If you’re like most Internet users, you check out all those articles featuring the top 20 places to travel to just to validate your misery. Bonus points if you do it under the harsh fluorescent lights of your office. Well, the time for wallowing has come to an end. Check out Airbnb’s latest report on the travel trends of 2014:
Top 10 trending destinations on Airbnb:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- South Africa
Airbnb has also compiled a list of the destinations most likely to be described in reviews as “paradise”, “heaven”, “utopia” or “bliss”.
Top 10 “Paradise” destinations:
- Florida Keys
- Kauai, Hawaii
- Lombok, Indonesia
- Manuel Antonia, Costa Rica
- Rincón, Puerto Rico
- Mendocino Coast, California
- Gold Coast, Australia
- The Big Island, Hawaii
- Cairns, Australia
- Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
Our usual favourites like Bangkok, Hong Kong and Tokyo aren’t on the lists, but guess what? Things aren’t really that bleak for Singaporeans. One of the destinations on the first list and three on the second are not all that far from our scorching shores.
We’ve done the math and calculated the cost of a 3 day 2 night trip to each of the following destinations, factoring in the cost of Airbnb accommodation, so you can take off over the next long weekend. Here are the results:
Malaysia is #9 on Airbnb’s list of top trending destinations, but I bet you’ve never really thought of our neighbour up North as an up-and-coming travel destination.
In fact, some friends of mine recently flew all the way to Southeast Asia from Europe for their annual month-long vacation. Where they partying in Thailand or backpacking through Laos and Vietnam? Nope. They spent all 4 weeks of their vacation in Malaysia.
Whether you’re eating up a storm in Malacca, attempting to climb Mt Kinabalu without plummeting to your death or partying in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia always promises a good time, especially since, as someone accustomed to Singaporean prices, you won’t be secretly wincing each time you take out your wallet.
Flight: $100 or less if you book early
Accommodation on Airbnb
- Cheery studio apartment with a view of the Twin Towers for $85 a night.
- Studio apartment with balcony in Bukit Bintang for $53 a night.
- Room in a bungalow near KL Sentral with a verdant garden for $51 a night.
Other costs: Like Singapore, KL is a big city famous for its food, shopping and clubbing. Food in KL is at least 30% to 50% cheaper than its Singapore equivalent, while taxis are about 20% cheaper. Three days shouldn’t cost more than $50 a day unless you splurge.
2. Lombok, Indonesia
You might not make it to the Amalfi Coast or Santorini this year, but at least Lombok, #3 on the list of Paradise Destinations, is nearby.
Lombok is like Bali but a million times better, and without the obnoxious tourists or the luridness of Bali’s Kuta. Whether you’re learning to dive in the pristine waters off the Gili Islands, tackling Mount Rinjani or looking for beaches remote enough to let you live out your Castaway fantasies, this place is going make you dread back-to-work Monday with a hitherto unparalleled fervour.
If you’re sick of the usual tropical beach destinations like Phuket or Tioman, spend a little more and head to Lombok. While not really the most happening destination for a dirty weekend, it’s one of the rare Southeast Asian locations that’s been developed for tourism without completely being forced to sell its soul.
Flight: The quickest way to get to Lombok is to take a direct flight on Garuda Indonesia or Silkair, which can set you back about $400. Otherwise there are several options, including buying a budget airline ticket to Bali for around $250 and then flying from Bali to Lombok International Airport, a return ticket for which should cost around $50 to $60.
Accommodation on Airbnb:
- Homestay in Kuta for $20 a night.
- Bungalows by waterfalls and rice paddies in Gangga for $29 a night.
- Cottage in Gili for $49 a night.
Other costs: How much you want to spend in Lombok really depends on how ambitious you are and how much luxury you need, although costs are markedly lower than in Bali. If you want the red carpet treatment don’t expect the locals to give it to you for a few rupiah only. However, if you eat locally, spend your ocean time snorkelling instead of diving and don’t go on expensive day-trips, you can get away with spending less than $20 a day.
3. Gold Coast, Australia
If you think there’s no longer any reason to go to the Gold Coast now that you’ve bought the Universal Studios annual pass, you’re underestimating the Queensland city. I think we can quite safely say that voters who got the Gold Coast a spot on the Paradise List were not thinking of the theme parks.
It’s more likely they were thinking of the numerous beaches frequented by bronzed surfer types and flanked by the incredible blue of Australian seas—no murky Sentosa-style waters here.
Flight: Scoot operates flights to the Gold Coast, and promotional fares can be as low as $400+ all in for a return ticket.
Accommodation on Airbnb:
- Waterfront apartment close to theme parks for $70 a night.
- Ecovillage homestay for $109 a night
- Artist’s beach abode for $89 a night
Other costs: Australia is not a cheap destination, but if you have simple tastes and hold back on the shopping you should be able to get buy on less than $80 a day. Eating out will set you back at least $10 to $15 per meal.
4. Cairns, Australia
While virtually every Singaporean has been to Australia, no one ever goes Cairns. That’s because Singaporeans on holiday only care about shopping, eating and staying at beach resorts, and Sydney and Melbourne more than satisfy the first two criteria.
The reason Cairns is #9 on the Paradise List is because it’s a springboard for visits to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. It’s definitely a place that favours outdoorsy types, so if jungle trekking, ziplining, kayaking and snorkelling sound right up your alley, go for it. But if you’re travelling with someone who wears high heels on a hiking trip (true story), you might be in trouble.
Flight: About $1,000+
Accommodation on Airbnb:
- Cottage in the rainforest for $80 a night.
- Bedroom in a house with swimming pool for $80 a night.
- Studio apartment near city centre for $50 a night.
Other costs: Be prepared to budget at least $10 to $15 per simple meal. You’ll probably be spending most of your money on trips to the rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, which can cost from $100 to $250 a day.
If you are looking to get away, make sure you’re able to travel with peace of mind with a good travel insurance plan. You can check out all the best plans available on MoneySmart’s new Travel Insurance Comparison Page now!
Are you planning to visit any of the locations on Airbnb’s lists? Let us know in the comments!