Contrary to the predictions of numerous conservative politicians who felt that the Administration's policies would weaken the dollar, the exact opposite has occurred: The U.S. dollar is today stronger than in any recent times. The result is a travel bonanza for Americans vacationing in the following countries:
CANADA: Surprisingly, and for reasons no one can explain, the Canadian "loonie" (an affectionate term for its dollar) has fallen in value by thirty percent against the U.S. dollar. Our dollar now buys 1.30 Canadian dollars. If you have ever been curious about Montréal, Quebec City, Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Lake Louise, etc., etc., now is the time to visit our neighbor to the north. (Only be sure to first change your U.S. dollars into Canadian currency, and don't simply hand a U.S. dollar to a Canadian merchant to let them fix an exchange rate).
JAPAN: As we've pointed out endlessly in these blogs, the U.S. dollar now buys 125 Japanese yen, and at that exchange, life in Japan has become moderately priced for a U.S. visitor (the yen in some previous years, suffered a hideous exchange rate of as little as 75 to the dollar). Needless to say, this exotic nation, with both its modern and ancient sights and institutions, is one of the foremost travel opportunities for a thoughtful American traveler.
WESTERN EUROPE: Though the U.S. dollar hasn't yet attained a value at par with the Euro, it's coming awfully close: 1.10 U.S. dollars now buys a Euro (the rate was once a horrendous 1.40). That excellent rate takes the edge off most European prices, and Americans no longer feel tense as they await the bill at a European hotel, restaurant or shop.
INDIA: With the U.S. dollar now buying 65 Indian rupees (the exchange used to be 45 rupees), everything in India is less costly than we normally experience, and a trip to India--especially, to the little-visited southern part of the country (Chennai, Madurai)—can be a fascinating experience, as an increasing number of American tourists are now reporting,
RUSSIA: The U.S. dollar now buys 65 Russian rubles, which is more than double the number of rubles that were received as recently as a year ago, when Russia was still benefiting from $100-a-barrel oil (it now gets only $42 a barrel, badly affecting its oil-based economy). In contrast with the situation a year ago, Russia is no longer one of the world's most expensive tourist destinations. But in all candor, it must be pointed out that American tourists are frequently treated with less than courtesy by the Russians they encounter, whose attitudes are affected by our economic sanctions imposed against them as a result of Russian actions in Ukraine.
CHINA: Though recently devalued to a rate of 6.40 yuan for one U.S. dollar, the yuan is still undervalued, and the tourist benefits from a currency that permits the tourist to buy everything for an advantageous cost. You see this in the packaged tours to China costing as little as $888 for a week spent in Beijing, including round-trip airfare from the U.S. west coast—probably the best packaged bargain in all of travel.
AND OTHERS: A great many other currencies, including those of Turkey, Australia, Indonesia and more, have seriously declined against the U.S. dollar, reducing tourist costs. (Costs, for example, on Indonesia's island of Bali, have reduced to an even lower level than ever before).
And where can you keep up with these currency developments? You simply punch two letters into your computer--the letter X and the letter E, followed by ".com"--dialing up the strangest-named website in all of travel, but one that is eagerly followed by persons all over the world. XE.com will keep you appraised, minute by minute, of developments in the important travel world of currency rates.