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STA reveals top travel destinations for 2016

Australians are a well-travelled bunch. While our weakened dollar might make you think twice before booking a holiday this year, there are still some truly fantastic destinations that won’t break the bank.

Offering fashionable and affordable adventures since 1979, STA Travel definitely knows a thing or two when it comes to bang-for-buck holidays. “With the uncertainties surrounding our dollar, travel in 2016 is all about value. The great news is there are plenty of amazing destinations that are budget friendly,” STA Travel’s Head of Marketing Tara Sena-Becker says.

Here are STA Travel’s top 10 best value destinations for 2016:

UK – In 2016, Aussies’ love affair with London is set to continue. “With all core airlines offering flights to London, make sure you keep an eye out for some great deals. You can save hundreds if you buy the ticket at the right time,” Tara suggests. Been there, done that? Think outside of the box and visit Northern England! Manchester is a city that celebrates football and fine food. Nearby Liverpool is packed with galleries, museums and an exciting music scene. If you are a fan of The Beatles, The Beatles Story Experience with STA Travel is a must (from $29)

USA  – One of the world’s favourite destinations, there are even more reasons to visit the USA in 2016. In addition to the presidential election, 2016 holds historical significance for many cities across America. The U.S. National Parks Service will officially celebrate its 100th anniversary on August 25, and there will be free admission to all 59 US national parks during the official season opening weekend on April 18 and 19 – the ideal inspiration for a road trip across the nation. If you are more a city person and have always wanted to see New York and Los Angeles in person, there are some terrific tours that showcase the best of USA with a very affordable price tag.

North Cascades National Park, Mt. Shuksan and Picture Lake in the fall

Bali – There are plenty of reasons why Bali is one of Australia’s favourite overseas holiday destinations, but high on the list is the fact that the ‘Island of the Gods’ represents great value. The local food is delicious, dining out is inexpensive, the scenery is idyllic and it’s easy to live like royalty without forking out thousands, which means that our love for Bali is likely to continue unabated for some time to come.


Cuba – Crowned the 2015 travel destination of the year by Travel + Leisure, Cuba might not be on your travel radar yet, but this is set to change in 2016. Now most embargoes have been lifted and with three major USA carriers expected to offer direct services from Australia to Havana, Cuba is going to become a ‘hot’ destination for Aussies very soon. An insider’s tip: “Stay ahead of the tourists and experience this spectacular and passionate country now before it becomes too touristy and expensive. The island practically buzzes with energy and you should do likewise – get moving!”

Street scene with vintage car and worn out buildings in Havana, Cuba.

Japan – It seems that Australians just can’t get enough of this land where modern meets tradition. “We have seen strong growth in Japan, especially Tokyo, in the last 6 months, and we expect this trend will continue in 2016,” Tara says. Japan’s unique culture is best exemplified by its capital, Tokyo, with its mix of buzzing retail precincts alongside tranquil gardens and palaces. With major airlines like Qantas, Jetstar and Singapore all offering direct flights from Australia to Tokyo, there will be plenty of deals floating around throughout the coming 12 months for canny travellers.


Greece – With countless islands, ancient architecture and rich culture, Greece remains a top-tier travel destination for Australians. The cost of holidaying in Greece is now considerably lower than it used to be, and Athens is also a relatively cheap entry point in to Europe. There are plenty of packages and deals on accommodation available. For art and history enthusiasts, take advantage of 50% discounts during the off-peak season.


Thailand – Thailand is the long-standing travel magnet for Aussies and still one of the cheapest long-haul holiday options despite the fall in the value of our dollar over the past couple of years. The price of accommodation, transport, shopping and entertainment all still offer incredible value – and who can say no to the delicious, yet affordable, authentic Thai food?

Temple of the Emerald Buddha, ( Wat Phra Kaew) in sunset time, Bangkok, Thailand

South America – With Amazonian rainforests, white sandy beaches and unbelievably good nightlife, South America is made for incredible getaways. In 2016 Brazil will play host for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. It’s the perfect time to consider a holiday package to Brazil as the past 12 months has seen the Australian dollar make huge gains against the Brazilian real. Not a sports fan? Visit Buenos Aires “the Paris of South America” or get lost in Lima’s aesthetic delights.


Spain – Spain, a passionate country known for its vibrant festivals, is an unbeatable option if you are looking for a great value budget trip to Europe. The climate is optimal for travelling all year around. With its affordable tapas culture, wining and dining is certain to become an integral part of your daily itinerary. If you’re a serious foodie, be sure to visit San Sebastian – the home of “pintxos” (the Basque version of Tapas) for some truly unforgettable culinary delights.


New Zealand – One of five national destinations named in TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Destinations on the Rise for 2016, New Zealand is a traveller’s paradise. If you are looking for a memorable overseas experience without spending a fortune, it might be your best bet. Whether you have a hankering for skiing, mountain climbing or wine tasting – or just relaxing, the favourable exchange rate makes all these experience pretty affordable in New Zealand. And being our closest neighbour, you can always find cheap flights all year round.

skiing in new zealand

In case you need a bit more convincing, do you know that you can lay-by international flights with STA Travel for $99 and pay the rest later? So if you think the days of living large abroad with the lower Aussie dollar are in past, think again! Visit the STA Travel website and save more bucks with these best value destinations.