3 Destinations Where the U.S. Dollar Will Go the Furthest
February 24, 2016
For most Americans, traveling abroad has become much more affordable than it was five years ago. Not only has the U.S. economy finally bounced back after the devastating financial crisis of 2008, but the ushering in of 2016 has seen the dollar increasing in value against most major currencies. However, many economists have suggested that the greenback’s strength may be fleeting -- so you might as well capitalize on it now and visit these three countries where you'll get a substantial bang for your buck!
1. Dominican Republic
The Dominican peso to U.S. dollar rate has been on a steady decline for the past five years; this time in 2011, the rate was around 38.7 pesos to the dollar, whereas a dollar will now get you closer to 45.7 Dominican pesos. It’s also one of the cheaper places to get to, especially if you're coming from the East Coast of the U.S. If you're flexible with departure dates, you can currently find round-trip flights from New York to Santo Domingo for around $350.
While prices for goods in services have gone up in recent years, so has the strength of the dollar: just five years ago, a buck was the equivalent of around 45 Indian rupees; today the exchange rate is around 67 rupees per dollar. Most tourist hubs have more than enough budget guesthouses to go around, and it’s not unheard of to pay under $10/night for a room with a private bathroom outside of the major cities. And if you’re more after bargains than barebones budget travel, you’ll find plenty of affordable mid-range places to eat, sleep, and shop that will cost you a fraction of what they would back home. Just beware: fine-dining establishments and bars and some upscale hotels in India tack on various taxes, which means your bill could be upwards of 20 percent more than you’d bargained for.
Although Hungary is a European Union member state, it isn't part of the Eurozone, so you’ll need to be prepared to stock up on the local currency -- the Hungarian forint -- when you arrive. The currency has been on a steady decline against the U.S. dollar for quite some time: five years ago, when the U.S. was still recovering from the financial crisis, a dollar would buy you 198 forint, whereas today the rate is closer to 277 to one. Restaurant food is generally cheap here and there are plenty of affordable hotels in spots such as Budapest, making it a good spot for budget travelers with more time than money. However, even those wanting a more luxurious experience will find that a room in a high-end Budapest hotel costs a fraction of what it might in other major European cities -- even the Budapest iteration of the generally expensive Four Seasons chain, the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, has rooms for under $350/night in the off season. Best of all, Hungary is full of thermal springs -- many of which are in Budapest -- and a day at the spa, complete with a private changing cabin, shouldn’t set you back more than $20/person.