If you want to have the next trip of a lifetime you will want to stretch your budget as far as it can go and really make every dollar work for you. If you choose a destination where the US currency is strong you can save big bucks on everything without really trying.
This is especially true when booking travel to typical expensive destinations, like Japan or Norway. Watching the foreign exchange rate, and traveling when it’s favorable for the US is a great way to plan an expensive trip and still save some money.
Here are the top countries that are projected to have a favorable US exchange rate through 2018. Put these on the top of your bucket list.
$1 five years ago = 1800 Colombian Pesos
$1 today = 2739 Colombian Pesos
You’re probably seeing Colombia on tons of must travel lists, including Travel and Leisure Best 2018 Destinations. A huge reason is Colombia’s a rare case where a country has gotten safer and more attractive to visit while also getting drastically cheaper for Americans. You’ll also find that flights to Colombia are cheaper than ever. You’ll frequently find deals for under $400 round-trip from the east coast!
If you go… the big cities of Bogota and Medellin are fascinating but the real gem is Cartagena on the coast. Nearby Cartagena, you can finally visit some of the more remote and most gorgeous areas, like Minca. These jungles are seeing tourists again for the first time in 30 years.
$1 five years ago = 9 South African Rand
$1 today = 12 South African Rand
A dream destination for animal and nature lovers, South Africa is truly special. The excellent exchange rate makes it a great time to visit as well.
If you go… spend your time split between Cape Town and Kruger National Park. Cape Town has cliff sides that turn into what some call the most beautiful beaches in the world. While the safaris in Kruger National Park (and the adjacent Sabi Sands) can’t be beat. You’ll easily see the big five along with so many other animals.
$1 five years ago = 5 Argentine pesos
$1 today = 20 Argentine pesos
Not only is the currency exchange rate a big plus for Americans, but the hefty $160 entry fee for Americans was finally eliminated in 2016. The government also announced that foreigners are eligible to receive a refund on the 21 percent value-added tax on hotel stays.
If you go… head to the capital, Buenos Aires, for a double punch combo of classic South American flair with a distinctly European charm.
$1 five years ago = 93 Japanese Yen
$1 today = 107 Japanese Yen
I touched on this in the beginning, but using the exchange rate to your advantage is most advantageous for ‘expensive’ countries. Japan falls into that list, but now through the end of 2018 will be the best rates we will see for the next couple of years. Starting in 2019, exchange rates will begin to rise in anticipation for the 2020 Olympics being hosted in Tokyo.
If you do go… you can see Tokyo and Kyoto in about a weeks time. The huge bustling city of Tokyo is a nice contrast to the quiet temples of Kyoto. Either way, don’t miss taking in the views of Mt. Fuji… it’s a surprisingly easy day trip from Tokyo.
$1 five years ago = 54 Indian Rupee
$1 today = 65 Indian Rupee
India is already an inexpensive country, the great exchange rate just makes it that much better. You’ll be overwhelmed in the best possible way with sights, smells, and sounds.
$1 five years ago = 8 Moroccan Dirham
$1 today = 9 Moroccan Dirham
Although it hasn’t had the most drastic of changes, Morocco’s exchange rate today is better than 5 years ago. It’s on the top of many lists. In fact, you probably don’t have to scroll far on Instagram to see another friend or celebrity walking through a souk. This is because the country is absolutely stunning and especially lovely for home goods shoppers. I wanted to bring back every single rug and lantern – seriously, it was a problem.
If you go… Marrakesh is the biggest tourist destination. It’s also a great starting point. Don’t miss out on a tour to the Sahara, including a night in the desert. Book it once you arrive for the best savings.
$1 five years ago = 9700 Indonesian Rupiahs
$1 today = 14,000 Indonesian Rupiahs
Indonesia, like much of South East Asia, is a great bet for Americans. The country itself already is a dream for budget travelers with hotels and food costs being extremely low. Add in a great exchange rate and you have a true trip of a lifetime. Indonesia is also a great place to consider if you want to indulge in a luxury vacation without breaking the bank.
If you go… think about visiting the lesser traveled spots like Lombok. Yes, Bali is absolutely beautiful but over the past couple of years it has become congested with tourists.
In my next article, I’ll go over the confusing world of tipping while abroad.