How do you decide where to go for your next holiday?
Heart? Head? Or pocket? You want top value for your holiday budget?
If you’re prepared to look about a bit, you may be able to get a bit of all three and have the perfect getaway. One of the most popular destination for Australian travellers continues to be Bali, which is the most affordable destination from every mainland capital except Brisbane.
To make it a little easier, Global flight comparison platform, Cheapflights have just released their Cheapflights Compass, a new annual research piece which identifies the most affordable destinations across the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.
Apart from the fare breakdown and comparisons shown in the helpful table below, the research also uncovered some other interesting snippets about the travel habits of the Aussie holidaymaker.
|1||Denpasar-Bali, Indonesia||$482||Denpasar-Bali, Indonesia||$494||Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea||$542||Denpasar-Bali, Indonesia||$482||Denpasar-Bali, Indonesia||$479||Denpasar-Bali, Indonesia||$284|
|2||Singapore||$559||Singapore||$511||Denpasar-Bali, Indonesia||$569||Singapore||$695||Dili, Timor Leste||$500||Singapore||$347|
|3||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||$561||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||$558||Port Vila, Vanuatu||$609||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||$722||Singapore||$510||Penang, Malaysia||$378|
|4||Port Vila, Vanuatu||$597||Penang, Malaysia||$630||Nadi, Fiji||$657||Johor Bahru, Malaysia||$786||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||$569||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||$379|
|5||Nadi, Fiji||$623||Langkawi, Malaysia||$649||Singapore||$688||Port Vila, Vanuatu||$805||Bangkok, Thailand||$645||Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam||$461|
|6||Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea||$643||Bangkok, Thailand||$655||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||$715||Nadi, Fiji||$805||Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam||$646||Phuket, Thailand||$477|
|7||Bangkok, Thailand||$644||Phuket, Thailand||$656||Honiara, Solomon Islands||$733||Bangkok, Thailand||$843||Phuket, Thailand||$657||Bangkok, Thailand||$478|
|8||Langkawi, Malaysia||$650||Nadi, Fiji||$673||Noumea, New Caledonia||$792||Phuket, Thailand||$854||Manila, Philippines||$715||Langkawi, Malaysia||$480|
|9||Penang, Malaysia||$651||Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam||$674||Manila, Philippines||$804||Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam||$868||Phnom Penh, Cambodia||$758||Yangon, Myanmar||$520|
|10||Phuket, Thailand||$705||Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia||$683||Penang, Malaysia||$844||Manila, Philippines||$890||Balikpapan, India||$767||Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia||$536|
|11||Shanghai, China||$710||Krabi, Thailand||$690||Phuket, Thailand||$852||Chengdu, China||$893||Yangon, Myanmar||$778||Krabi, Thailand||$563|
|12||Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia||$717||Yangon, Myanmar||$717||Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam||$853||Hong Kong, China||$901||Hong Kong, China||$805||Hong Kong, China||$573|
|13||Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam||$718||Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea||$719||Bangkok, Thailand||$853||Yangon, Myanmar||$915||Hanoi, Vietnam||$824||Phnom Penh, Cambodia||$590|
|14||Noumea, New Caledonia||$725||Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei||$725||Nuku’alofa, Tonga||$858||Phnom Penh, Cambodia||$941||Cebu, Philippines||$855||Chiang Mai, Thailand||$605|
|15||Manila, Philippines||$726||Shanghai, China||$737||Suva, Fiji||$889||Shanghai, China||$963||Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea||$905||Manila, Philippines||$615|
|16||Surabaya, Indonesia||$738||Taipei, Taiwan||$750||Chiang Mai, Thailand||$891||Chennai, Indonesia||$966||Davao, Philippines||$907||Hanoi, Vietnam||$624|
|17||Yangon, Myanmar||$739||Guangzhou, China||$763||Hong Kong, China||$905||Hanoi, Vietnam||$967||Kochi, India||$908||Taipei, Taiwan||$627|
|18||Hong Kong, China||$775||Siem Reap, Cambodia||$767||Yangon, Myanmar||$923||Siem Reap, Cambodia||$985||Hyderabad, India||$932||Kochi, India||$670|
|19||Phnom Penh, Cambodia||$780||Hong Kong, China||$770||Shanghai, China||$943||Cebu, Philippines||$991||Taipei, Taiwan||$966||Siem Reap, Cambodia||$678|
|20||Guangzhou, China||$782||Port Vila, Vanuatu||$772||Dalian, China||$952||Kochi, India||$994||Port Vila, Vanuatu||$982||Cebu, Philippines||$692|
|21||Cebu, Philippines||$801||Phnom Penh, Cambodia||$772||Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia||$952||Guangzhou, China||$998||Nadi, Fiji||$996||Da Nang, Vietnam||$706|
|22||Chiang Mai, Thailand||$808||Chiang Mai, Thailand||$773||Hanoi, Vietnam||$957||Dalian, China||$1,013||Ko Samui, Thailand||$1,035||Colombo, Sri Lanka||$711|
|23||Siem Reap, Cambodia||$817||Manila, Philippines||$774||Kaohsiung, Taiwan||$970||Wuhan, China||$1,030||Lucknow, India||$1,060||Chennai, India||$722|
|24||Harbin, China||$832||Noumea, New Caledonia||$799||Siem Reap, Cambodia||$971||Ko Samui, Thailand||$1,037||Colombo, Sri Lanka||$1,067||Shanghai, China||$736|
|25||Rarotonga Island, Cook Islands||$853||Nuku’alofa, Tonga||$823||Guangzhou, China||$971||Hyderabad, India||$1,044||Male, Maldives||$1,082||Guangzhou, China||$753|
According to their research, based on data collated from over six hundred thousand searches on Cheapflights.com.au in January 2016, Cheapflights Compass found that 70 per cent of all flight searches were to APAC destinations.
Getting the best fare, choosing the right destination
The research also showed that despite the most popular searches were for countries like New Zealand, India, Philippines, China and Sri Lanka, the results showed that there was potential for those willing to adjust their planned destination for a more affordable option. Thus, based on the national average for return fares, the top value airports include Indonesia, Thailand, Fiji, Malaysia and Singapore.
As examples they quoted a choice of Singapore, second cheapest from four cities over Manila, with a best spot of 9th from Brisbane and 10th from Adelaide. Also worthy on a mention was Shanghai, great for business or leisure, which loses to Kuala Lumpur on affordability, depending on your departure city.
Also offered as part of the presentation were a couple of travel hacks that can help the traveller looking for a good deal. While we agree that clearing your browser between your search sessions is a good way to go, their suggestion that booking on a Tuesday and choosing evening fares will get you the best price, may be good advice, it’s also useful to remember that airlines often run special price deals on certain days, at certain times. Virgin Australia has their Thursday Happy Hour, Scoot loves Tuesday morning, Tiger‘s a Tuesday pick as well, and Jetstar is always good to check during their Friday Frenzy.
The Cheapflights Compass state-by-state affordability breakdown also showed:
Aussies’ love affair with Bali is backed by its supreme affordability, with the airport ranked #1 most affordable across every state bar Brisbane (where it ranked #2) (What to say, visiting Bali’s a right of passage for most Aussies, so go for it!)
Up and coming Singapore trumped popular Bangkok, ranking #2 for departures from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, #3 for Darwin and #5 from Brisbane (Singapore is a great hub to fly on to other great destinations and you can often get great deals on stopovers But be warned – Singapore is pretty clean, much cleaner than most other South East Asian cities and the food is great. BUT – many of the dishes they claim as Singaporean actually originated elsewhere, so look in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and other parts of Malaysia in particular, for the ‘original and best‘!)
Malaysian airports performed strongly with Kuala Lumpur beating out the likes of Nadi, Bangkok and Manila to rank #3 from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, #4 from Darwin and Perth, and #6 from Melbourne (With the number of relatively inexpensive flights out of Kuala Lumpur International Airport to many regional destinations, this is definitely a winner. But do be careful when checking out the prices – the add-ons are getting more pricey.)
Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei featured as #14 most affordable airport for Melbournians (Possibly because there’s not much to do there and they don’t have (or didn’t) any duty free outlets.)
Myanmar’s Yangon emerged across the board as highly affordable option, well ahead of more traditional ‘off the beaten track’ destinations like Cambodia. (The hotels are a little on the expensive side, but one thing that’s definitely cheaper is a Singapore Sling – it will cost you only a third of the price in the Long Bar or Raffles Hotel in Singapore, if you enjoy it in the beautiful and elegant Strand Hotel in Yangon.)
…. Getting the ultimate deal requires balance across affordable airport, departure day and booking timing, so savvy Aussies will do their homework. This research provides an inspiration point, uncovering hidden gems that will allow locals to expand their horizons, but not their wallets. Cheapflights MD, Andrew Shelton
A few of the other additional key findings include:
- Try to fly out mid-week (While most Aussies seek to fly out on Thursday or Friday, by departing on Wednesday instead of Friday, consumers could save $25 per fare on average)
- It’s good to be organised early by you can still find good deals closer to your departure. (Booking two to six months in advance rather than one to two months ahead ultimately only delivers around $22 in savings per fare)
- Distance matters – the closer your destination the better fare you’re likely to get. (Darwinians are the most likely to choose APAC travel (49 per cent), followed by those in Perth (44 per cent) and Melbourne (42 per cent))
- Some still like to check out ‘home’ first. (Darwin and Adelaide are home to the top domestic travellers, with 35 and 34 per cent searching internal flights compared with just 21 per cent for Melbournians and 19 per cent for Sydneysiders)
- It costs less to have a cuppa coffee in the coffee capital of Oz if you factor in the ‘getting there‘ cost. (Melbourne is Australia’s most affordable domestic flight destination, based on a national average, closely followed by Sydney. It also wins on price when it comes to most affordable departure point for a Trans-Tasman trip at just $429 return compared with $860 for those in Darwin or Perth)
- Lots of East Coast-ers have friends and rellies in the land of the long white cloud, so this also makes sense – (With geography in their favour, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne locals are the most likely to cross the Tasman (10, 9, 8 per cent respectively)
….. and what’s Economy Traveller’s favourite ‘Hidden Gem’?
Some of our favourite destinations are well placed on the table, but one overlooked destination has to be Vientiane, Laos where we spent a great few days.
What’s not to like? Not much!
- The food – their sticky rice is ‘the best’ – eat a generous portion washed with tasty gravy and anything else you want – this writer could have been happy with just rice and gravy!
- The accommodation is inexpensive and the folk are laid back and friendly.
- There’s a ‘country town’ air to the city even though it’s the country’s capital and you can walk the whole city in a day or two.
- They have wonderful restaurants selling food from many countries and the French cafes sell great breakfasts and pastries – try almond croissants almost anywhere.
- The coffee is great, especially if you try the local beans, brewed french style.
- You can actually buy souvenirs that aren’t made in China!