Johanna Stevens in front of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, and right, the evidence of a great shopping expedition as the tour group snapped up bargains thanks to the strong Aussie dollar.
Johanna Stevens in front of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, and right, the evidence of a great shopping expedition as the tour group snapped up bargains thanks to the strong Aussie dollar. Contributed

Best time to travel

A TRIP to the United States is pretty good value for money right now – just ask international travel consultant Johanna Stevens who last week returned from the nation’s west coast.

Ms Stevens and the group of 10 Mackay residents she travelled with got plenty of bang for their buck during a three-week Contiki tour, largely thanks to a strong Australian dollar and downturn in the US economy.

“The group I took with me were astonished at how cheap things were, especially with the Aussie dollar,” she said.

“It was 90 or 91 cents before we left and it went up while we were away.”

Many Mackay travellers are already cashing in on the strong Australian dollar, exchanging money for foreign currencies, particularly US dollars, in preparation for their overseas trips.

The Australian dollar reached an all-time high of 99.2 US cents late last week and yesterday was worth 95.6 US cents.

Add on some good priced airfares and discount shopping and the United States equals an attractive holiday destination for Mackay residents.

Harvey World Travel Mackay general manager Steven Boxall said many locals had enquired about trips to the US since the Aussie dollar started to surge.

“We’ve certainly seen a run of people coming in and booking family holidays to the States,” he said.

“When it (the Australian dollar) gets into the 90s (US cents) it makes it more affordable.

“You’ve got the good Aussie dollar but discount airfares as well.”

Mr Boxall said the Harvey World Travel Mackay in-store Travelex branch had been as busy as ever, with residents keen to cash in ahead of their overseas trips.

“People are stocking up on foreign currencies, mainly the US dollar, the euro and the pound,” he said.

“Everyone is focused on the US dollar but the Aussie dollar against other currencies is at all-time highs.

“As soon as it gets to the high 80s and early 90s it gives the confidence that it’s a good time to go (overseas) because in the back of their minds they know there have been times when it’s been 60 cents.”



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