If you’ve done the Bali and Thailand thing and are looking for new ideas, you’ve come to the right place. Or perhaps you’ve noticed that Bali is no longer as cheap as it once was and believe you’re no longer compensated for the risk of contracting Bali belly? Here are our top picks for your next bargain holiday.
Following years of civil war, Sri Lanka has been a much-overlooked tourist destination. Boasting some of the most amazing beaches in the world and warm climate year-round, if a relaxing holiday by the beach has been calling your name then Sri Lanka is the go.
Want more of an adventure? Check out the Sigiriya fortress, where the landscaping is centuries ahead of its time, or wander through the Kandyan Kingdom of palaces and temples.
Like your cuppa? Tea fiends rejoice, as Sri Lanka (or formerly Ceylon) is home to more tea farms you could poke a stick at. If you’re interested in the history of tea, the Ceylon Tea Museum is right up your alley – finish the tour with a perfect brew.
If you’ve been keeping your ear to the ground, you’ll notice there have been some surprisingly cheap return airfares to Hawaii from the east coast. We love Hawaii as it has all the American shopping but without the long haul flight (and $$ fares!). Plus Hawaii enjoys perfect warm weather all year round.
Hawaii is famed for beautiful beaches and for good reason. The busy Waikiki beach is a must see, but should you want to enjoy a cheeky beverage in peace, we recommend venturing up north for less crowds and equally gorgeous views.
For a uniquely Hawaiian experience, swim with the manta rays, go whale watching or learn how to hula with the locals. Hungry? You won’t be, with endless ribs and burgers.
Another for those on the east coast, with flights departing departing Brisbane for around $500 return (at time of writing). You’d think that a holiday destination with such pristine beaches would break the bank, but it isn’t so!
Temperatures are at a perfect 26-31 degrees all year around, so you can relax by the beach, with the gentle sound of palm trees coaxing that blissful post-lunch siesta. Bringing kids? No worries, kids clubs are in abundance so they’ll be entertained while you do you.
If those unspoiled beaches weren’t calling you every day, check out the hot springs, mud pools and the tropical rainforest. Diving and snorkelling are also popular activities on the island.
Tempted to go to Thailand but want to try something new? Nearby Vietnam is more scenic and less touristy, with amazing vistas.
Capital, Hanoi, in the northern part of Vietnam has a blend of cultures including Southeast Asian, Chinese and French. You’ll feel this in the popular Old Quarter, with narrow streets lined with a mix of French colonial and Vietnamese designed buildings and a frenzy of trade.
The strong French influence can also be seen in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), in the southern part of Vietnam. They even have their own beautiful Notre Dame cathedral.
Here in Australia we get some exposure to Vietnamese food, especially now with the hugely popular Banh Mi. Don’t forget to try the real deal in Vietnam or warm the cockles with a steaming hot bowl of Pho.
Next door to Indonesia, Malaysia has the same warm tropical vibe, without that 50-50 chance of bumping into a neighbour, coworker and the guy who makes your Boost Juice. Enjoy the bustle of city life in capital Kuala Lumpur, luxuriate on the white sandy beaches of Langkawi or taste your way through foodie haven Penang.
Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures including Chinese, Indian, Portuguese, Dutch and the native Malays and so Malaysian cuisine is a unique hodgepodge of cultures. Try the laksa, char kue teow, roti canai or their famed chicken rice – it wouldn’t be a trip to Malaysia without putting on a couple of kilos! Feeling brave? Sample some of the pungent Durian fruit for the full culinary experience.
Keep an eye out on Skyscanner and you may even notice return flights to KL cheaper than to Bali!
Getting jealous of the lucky ones posting pictures on boats in Croatia or skiing down the Swiss Alps? Guess what we have just across the way?
Forgo the long haul flights, the high exchange rate and the overcrowded European cities and skip across the Tasman sea to New Zealand.
For the adventure seekers, head to Queenstown and bungy, ski, river raft, hike, bike and jet boat to your hearts content! Looking for culture? Visit Rotorua and experience Maori hospitality – learn how to carve and weave from the masters and cook your food in a hangi.
At Matamata on the North Island, Lord of the Rings fans can tour Hobbit on and peer into forty-four Hobbit holes throughout, while wine connoisseurs can meander through the major wine making regions of Hawke’s Bay (North Island) or Marlborough (South Island).
If you want to speed up your next adventure, check out our range of holiday loans and go forward with your travel plans.