Last year the Canadian dollar took quite a tumble. It’s slowly making a comeback, but still hovers at a bargain 77 cents to the US dollar, effectively marking down everything at 25 percent off. Lower hotel prices complement the favorable exchange rate, making a trip to the Canadian Rockies, the historic Atlantic coast and even the cosmopolitan cities of Toronto and Montreal a smart travel choice.
If Australia is on your bucket list, this is your year. The Australian dollar took a hit in 2015 and is now at about 75 cents to the US dollar. Although flights to Australia can eat up a sizable chunk of your budget, you’ll save once you hit the ground with the strong U.S. dollar. And increased direct flights from major U.S. cities make it more convenient than ever to get there.
A deep recession and plummeting oil prices continue to prolong the fall of the Russian ruble. The country’s currency has recently hit historic lows, losing more than half of its worth as of the end of last year. For travelers, this means paying around 50 percent less for nearly everything from hotel rooms to cappuccino.
American travelers bound for European countries can count on spending a dollar that hasn’t been this strong against the euro since 2003. Looking for the most affordable cities to visit? Santorini, Greece; Tenerife, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Valletta, Malta; Athens, Greece; Naples, Italy; and Madrid, Spain are all great choices. Even pricey Vienna has seen hotel prices drop over 25%.
Last summer’s stock market crash in China is still making headlines … and making dream trips affordable for Americans. While travelers will find great value in China’s two main tourist destinations, Beijing and Shanghai, the lesser-known Xi’an, home to the Terra Cotta Warriors, offers excellent value along with an abundance of historical sites and cultural relics to explore.
Southeast Asia boasts many of the world’s best travel bargain destinations, and Vietnam solidly stakes a claim as a hot spot in 2017. The lively cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City cater to travelers seeking to stretch their dollars and have authentic experiences with locals.
Going on safari may be within your budget in 2017. The American dollar is strong against South Africa’s currency making even elite luxury safari lodges more affordable for Americans. Even dining out is more affordable: The average price for a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant is 49 percent less expensive in South Africa than in the U.S. Savings are significant: You’ll pay 73 percent less for a bottle of wine and 66 percent less on taxi fare.