Left: The Australian dollar is at present worth about 62 cents (US).
One of the things I've learned (or at least had confirmed for me) while planning this Australian trip is that timing is everything. There were at least a couple instances while putting together this itinerary that showed me that acting early is not always the way to assure the best price.
Literally moments after I reserved my frequent flier tickets on United, I headed to the Qantas website to reserve a one way ticket to Darwin from Perth. I had always believed that the cheapest seats are generally the ones reserved first. Not the case. Five days after I bought my ticket, Qantas had a sale and the price for the same seat dropped by about $90 (US). I was short on luck, despite speaking to sympathetic Qantas folks.
A similar thing happened with my hotel rooms, but this time it worked out in my benefit. As depressing as the fall in the American dollar has been, the Australian dollar has fallen even more. When I began planning this trip, the Oz buck was worth about 90 cents (US). As of this morning, it was worth about 62 cents (US).
I had arranged lodging early, but hearing of the drop in the Oz dollar, I decided to see if there were any better deals. There were. I found a same-class hotel in Perth, literally across the street from my previous hotel, with free broadband Internet (important for blogging!) for about $100 US less (including the fee for cancelling my previous reservation). In Sydney, I was able to jump from a 3-star hotel on the outskirts to a better-located 5-star hotel in the central business district for $100 less, after currency conversions and cancellation fees were taken into account. (Sofitel Sydney Wentworth -- even the name sounds fancy!)
While I commiserate with my Aussie pals over their declining dollar, you can bet my bottom (US) dollar that I'm going to take advantage of the changing economic climate while I'm there!