13 cheap holiday destinations for budget travellers

Looking to get more bang for your buck while on holiday? According to research recently conducted by OnePoll together with global travel website Skyscanner in November 2022, around 97% of Australians planned at least one international vacation in 2023. The same research indicated that around one-third of those people are specifically looking for cheap holiday destinations where the Australian dollar will buy more and stretch further. 

With this in mind, we’ve obtained 2024 data from online e-commerce brand Wethrift, which has recently undertaken data analysis of global tourist hotspots, evaluating each on the affordability of public transport, average cost of tourist attractions and the price of accommodation in the city. And we’ve consulted Skyscanner travel expert Jarrod Kris on his recommendations for the best cheap holiday destinations to check out in 2024.

New Delhi, India

The Indian capital of New Delhi took out the top spot as the best cheap holiday destination for 2024 according to Wethrift. With historical monuments, food markets, attractions and up to 145 different flight routes, the city is not only affordable in terms of accessibility but also culture, dining and entertainment, too. Meals can be bought for under AUD$4 and accommodation can be found for less than $75 per night for two people.

India has become a top travel search and is trending upwards with flight bookings up by 21% on 2019 pre-pandemic levels. The Australian dollar currently stands strong against the Indian rupee, making India a great cheap holiday destination. “Take advantage of the current strength the Aussie dollar has over the Indian rupee and visit the heart of Bollywood cinema, Mumbai. Gaze upon the Gateway of India stone arch or explore the ancient cave temples on Elephanta Island, temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva,” says Jarrod. 

Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Taj Mahal, Agra, India. © Unsplash/ Sylwia Bartyzel

Hanoi, Vietnam

Nestled in northern Vietnam, Hanoi captivates visitors with its rich history, culture and bustling energy. From its ancient temples and colonial architecture to vibrant street markets and delicious cuisine, Hanoi is a fantastic cheap holiday destination. Depending on what time of the year you visit, a return trip to Vietnam can cost as little as $500 or as much as $1500. The Australian dollar performs well in Vietnam and coupled with the country’s lower cost of living, travellers can purchase a meal for less than $4, a coffee for less than $3, and a cheap beer for less than $2. 

City skyline of Hanoi in Vietname
Hanoi, Vietnam © Adobe Stock

Cairo, Egypt

The Egyptian capital of Cairo is a mesmerizing blend of ancient wonders and modern vibrancy. With iconic landmarks such as the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, Cairo attracts history enthusiasts from all over the world. Its busy souks, flavorful food and unique culture are a siren song for travellers seeking an authentic Middle Eastern experience. While the initial flight outlay may set you back, it’s cheaper to travel through Egypt than it is in Australia, Japan, North America and Europe. As far as cheap holiday destinations go, Cairo is fairly agreeable with the Australian dollar, which buys around EGP£31. Budget travellers and backpackers can generally get by with about £1500 per day with careful planning for food and accommodation. 

City skyline of Cairo, Egypt
Cairo, Egypt © Adobe Stock

Japan

“We know Aussies have an affinity for Japan so it comes as good news that the dollar is doing well there. Japan has been a destination for avid snow chasers for some time now, but in the summer Japan has just as much to offer,” says Jarrod. “There’s so much to explore this Japanese summer, such as the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces or the beautiful beaches of Okinawa.” 

Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo, Japan.
Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo, Japan. © Unsplash/ Denys Nevozhai

Buenos Aires, Argentina

“With the Aussie dollar performing well in Argentina, now might be the time to consider exploring roads less travelled. For those who have always dreamed of a South American escape, Argentina truly can show you more bang for your buck,” says Jarrod. “Argentina is famous for its stunning natural landscapes in Patagonia and its vibrant city life in Buenos Aires. Exploring the gem of South America also offers a culinary experience any foodie would die for.”

Iguazú Falls, Misiones Province, Argentina
Iguazú Falls, Misiones Province, Argentina. © Unsplash/ Derek Oyen

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and is one of the world’s most popular cheap holiday destinations. Bangkok has a vibrant street life, ornate temples and a mouthwatering culinary scene. Visit the Grand Palace and temples or do some shopping at the Chatuchak Weekend Market. The Australian dollar has always performed reasonably well against the Thai Baht, and today most Australian visitors can enjoy a pint for less than $3 and a three-course meal at a nice restaurant for two will only cost around $50.  

Boat on a river at sunset in Bangkok
Bangkok, Thailand © Adobe Stock

Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech, Morocco’s jewel of the south, beckons budget travellers with souks, palaces, ancient architecture, unique landscape and food scene. From the historic medina and its labyrinthine streets to the exotic gardens of Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech offers an immersive cultural experience. Food, drinks, accommodation and general transport costs in Marrakech are low, but can increase around tourist traps and big attractions. The Australian dollar currently buys around MAD6 Moroccan Dirham, making it one of the top cheap holiday destinations for budget travellers. 

The medina in marrakech at sunset
Marrakech, Morocco © Adobe Stock

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is a place where east meets west, where visitors can get a glimpse into a Byzantine past. From the majestic domes of Hagia Sophia to the riot of colour and action that is the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul offers a captivating blend of ancient marvels and contemporary charm. Turkey is a cheap holidays destination for budget travellers despite the rising inflation of the Turkish Lira, of which the Australian dollar buys around 21 Lira. Meals and accommodation can be priced from $80 to $150 per night, but general travel costs decrease as you venture further away from tourist hotspots. 

The Bosphorus River in Istanbul and Blue Mosque
Istanbul, Turkey © Adobe Stock

Indonesia

In South East Asia, Indonesian destinations such as Bali, Jakarta, Ubud and Seminyak should be on your travel bucket list, as the Australian dollar performs well against the Indonesian rupiah. The Australian dollar performs similarly against the Malaysian ringit, so a trip to Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kuching or Langkawi are also n the list for cheap holiday destinations.

Rice terraces with palm trees
Rice terraces in Tegallang, Indonesia © Unsplash/ Jamie Fenn

China

The exchange rate from the Australian dollar to the Chinese yuan currently works in Australians’ favour, so now is one of the best times to visit China’s biggest city, Shanghai, or see the palace complex of Forbidden City in Beijing. If you’re looking for cheap holiday destinations that offer culinary, culture and adventure, China is the place to go.

Cityscape, Shanghai, China.
Cityscape, Shanghai, China. © Unsplash/Edward He

Sweden and Norway

While the Australian dollar typically performs poorly against the euro, two outlying destinations make a European holiday a little more affordable for Australians right now: the Scandinavian countries of Sweden and Norway. The Swedish krona and Norwegian krone are currently kinder to the Australian dollar, so now is the time to book that trip to Stockholm or Oslo if you’re looking for cheap holiday destinations.

Red houses on rocky coastline in lofoten norway
Lofoten, Norway. © Unsplash/ Kym Ellis

Seoul, South Korea

If a sojourn in the urban metropolis of Seoul in South Korea has been on your wishlist, now may be the time to visit. The Australian dollar is strong against the South Korean won, and will afford you a fantastic cheap holiday destination filled with sightseeing, national parks, coastlines and unique experiences. 

Seoul, south korea
© Adobe Stock

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