Any American who has traveled internationally over the past few years would agree that the dollar just doesn’t go as far as it used to. It has been steadily declining while currency from other countries is soaring. While this isn’t the best news for international travelers, traveling smarter can help soften the blow of a poor exchange rate. The following tips will give you the tools you need to travel well without breaking the bank.
Get Travel Quotes in US Dollars
Since it doesn’t appear that the dollar is going to make strong gains any time soon, it is wise to get services quoted in US dollars whenever possible. This safeguards you from being locked into a price that could be rising before your eyes. It also makes it much easier for you in planning a trip budget, as you will not have to switch back and forth between currencies.
Go to the Right Destinations
There are many destinations worldwide that still offer an exceptional value for American tourists. The most notable is Argentina . One can easily find a delicious bottle of wine for under $10—one so good that it will taste like you paid $40. Getting around is easy too, and it’s almost impossible to spend more than $6 on a cab ride, no matter where you are going in the city. While prices for the best hotels are rising, they are about half of what you would pay for equivalent Accommodations in another city.
South Africa also still offers an exceptional value, and cities like Cape Town and Knysna are more beautiful than ever. The most costly component of your stay in South Africa will be your hotel, especially if you opt for one of the country’s ultra-luxury 5 star safari lodges, which can run upwards of $1,000 per person per night.
Do as the Locals Do
Stay in areas known to be safe for tourists, but avoid tourist traps. In countries with weaker economies one will often find gouged prices for those goods and services catering to tourists. The expression, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” takes on new meaning—if you do what the locals do and dine where the locals dine, you may avoid paying tourist upcharges.
Cash in Miles
It’s always tough to know when to use one’s miles, or when to hold onto them for something better. If you are choosing to visit a particularly expensive destination, it may be wise to use miles for the flight to offset the cost of the trip.
Travel With a Group
Traveling with an organized group can provide you with a well-designed trip while allowing you to take advantage of group discounts. You can have experiences that wouldn’t be practical or a good value if done on your own, such as renting a unique venue for a private event or taking a tour with a private guide. As long as you use a company you trust, you can leave the details to them, and use the time you save to be as prepared as possible for your trip.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t let a weak exchange rate stop you from having the incredible, life-changing experiences that international travel can offer. It is interesting to note that over the past five years, even though the dollar is weaker, international travel has actually grown faster than domestic travel.