At the start of each year, as we ponder where to go next, a good question to ask is: Where is the U.S. dollar currently strongest?
Exchange rate is, of course, only one factor that determines the cost of a trip. Other factors include airfare, the length of the tourist season at your destination (the shorter the season, the higher the prices), whether the destination attracts more business travelers or vacationers (business-travel hubs are more expensive), how many hotels your destination has (since that determines the amount of hotel competition, which determines rates), and so on. The cost of traveling in a destination (and doing what travelers do there) can be very different from the cost of living in that destination (and doing what residents do there). Still, exchange rates are helpful indicators of how much you’ll spend when you are indeed doing those things that locals do—eating where they eat, shopping where they shop, taking public transit, and so on.
All you Europhiles should know that, at this moment, one U.S. dollar is worth .84 euros —the same exchange rate as three years ago. Sadly, the days of the U.S. dollar equating to .93 euros (2016 and 2017) seem to be gone for now. So where in the world is the U.S. dollar stronger than it was three years ago? Here are nine appealing travel ideas for you:
Argentina has been a fabulous value ever since the peso slid a whopping 30% back in 2015. Besides bargains, what else awaits you there? Read our Insider’s Guides to Buenos Aires and Mendoza wine country to find out.
Jan 2015: US $1 = 8.57 pesos
Jan 2018: US $1 = 18.66 pesos
The U.S. dollar and the Azerbaijani manat were at parity until December 2015, when the manat took a huge hit. Since then the U.S. dollar has bought twice as much as before. If you’re interested in an Azerbaijani adventure—and you should be—contact me because I’m interested too and have been investigating Azerbaijan trip-planning specialists to see who deserves a spot on The WOW List.
Jan 2015: US $1 = .78 manat
Jan 2018: US $1 = 1.70 manat
The U.S. dollar is near a 10-year high against the Mexican peso. Learn what’s unspoiled and up-and-coming in our Insider’s Guides to Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, and the Riviera Maya.
Jan 2015: US $1 = 14.58 pesos
Jan 2018: US $1 = 19.10 pesos
Five to ten years ago, travel to and in Brazil was prohibitively expensive for most travelers; today it’s a whole other story. Learn what you’ll find there in our Insider’s Guides to the glamorous side of Rio de Janeiro, the charming seaside village of Trancoso, the otherworldly Brazilian Amazon, and, for the ultimate extravaganza, Five-Star Brazil: Best Things to See and Do.
Jan 2015: US $1 = 2.62 real
Jan 2018: US $1 = 3.21 real
Now is the moment to explore Colombia—while it’s still relatively under-the-radar and undeveloped. Here are reasons to go to Colombia pronto.
Jan 2015: $1 = 2,434 pesos
Jan 2018: $1 = 2,941 pesos
The United Kingdom isn’t the bargain it was right after Brexit in 2016, when the pound hit a 31-year-old against the U.S. dollar—and, make no mistake, London is always an expensive city—but the U.K. is still a better deal now than it was for decades. Read our Insider’s Guide to London, as well as my son Charlie’s Do’s and Don’t for Your Trip to London, which he wrote in 2016 right after I jumped on the post-Brexit values and booked our family vacation there.
Jan 2015: $1 = .66 pounds
Jan 2018: $1 = .74 pounds
Malaysia was a better deal last year (when one U.S. dollar was worth 4.46 ringgit), but your dollar can still stretch far. Here’s what awaits you in Malaysia (and islands nearby).
Jan 2015: $1 = 3.57 ringgit
Jan 2018: $1 = 3.97 ringgit
The rand lost 25% of its value three years ago. It still hasn’t fully recovered, so carpe diem. Here’s what awaits you in Cape Town and the Winelands, and here’s our Insider’s Guide to South African safaris.
Jan 2015: $1 = 11.44 rand
Jan 2018: $1 = 12.37 rand
Canada may not be the steal it was two years ago—when one U.S. dollar equated to 1.44 Canadian—but the greenback still goes far, especially if you remember the days when it was at parity with the loonie. To better appreciate the range of delights in Canada, read our Insider’s Guides to British Colombia and Newfoundland. In 2015 I jumped on the amazing exchange rate and rushed my family to British Columbia for our summer vacation. You can read about a few of our adventures in We Had the Best Family Trip in Whistler and We Never Put on Skis and I Can’t Believe We Did This: Mountain Climbing in Whistler.
Jan 2015: $1 = 1.20 Canadian dollars
Jan 2018: $1 = 1.25 Canadian dollars
Be a smarter traveler: Use Wendy’s WOW List to plan your next trip. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.