Best ‘bang for your buck’ holidays

Signs are pointing to a fall in the Aussie dollar, which means it’s more important than ever to find a holiday destination where your dollars travel further.

There are several factors to consider when trying to find a cheap holiday spot that doesn’t fall short on features, but our friends at RateCity have narrowed it down to just a few: the relative strength of the dollar, proximity to Australia, popularity for holiday-goers and breadth of reasonably priced accommodation options.

With that in mind, here are the destinations that come out on top.

Phuket, Thailand
Phuket is known for its sprawling beaches and bustling nightlife, but there’s also plenty for travellers who want a bit of quiet rejuvenation and local street fare. It also ranks as RateCity’s top ‘bang for your buck’ destination, at an average of $138 a night in the high season for a four-star hotel. Food and transfers are similarly cheap, which makes it a great pick for a mid-year break. 

Bali, Indonesia
Indonesia is the most popular destination for Australian travellers, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), and with a wealth of beaches and eco resorts it’s not surprising. RateCity calculated that a four-star hotel, on average, would set you back about $174 a night, but there’s a huge variance depending on how luxe you want to go. Before you leave, don’t forget to find a debit card that won’t penalise you with hefty overseas conversion fees.

Nadi, Fiji
Fiji is a haven for resort-goers and is about a four- to six-hour flight from the east coast of Australia (and about eight hours from the west coast). If you can score a cheap flight deal, you can splurge more on accommodation. According to Expedia, the average hotel room retails for $494, but a step down to three-star costs travellers an average of around $194 per night.

Wellington, New Zealand
For travellers prepared to rug up, Wellington has a variety of high-end hotels for less than $200 a night and car rentals for less than $100 a day. It’s also a short three- to four-hour flight from the east coast of Australia. The Aussie dollar is slightly stronger than the NZ dollar too.

Cairns, Australia
One way to beat the Aussie dollar’s decline is to stay local and save those conversion fees for day trips.  Cairns is warm most of the year and has hundreds of accommodation options. A short three-hour flight from Sydney and four-hour flight from Perth will get you to the doorstep of myriad natural wonders, including the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest.

Kate Cowling is personal finance editor at RateCity.com.au.

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