5 global hot spots where you can still live like a king

Huts standing in crystal clear water

Now that the Aussie dollar is slumping back down below 90 US cents, are we doomed to be the world’s poorest tourists once again? Here are five global hot spots where you can still live like royalty.

When the Aussie dollar was above US$1, Australians were living it up overseas. With some crafty planning, you can still get the holiday of your dreams as long as you pick the right destination. Here are five global hot spots where you can live like royalty, as well as some tips for getting the most from your money overseas.

Vietnam

A popular location for digital nomads, Vietnam recently opened its first McDonald’s and got added to the Economist’s Big Mac Index, which compares the cost of a Big Mac burger worldwide – it ranks the Vietnamese dong as heavily undervalued. Not that you’ll want to eat burgers with the foodie delights of Hoi An on offer, or the French patisseries in Hanoi.

India

Bottom of the Big Mac Index at US$1.54 burger with the rupee considered highly undervalued, India’s vast population makes labour cheap, bringing tourism costs down. Food, travel and accommodation are all super affordable and everyone should see the Taj Mahal in their lifetime.

Japan

Japan was listed as the top emerging destination for Australian tourists on the Expedia foreign exchange index, which ranks destinations whose currencies fell furthest against the AUD over the past year. With the Aussie dollar stretching further in Japan than it does back home, enjoy skiing, cherry blossom season, or get lost in translation in Tokyo.

Indonesia

Right on Australia’s doorstep, which brings international flight costs down, your Australian dollar will still go a long way here. The Indonesian rupiah has languished ever since the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, and was ranked fourth in the world by the Expedia foreign exchange index. If you’re bored of Bali, check out the Sumatran tiger or Java’s amazing surf.

Greece

If it’s a European getaway you’re after, the Greek islands should be high on your agenda. Still suffering the after effects of the global financial crisis, Greece offers good value for tourists wanting a luxury island getaway. Visit spectacular Santorini and relax at a hilltop resort, or gawk at the Acropolis in Athens. Greece topped Lonely Planet’s best value European destinations in 2014 and there’s never been a better time to island hop.

Top tips for maximising your holiday money

1. Be prepared

Foreign exchange fees can be high, meaning you’ll get far less than the official interbank rate when you buy foreign currency. Airport booths are notoriously bad value, so if you want to take some local cash with you, buy it before you go.

2. Watch out for fees

Once you’re there, make sure you’re using the right credit card or you could get slugged with hefty transaction fees. Look for a specialist travel-oriented credit card with no currency conversion fees or any international transaction fees on purchases.

3. Protect yourself

Do all you can to avoid theft and loss. Keeping all your money in one place – in cash – is a huge mistake. Use plastic as often as you can. You can also get purchase protection insurance. Make sure your card has an emergency 24/7 lost or stolen contact number if the worst does happen.

Once you have your money sorted out, keep costs down further by going local. Fancy hotels and high-end restaurants are a money drain in any destination. Go self-catering, find eateries that locals frequent or eat street food. You’ll get a much more authentic experience, and probably better food, for a fraction of the price.

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