The Countries Where The Aussie Dollar Goes The Furthest
You may be strapped for cash, but you can still take a holiday if you’re selective about your destination. The list of the cheapest countries to travel to might surprise you! Not all foreign currencies are equal, and there are some where the AUD will carry you through your holiday, cocktail in hand, and some where every meal will empty your bank account (looking at you, Pound Sterling).
There are two common ways of figuring out how far your Aussie dollars will go: the Big Mac Index and changes in the exchange rate. Created by The Economist, the Big Mac Index is exactly what it sounds like, comparing the price of a Big Mac in different countries around the world to determine the purchasing power of a certain currency. According to the Big Mac Index, these are the destinations where the exchange rate will make your holiday a little easier on the wallet.
As the world’s largest country, Russia also comes in at number one for value for money for Aussies, with a Big Mac costing 110.17 rubles or around AUD$2.47. From gorgeous, historic cities like St Petersburg to epic train journeys across the picturesque countryside, Russia is a dream for explorers looking to get off the beaten track.
At number two, a Big Mac in Argentina will only cost you 75 pesos or AUD$2.57 making it one of the cheapest countries for Aussie travellers to explore. First, eat, drink and dance your way through Buenos Aires, then head south to explore the mighty Andes where you’ll encounter fjords, forests, glaciers and can even make the cruise across to Antarctica.
In Turkey, a Big Mac will set you back 10.75 lira, or around AUD$2.74. The sprawling nation is well worth the trip, with Istanbul serving as the bustling cultural and geographical meeting point for Europe and Asia.
Cappadocia’s otherworldly rock formations and Pamukkale’s petrified waterfalls make Turkey a must for any nature-lover’s bucket list. (Just make sure to avoid the southwest region that surrounds the border with Syria.)
Despite tensions with Russia in western parts of the country, Ukraine remains a diverse and welcoming destination for budget travellers and it comes in at number four on our list of the cheapest countries to travel to. Here, a Big Mac costs 54 hryvnias or AUD$2.94, ranking it as the fourth cheapest destination for Aussies. You can marvel at the grand buildings in the capital of Kyiv, explore the country’s castles and beaches, and even check out what’s left of Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident.
The closest destination to Australia on this list, Malaysia comes in at number five according to the Big Mac Index, with a burger priced at 9.05 ringgit or AUD$3.12. Of course, you’re more likely to be making the most of the incredible street food in Kuala Lumpur, before heading further afield to snorkel around the islands off Sabah or hike in the Cameron Highlands.
South Africa, Taiwan, Romania, Moldova and Azerbaijan round out the top ten cheapest countries for Aussies to travel to by this measure. Popular destinations that also rank highly include Indonesia (11), Hong Kong (13), Mexico (14), India (15), Philippines (17) and Vietnam (20).
When it comes to exchange rates, the AUD has hit a ten-year low in 2019 which is… not great. However, there are some destinations where your dollar will buy significantly more of the local currency that it did last year, meaning it’s cheaper to travel to these destinations than it has been in the past. Argentina and Turkey make the list again, giving a solid indication that now is a financially smart time to visit. Using exchange rate movements, here are four more major countries where your dollar will go further that used to.
Although Iceland has a reputation for being on the more expensive side, the Australian dollar has gone from buying 78.92 Icelandic Krona this time last year to 87.80 Krona as of July 2019, for an increase of just over 11 percent. Famed for its volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, lava fields and glaciers, Iceland offers a natural wonderland for visitors, alongside the cultural attractions of the capital Reykjavik.
If you’ve been thinking of popping over into Georgia during your next European backpacking trip, now is the time. The Australian dollar has gone from buying 1.82 Georgian Lari this time last year to 2.03 Lari as of July 2019, for an increase of just under 12 percent. Tucked in between Turkey and Russia, Georgia was formerly part of the USSR but now draws travellers thanks to its hip capital Tbilisi, plus pretty Black Sea beaches and Caucasus mountain scenery.
The West African nation of Ghana is one of the continent’s hottest tourist destinations. The Australian dollar has gone from buying around 3.57 Ghanian Cedis this time last year to around 3.77 Cedis as of July 2019, for an increase of just under 6 percent. Visit the capital Accra for incredible food and historical monuments, then head to Mole National Park to get up close and personal with elephants, baboons, warthogs and antelopes.
A quick trip from Buenos Aires, little Uruguay is often unfairly overlooked in favour of South America’s bigger attractions. The Australian dollar has gone from buying around 23.05 Uruguayan Pesos this time last year to around 24.52 Pesos as of July 2019, for an increase of just over 6 percent. Hit up this progressive, safe country to take advantage of gorgeous beaches and the laid-back sophistication of Montevideo.
Colombia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Moldova, Madagascar, Mongolia, Haiti, Uzbekistan and Zambia also came in with positive exchange rate movements for Aussies. So if you’ve been dreaming of a getaway in one of these under-the-radar destinations, now’s the time to go to get the most bang for your buck.
Check out Qantas flights and begin your next adventure.
(Lead image: Alana Harris / Unsplash)