Travel Bargain Hunting? Go Where the Dollar Is Strong
Frommer’s got its start more than 60 years ago with a series of guidebooks about seeing the world on five dollars a day. As you might have noticed, prices have gone up a little since then. But although the dollar isn’t as mighty as it once was—and its surge of recent years appears to have subsided for now—there are still a number of places across the globe where American travelers can get plenty of bang for their bucks. Throw in a steep drop in the price of transatlantic airfares and that makes this a great time to visit dream destinations you might have once thought were out of reach as well as overlooked spots where your dollars will stretch the furthest. Here are 10 ideas for a cost-conscious international getaway.
Pictured: The village of Real de Catorce
1 USD = 11.63 rand (2018)
Bucket lists are easily vanquished in South Africa, where elephants lumber through national parks, waves crash into craggy cliffs at the Cape of Good Hope, and cable cars ascend the iconic Table Mountain for dazzling views of the Atlantic Ocean and the vibrant city of Cape Town. The country also has beaches, vineyards, and, most important, penguins. Americans are well positioned to take in a good number of those sights, thanks to the exchange rate and hotel rooms that often go for well under $100 per night. Once in a lifetime? At these prices, you might be tempted to come back again and again.
1 USD = 105.41 yen (2018)
Japan has a reputation for being one of Asia’s most expensive destinations. And while prices there are never what you’d call cheap—especially when compared to some places in the southeast corner of the continent—the budgetary situation for American travelers is better than it has been in the past. The strength of the yen versus the dollar as well as airfares and hotel rates are all on a downward trajectory, according to the 2018 Global Travel Forecast. Buying the right rail pass and spending a night or two in a pod hotel about the size of an Advil Liqui-Gel capsule might also help you save a few pennies. And there’s no charge for browsing street markets, visiting peaceful temples, or taking in the nonstop hustle-bustle on the streets of Tokyo.
Pictured: Kabukicho, Tokyo's red-light district
1 USD = 7.69 krone (2018)
Okay, it's affordable relatively speaking. Though Norway remains one of the priciest destinations in Europe, its currency has declined against the dollar in recent years, putting the Scandinavian country back in play for more than just the wealthiest Americans. A big drop in airfare to Northern Europe has made getting there easier on the wallet, too, with discount airlines like Norwegian Air and Iceland’s WOW Air leading the way. The capital city of Oslo is a model metropolis when it comes to balancing abundant green spaces with excellent historical and cultural institutions (don’t miss the museums dedicated to folk art and Viking ships), all while maintaining an admirable commitment to tolerance and personal freedom. You’re likely to find more savings, though, in rural areas, where you can explore Norway’s fjords, forests, fishing villages, puffin-inhabited islands, and reindeer-filled national parks.