10 Chic Places to Travel While the Dollar Is Strong
Good news for Americans: The U.S. dollar is crushing other currencies around the globe. With the dollar gaining against almost all worldwide currencies and hotel room rates down significantly across the globe, we Yankees now have greater buying power in many destinations that were previously cost-prohibitive for the budget traveler.
Europe in particular is a great region to visit this year, as the dollar is worth 21% more than it was a year ago against the euro. There are a number of European nations that have been fairly affordable to visit for some time, so today we’re focusing on those that have newer appeal. Notably absent from this list are Russia (whose currency is down 45% from 2014) and Ukraine (down 38%). In terms, they’re a major steal to visit right now, but given current political situations—and a travel warning in Ukraine—it’s not advised.
Read on for 10 very fabulous destinations you should visit this year while the dollar is hot!
You may finally be able to afford that Italian handbag you’ve always lusted after. On the euro ($1 USD: €0.89), Italy is much more affordable for Americans to visit that it has been in years, thanks to the strength of the dollar and an economic slowdown in Europe. This means a decline in hotel room rates as well as the costs of food and local goods—hello, Fendi! So book a trip to Rome, Milan, or Tuscany on the double. Just make sure to reserve rooms at local bed-and-breakfasts rather than big chain hotels; this is where you'll secure the true savings.
Flying halfway across the globe will still cost you, but once you arrive in Australia, you’ll find that prices there are much cheaper than they have been. Since oil prices began to slide, Australian dollars ($1 USD: $1.23 AUD) are actually at a six-year low against American dollars, according to Fortune. Average hotel rates are also down 6.8% from last year.
Dream of buttery croissants and wine-country jaunts? Pack your back for Charles de Gaulle. In its 2015 survey of hotel room rates, TripAdvisor found that booking prices in France are down 12.6% year over year, a significant decrease. February, the company has found, is the least-expensive month for European hotel stays (average $111/night), with January, March, and November following (average $120/night). Likewise, as France is on the euro, costs of food products, goods, and services are also down, so you’ll feel more comfortable settling in for a Michelin-star dinner of Coquilles St.-Jacques or ordering a car to drive you through the Champagne region.
After Russia and Ukraine, Sweden has seen the largest decrease in hotel prices (down 19%) over the last year. The dollar is also 29% stronger there than it was a year ago ($1 USD: 8.22kr), so you can get some unbelievable bargains on food, experiences, and local goods. With thriving cities and picture-perfect coastal islands, inland lakes, forests, and mountains, the Scandinavian nation has lots to experience, no matter what you’re looking for.
Following Sweden, Norway’s hotel prices are also down significantly—17%—and the dollar is 25% stronger there than it was a year ago ($1 USD: 7.37kr). With incredible landscapes, the northern nation is heaven for the outdoorsman. Visit a ski resort, try a wildlife safari, or plan a fishing trip, or, if you prefer to take it easy, book a cruise through Norway’s famous fjords (deep, narrow inlets between high cliffs formed by submerged glaciated valleys).
On the contrary, Canada is as close as you can get for Americans. The Canadian dollar, or “loonie,” has actually been rising in recent months, but at the beginning of 2015 it was at a six-year low and is still recovering. Hotel rates are also down 6.2% from 2014. Flights to our northern neighbor are quite cheap, and depending on where you live, you might even be able to drive to Vancouver, Toronto, or Montreal for a weekend in the city. Time to book a trip!
Dreaming of a new kilim rug, leather pouf, or Moroccan wedding blanket for your home? Local goods have always been relatively inexpensive in Morocco, but compared to a year ago, they’re 20% cheaper thanks to the strong dollar ($1 USD: 1 MAD). Hotel rates are also down 12.4%, and there are countless charming riads where you can stay for less than $100 a night. The biggest cost, of course, is the flight over there, but it’s well worth it to experience this country’s unique culture.
The dollar has strengthened by 21% over the past year in the Netherlands, which is also on the euro. Average hotel room rates in the country are down 11.5 percent, with prices around $118/night—a bargain for a destination rich in history, culture, art, design, and architecture.
The Uruguayan peso has seen some of the steepest declines against the dollar ($1 USD: $26.4 UYU), and hotel rates are down 12.2% from last year. On the eastern side of South America, the nation has some amazing beaches and is becoming more and more popular as a jet-set destination. It also has incredible mountain terrain, if you fancy a challenge!
The dollar has strengthened against the Brazilian real by a whopping 23% over the last year, and hotel rates are down 8.6%. Rates will no doubt rise again for the 2016 Olympics, so if you’re hankering for a stay on Ipanema beach or a jaunt through the Amazon, go now.
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Have you visited any of these countries? What recommendations can you share? Tell us in the comments.