Hopping on a basic economy flight doesn’t always equate to a budget overseas vacation. Depending on your destination, you can quickly rack up a large bill if you’re not mindful of the exchange rate. Some travelers cut corners on experiences—culinary, cultural, viticultural, or otherwise— in order to afford a trip, but doing so can impact the depth to which you delve into a place. Another way to make travel more affordable is to choose a destination where the exchange rate weighs in your favor. Thankfully, the US dollar (USD) is strong in a number of destinations around the world right now. Here are five countries where your dollar will go the furthest this summer.
Capture the Culture of Argentina
$1 = 27.09 Argentine Peso (ARS)
For an authentic taste of South American culture that won’t break your bank, head to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The city is home to one of the best opera houses in the world, El Teatro Colon, as well as the Casa Rosada—the pink house where Eva Perón famously spoke to the city’s residents. Buenos Aires is also filled with impressive architecture and beautifully manicured parks.
So, what makes Argentina an affordable destination? To start, the Argentine peso was significantly devalued in 2015—helping the country land on many budget travel lists. In 2016, the Argentine government removed the $160 reciprocity fee for U.S. citizens and announced that foreigners would be able to receive a refund for the 21% VAT charged by hotels. I’m running out of reasons not to visit—aren’t you?
Find Your Beach (For Cheap) in Thailand
$1 = 32.92 Thai Baht (THB)
While Thailand has long been a good value for travelers—partly due to the lower cost of living—flight prices to Phuket are down a whopping 20% since last summer, according to our data. That, plus the strong dollar, makes Thailand one of the best international destinations to visit in the next few months.
Travelers heading to Thailand can expect to only pay a few dollars for a hotel—a discount compared to many of the country’s neighbors. As for those bungalows on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches? You’ll only need to fork over a few bucks for those, too.
Say “Skål” in Iceland
$1 = 107.83 Icelandic Króna (ISK)
While Iceland is a notoriously pricey destination, this summer is a great time to maximize your money. The dollar has risen 7% versus the króna since late March. According to our data, year-over-year summer flight prices to Keflavík International Airport (KEF), Iceland’s largest airport located just outside Reykjavík, have gone down 10%. Plus, low-cost airlines like WOW Air and Norwegian Air are helping make Iceland more affordable than ever.
That’s good news for travelers heading to one of the hottest destinations in the world right now. Why? Once on the ground, be prepared to spend your króna, especially when it comes to enjoying locally-brewed spirits. To keep some money in your pocket, I advise drinking like the locals and sticking to the happy hour specials happening around Reykjavík. Prefer to do your sipping in your vacation rental? Stock up at the duty-free shop before you leave KEF. The prices you’ll find there are better than anywhere else. Even if you land at 4:00 am local time, the shop will be open.
Take a Dip in Hungary
$1 = 278.16 Hungarian Forint (HUF)
Move over, Blue Lagoon. Budapest, Hungary is home to a bathing culture dating back to the Ancient Romans. Several centuries later, with the re-discovery of the city’s thermal springs in the 1800s, many of the city’s bathhouses were built—some of which you can still enjoy today. Their thermal waters are rich in a variety of minerals, and have been proven effective in treating chronic joint illnesses and orthopedic issues. Drinking the mineral water has also helped people with gastric ulcers and inflammation issues.
If I haven’t enticed you yet, the dollar has one of its strongest conversion rates against the Hungarian forint. Plus, average summer flight prices are down 8% from last summer, according to our data. That means you’ll not only soak in soothing waters, you can soak in the savings, too. And while you can’t stay in the bathhouse, your dollar will go the distance when booking a hotel in Budapest.
Seek Out South Korea
$1 = 1114.38 South Korean Won (KRW)
Since earning a place on our most popular summer travel destinations list, Incheon, South Korea has been on my radar. Our data also shows a 12% year-over-year decrease in flight prices. Coupled with an exceptionally strong USD-to-KRW conversion rate, I’m having a hard time fighting the urge to click purchase flights.
Known for its beautiful countryside, ancient Buddhist temples, sub-tropical islands, tech-forward cities, and heavily militarized border, South Korea has plenty to offer every kind of traveler.
Build Your Wanderlist
Now, here’s the hard part: choosing where to go! Thankfully, Hipmunk has made at least one part of this decision easier on you—building a short list of hotels. To run a hotel search for your getaway, head over to our hotels page, pop any of the above destinations into the search field, and enter the dates you plan to go.
To create a short list to compare, click the heart in the upper right hand corner of your desired hotel card(s), then click ‘Compare.’ Your heart-ed hotels will automatically save as your Favorited hotels for that destination. From there, you can compare the details and amenities that mean most to you.
One more tip: Try searching for hotels and vacation rentals in the local currency. Sometimes you can save even more money by booking in the local currency.
Note: Exchange rates were calculated at the time of publication. Rates and flight prices may fluctuate.
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