against. These destinations are cheaper than they were a year ago.
1. Papua New Guinea (up 11.3%)
Not everyone’s first choice of South Pacific bliss compared to Fiji or Vanuatu, PNG still has a lot to offer and the Kina (PGK) has slumped against the Aussie over the past year. Water sports and outdoor activities are the main attractions. The reliance on imported goods and a lack of market competition means that Port Moresby is pricier than you’d expect, so find the best value in surrounding villages.
2. South Africa (up 7.5%)
Great news for Australia’s South African expats considering a trip home — they’re 7.5 per cent richer against the Rand (ZAR) than a year ago. If you want to feel like a billionaire, pop over the border to hyper-inflated Zimbabwe where – at least before they axed the Zimbabwe dollar – you could get several hundred trillion for a single Aussie.
3. Turkey (up 6.8%)
As near to Europe as you can get while staying out of the currently costly Eurozone, it’s worth taking advantage of Turkey now in case it ever does join the EU and lose its currency advantage. The days of being a literal millionaire may be over – Turkey dropped six zeroes off its Lira (TRY) in 2005 – but it’s still highly affordable with prices around 40 to 50 per cent cheaper than neighbouring Greece, according to Expatistan. Plus more ancient ruins than you could hope for.
4. Indonesia (up 5.6%)
Right on the doorstep which also brings flight prices down, Indonesia’s Rupiah (IDR) has been languishing against the dollar. If recent events make Bali seem a bit of a scrum try the volcanic scenery and white sand beaches of East Java or Sumatra’s UNESCO World Heritage rainforest. They’re both over 25 per cent cheaper than Bali as well, according to Numbeo.
5. Russia (up 1.9%)
After the chilly glitz of the Sochi Winter Olympics, Russia’s tourism profile is higher than ever. With the Aussie buying more rubles (RUB) than a year ago, Moscow is about a third cheaper than Sydney or Melbourne – head up to Siberia and you’ll get an even better deal. Even though Russia’s government recently hiked the price of vodka, a half-litre bottle is still a fifth of the price you’d find in Australia.
While these destinations offer great value, don’t forget the exchange advantage can be wiped out if you don’t pay attention to travel money fees and charges. Avoid obvious pitfalls such as exchanging money at airports and don’t take too much cash in case you lose it. Also keep a very close eye on your credit card for fraud and/or excessive fees.