Make 2020 the year of travel! Regardless of when your work lets you take holidays, I’ve compiled a list of the cheapest destinations for each month based on my handy cheap travel tool*.
*Prices displayed are based on previous searches, so are a guideline, however if you click the links provided, you can see live prices and availability. If you want last minute flight deals, you’ll find them here.
Low season in Australia is generally March and November but it can vary depending upon your departure city and your destination. Here’s some of the cheapest destinations to travel to, each month of 2020:
January – Melbourne
After a week in Melbourne, I was ready to move there. It’s far more liveable than Sydney. Amazing eateries, high street shopping districts rather than sterile malls, arts and music on every corner, and there’s direct flights to King Island from here, famous of course, for it’s cheese.
Looking for things to do in Melbourne? >> [Klook Exclusive] Phillip Island Nature Parks Penguin Parade Viewing Ticket and Attraction Pass.
February – Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam is perfect for the budget traveller. Incredible food, markets, awesome artwork including high quality recreations (paintings, not prints) of famous paintings by Vincent Van Gogh, Picasso, and Monet. Ho Chi Minh City is green and luscious, with plenty of shady spots to escape the heat, and read a book. Attend a cooking class and learn how to make those famous Vietnamese rolls. There’s more details in my podcast episode about Vietnam here.
February – Singapore
It’s been a few years since I was last in Singapore but little has changed. It’s spotless, has an amazing zoo and bird park, a fantastic science museum, amazing Indian food – served on banana leafs and now it even has Universal Studios. You can also catch a bus to Malaysia to visit Legoland.
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February – Bali
For many Australian’s, you can’t go wrong with Bali. It’s relatively cheap, it’s has fantastic food, cheap massages, markets, shopping, beaches, a big choice of nice hotels at decent prices, plus it’s only 6 hours away. My relatives go every year. However personally I prefer Lombok which is a short flight or boat ride away.
March – Bangkok
My experience of Thailand goes back to my big trip at 11 years old and I haven’t been back since. I’m sure there’s plenty of good reasons to visit like temples, shopping, and incredible food but I’m not the person to tell you that. Instead, here’s a tourism video:
March – London
Living in London meant I was able to fulfil my Portishead obsession, spending weekends searching through record bars and secondhand shops searching for rarities. I found many including Radio Only Single Releases but then most got lost in the fire (cool story I know). For everyone else, there’s Harry Potter sites galore, history, movie locations, bookshops, pubs and more museums than you could visit in a lifetime (probably).
April – Tokyo
Ah Tokyo. One of my favourite cities in the world. Harajuku and the pedestrian crossing at Shinjuku is straight out of the future. Shinkansen and bento boxes complete the picture. Note that if you go to Tokyo, you must bring me back (or send me) some Tokyo Banana – it’s a rule. There’s also Disneyland and Disneysea, from Tokyo you can climb Mt Fuji – much harder than it looks and of course, it’s the perfect base to explore the rest of Japan.
May – Manila
Manila is a giant traffic jam, luckily taxis are cheap. Besides this, it has Ocean Park which makes a cool place to visit on a hot day, huge pristine malls with outstanding food courts and all the top notch eateries you don’t find easily in Australia like TGI Fridays and local eateries like Racks and Jollibee. McDonald’s serves rice as an option instead of French fries. They also service spaghetti, and there’s someone employed to top-up your gravy for your chips. If that’s not a reason to go, I don’t know what is.
But with over 7000 islands to explore, and considering their tourism slogan is ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines‘ I think that says it all. Philippines offers incredible snorkelling, diving, beautiful beaches and super friendly locals. Plus it’s cheap.
June – Christchurch
Christchurch is flat and endlessly quiet. After the last big earthquake, it’s also a city under almost permanent roadworks and repair. However, that also makes it fascinating. I loved the Antarctic Centre (make sure you get there early as everything is on a set schedule) which puts you in a blizzard! Nearby is Akaroa, famous for swimming with wild and rare Hector’s dolphins plus the Barry’s Bay cheese factory. Also worth tracking down is the Cheesemongers at the farmers market. I wrote a poem which summed up, what it was like to wander the streets of Christchurch, a few years after the earthquake. You can hear it at the end of this podcast episode.>> Akaroa Swimming with Dolphin
July – Take a road trip to Broken Hill (Mad Max Country)
July isn’t cheap to travel anywhere. It’s winter holidays here, it’s summer holidays elsewhere, but it is the perfect time to visit the outback. Broken Hill is a 12 hour drive from Sydney, once you’re past Dubbo, it’s pretty much straight roads all the way. There’s wild emu and kangaroos that race alongside your car, but not far from Broken Hill is the town of Silverton which features a Mad Max 2 museum, and the movie (along with many ads) are filmed nearby. Just past Silverton is an incredible lookout that gives you a sense of how flat, dry and massive Australia really is. You don’t need a four wheel drive, all roads are sealed.
On the way back, you can take a detour up north to Bourke. North of here is proper red-sand outback. Bourke itself features as a unique part of Australia’s history and the cotton fields (north of Bourke), are a weird and wonderful sight worth stopping for. I love road trips through small country Aussie towns and Broken Hill and Bourke are about as Aussie as you can get.
Need a great price on car hire? You’ll find it here.
August – Los Angeles
I’ve had mixed experiences with L.A. Sometimes I loved it, other times I hated it. Depends on the company you keep. Many times I’ve stayed at the Backpacker’s Paradise hostel in Inglewood which features a pool, $36/night bunk beds including breakfast and afternoon tea, cheap margaritas (used to be $1), free airport shuttle, free shuttle to downtown L.A and Venice beach. Nearby is a shopping centre which has a cinema and a decent foodcourt.
Many people mocked me for staying in Inglewood, but I never had any troubles. However the theme parks is what L.A is good for. They’re all here – Disneyland, Universal Studios (including Harry Potter Land), Knotts Berry Farm, and Legoland.
Venice Beach is nice for a wander, but it’s mostly full of tourists. A few streets back, is a domed cinema. I saw that alien movie with Charlize Theron and Johnny Depp, there and it was incredible. Up in the Hollywood Hills there was an amazing vegetarian Thai restaurant, not sure if it’s still there, but if anyone knows it, please comment!
Get free entry to dozens of attractions with the Go City Card.
August – Auckland
Auckland is a smaller version of Sydney and a good stepping stone to get to New Zealand’s other main attractions like, New Plymouth, the Forgotten World Highway, Wellington and Palmerston North. It’s often cheap to fly to NZ, especially with Jetstar, but Air NZ sales are usually worth hanging out for with bags and some free entertainment.
September – Queenstown
Queenstown is a tourist Mecca. You’ll never be bored. Here’s the top things to do in Queenstown:NZONE Skydive Queenstown
Shotover Jet Boat Ride
Te Anau Glowworm Cave Tour
The Nevis Swing
Glenorchy Lord of The Rings Tour
Kawarau Bridge Bungy
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise Tour
TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise
October – Honolulu
I once met Rod Stewart in a bar in Waikiki, true story. Waikiki has a nice beach, beautiful shops, and a relaxed holiday vibe, but if you want the real Hawaii, you’ll explore elsewhere. North Beach on the other side of the island is a surfing hotspot and less tourists than Waikiki or go to another island entirely. Rent a Harley or a bicycle to cruise around town.
October – Rio de Janeiro
Never been, but I have a Brazilian friend and she recommends Sao Paulo. Carnival is in March, there’s a big statue of Christ and everything else I know is what I’ve seen in Fast and the Furious Five. I could have lied and googled it, but I’m not about being fake. I’d love to visit Argentina which is next to Brazil though.
November – Seoul
Cheaper than Japan, Seoul offers late night shopping, every night (usually until 4am), temples, awesome food, I got a great haircut for like $12 and it offers a chance to see a glimpse of North Korean life at the Demilitarised Zone at the border. It’s cheap to travel to Japan from here, if you wanted to combine the two.
November/December – Rovaniemi
Rovaniemi is in northern Finland, above the Arctic Circle and is the home of Santa Clause. I talk about it in my podcast, Jade Talks Stuff Episode #11. There’s an underground theme park, run by elves. You can have a photo with Santa Clause (on the shelf there’s books – list’s of all the good kids). It might be cheaper to fly to Helsinki and then catch a train to Rovaniemi. If you plan on catching a few trains (maybe to Sweden to stay in the Ice Hotel or across to Norway to do the Oslo to Bergen railway), it might be cheaper to buy a Scandinavian Rail Pass.
November/December – New York
You can’t beat New York at Christmas. It’s magical, just like in all the movies. The Christmas tree at Rockefeller place, Ice Skating in Central Park, Gingerbread latte’s at Starbucks, Christmas lights at Dyker Heights (which I sadly missed), but Macy’s and many other stores have beautiful window displays. If you depart in November, it’s a bit cheaper than December (also note, airfares are only available to search less than 12 months in advance).
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