Australia's Falling Dollar Means Travel Bargains for Americans

Oct 7, 2015
Australia should be your overseas winter destination, and here’s why.

The Australian dollar has slipped below US$0.70 for the first time since 2009. And because of investor flight, sinking commodity prices, and with the faltering economies of Greece and China, the currency likely has even farther to fall. An economist told The Sydney Morning Herald on Sept. 29 that he expects the Australian dollar to fall as low as US$0.60.

So, what does this mean for travel?

This winter, Americans will not only be able to bask in the Australia’s summer temperatures, they’ll be able to benefit from a countrywide "sale," where everything -- from food to excursions -- is essentially 30%-40% off. The depreciation of the Australian dollar means that international visitors will be able to stretch their money a lot farther -- which is why it’s really the best time to make that book that flight and visit.

4 bargains for travelers

Farmhouse Kings Cross is the No. 1 restaurant in Sydney on TripAdvisor, featuring a modern menu of regional favorites with communal wooden tables in a rustic space. The restaurant features a set menu for AU$55 per person, about US$39.60 as of Oct. 7, 2015. At this time last year, in October 2014, that meal would have been about US$48.


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In the Outback, a popular spot for visitors is Australian Age of Dinosaurs, a nonprofit education initiative to find and show off their discoveries to the world. Adult admission is AU$33/US$24 now, and this time last year it was US$28.


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With deals from Travelzoo, flights from the West Coast to Sydney start at $1225 roundtrip in a sale ending Oct. 16 from Air New Zealand. This sale discounts six of the most popular and diverse cities in the land Down Under.

Our colleagues in our Asia Pacific office are daily updating Travelzoo's Australia website with the latest hotel deals they've negotiated. Search by city or peruse their Top 20 for the hottest deals of the week.

What you need to know before you go:

Visa: Unless you are an Australian or New Zealand resident, you must have a visa to enter the country. There are several types of visas available at you nearest Australian consulate, including tourist visas and working holiday visas. Visitors must apply for a visa before leaving home. For more detailed information, visit the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.

Airlines: There are seven major designated international airports in Australia, but American travelers will find it easiest to find flights that land in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane, so we’d suggest having one of those cities as your launching point.

Currency: The Australian dollar

Calling code: The telephone calling code here is +61

Taxes: Australia has a high VAT (value added tax) on goods and services, ranging from 10%-17.5% depending on what you purchase (2014 rates). Remember that as tourists you can obtain refunds at the airport, so be careful to save receipts along the trip.

Tipping: Tipping is in no way expected or required in Australia. Most Australians do not tip, and it is illegal for a restaurant to add anything to the bill that is not specified in the menu. If you feel your service was exceptional, feel free to tip a little as many Australians would do that for great service.

What kind of travelers would enjoy Australia:

    • {X} Architecture & Design
    • {X} Adventure
    • {  } All Inclusive
    • {X} Arts & Culture
    • {X} Beach
    • {X} Culinary
    • {X} Escorted
    • {X} Family
    • {  } Golf
    • {  } Last Minute
    • {X} LGBT
    • {  } Luxury
    • {X} Nature
    • {X} Nightlife
    • {X} Romance
    • {  } Shopping
    • {X} Singles
    • {  } Spa
    • {  } Ski

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