Armchair Traveller

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How the Aussie dollar is making European travel cheaper than ever

How the Aussie dollar is making European travel cheaper than ever

With the Australian dollar still riding high against the euro (one dollar buys 78 euro cents at the current time), travellers' bang-for-buck is at its best.

Deal-watchers are jumping in earlier than ever to take full advantage of cheaper flights for both the coming European winter, and next year's European summer.

Tour companies Trafalgar and Contiki, owned by the Travel Corporation, have both seen a surge in European bookings at a faster rate than unusual.

Fiona Hunt, managing director of youth tour brand Contiki, tells ninemsn Travel that young travellers are acting fast to make the most of the value-for-money prices.

"The recent surge in the Australian dollar against currencies such as the euro and the pound, and the influx of deals we have seen as a result, has made travel to Europe and Britain more affordable than ever before, and thus more accessible to young Australian travellers," Fiona reveals.

"As such, we have seen a shift in booking trends. Rather than wait for potential last-minute deals, which are never guaranteed, 18-35 year olds are taking up earlybird offers in record-breaking numbers."

To respond to the demand, Contiki has released earlybird offers including a European airfare with China Southern Airlines for as low as $759 per person return (including taxes), when booked in conjunction with a minimum seven-day Contiki Europe tour.

Global touring brand Trafalgar has similarly seen a spike in European bookings.

"Now is absolutely the best time to make Europe travel plans, whether that is a last-minute European winter escape, or to lock in plans for 2013," Matthew Cameron-Smith, Trafalgar's managing director tells ninemsn Travel.

He adds that the European economy and a lowering of hotel prices across the continent has proved to be an advantage, rather than a hindrance, to his company.

"As a result of Europe's economy, hotel prices have fallen across the continent allowing Trafalgar to garner an even better buying power position, and present a price reduction of up to 13 percent across our range of guided holidays," Cameron-Smith adds.

Like Contiki, Trafalgar has been able to source cheaper European airfares with its partner airlines to entice potential travellers.

It's a different trend to the past, where travellers had to book even further advance to score a good deal. Savings can be made across all departure dates — "not just those departing in 12 months' time as was previously the structure", Cameron-Smith concludes.

Still, London and Paris will always be expensive cities to visit — a room at London's Four Seasons Park Lane will set you back around $1552 a night. Think of how many Monopoly boards you could buy with that!

Have you saved cash on a European holiday recently? Tell us below.

Hot Europe earlybird deals around at the moment:

Scenic Spain and Portgual nine-day tour for $1685 per person, twin share, includes accommodation, transfers and many meals. Destinations include Madrid, Toledo, Granada, Seville, Algarve, Lisbon, Fatima and Salamanca. Departures are available between 13 April and 19 October, 2013. Save 10 percent on bookings before December 27, 2012. For more info, visit

Fly from $759 with a September 2013 departure on Contiki's 33-day European Explorer tour to Paris, Barcelona, the French Riviera, Venice, Florence, Rome, Athens, Mykonos, Dubrovnik, Vienna, Munich, the Rhine Valley and Amsterdam. Total package is $6784 per person (twin share) flying from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. Earlybird airfares valid for departures between April 1 and May 31, 2013, and August 16 and October 3, 2013, and booked before December 27, 2012. For more info, visit

-Creative Holidays

Book an earlybird 2013 Europe airfare with Virgin Australia, Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines, and get $200 land credit to use on Creative Holidays' accommodation, transfers or tours. Flights start from $1829 when booked with Creative for Virgin and Etihad to Europe before December 31, 2012. For more, visit

-Search and compare flight deals here

-Search and compare hotel deals here

Related slideshow: Europe's best pick-up spots

Related Getaway video: London and Barcelona from above

Above image: Travellers enjoy the beach in Nice, France. Image: Getty.

User comments
Can anyone tell me the location in the picture?
It's easy to say we are getting ripped off but you have to factor in salaries. when I lived in France, my salary was less than half what I earn here. I met a French teacher here the other day who says she can't believe how much she earns here - more than double.
Hi have bee in Europe for the last 3 weeks and have another three weeks in the UK and i am astonished by how much Australians pay for everything. For such a successful country why are we punished so much? Three cource meal in Paris with a bottle of wine for about $60 AUS do that at home!
Can someone please let me know,at which Aussie bank you can get .78 euro to the dollar.More like .73 then the banks commision and charges come off that.Same as the American $ the excange rate is arround .97.The Pound is nearly double the Aussie dollar.All this talk about going overseas and buying them out,is with a high Aussie $ is utter rubbish.The Aussie dollar is only realy strong against the USA.God knows,what the price of petrol is going to be in Australia,if our dollar sinks much more?????It's $1.52 now and a barrel of oil is down to $93.We were paying these prices when oil was $120 a barrel

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