Travelers from the U.S. have been able to count on a strong dollar for many years. Even amidst an uncertain economy, the U.S. dollar has remained one of the best currencies for travel. This means everything from hotels to shopping is more affordable for U.S. travelers in most countries around the world.
What Country is the Dollar the Strongest?
We’ve narrowed down 10 popular destinations around the world where the U.S. dollar goes far in 2020. Get ready to taste the flavors of the world without spending a lot of green. For comparison purposes, I looked up the average cost in USD for a pint of beer, an inexpensive meal, and a 3-mile taxi fare on numbeo.com, which collects data on the cost of living around the world. On average, a pint of beer in the U.S. is $5, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant is $15, and a 3-mile taxi fare is $12.50.
Pint of beer: $2.28 / Inexpensive meal: $8.55 / 3-mile taxi: $6.75
The westernmost country on mainland Europe is also one of the continent’s most affordable places to visit. Budget travelers can usually get by for around $50 per day and if you prefer more creature comforts, expect to spend around $70-$100 per day depending on your tastes. Flights to the capital in Lisbon (LIS) aren’t as cheap as some other European destinations, but we still do see some deals in the $400-$600 roundtrip range from time to time.
Once in Portugal, exchange your dollars for euros and be amazed at how little you’ll need to spend to enjoy the simplicity of a Portuguese vacation. From the beaches near Porto (OPO) to the history and nightlife in Lisbon, there’s plenty to stretch your dollar on in Portugal. And don’t forget about the Azores islands where they frequently have a running of the bulls in Terceira (TER).
Check Prices for Lisbon City Hotel in Lisbon
Pint of beer: $2.85 / Inexpensive meal: $11.40 / 3-mile taxi: $9.71
For the past few years, Spain has held the crown for the cheapest gateway to Europe on a transatlantic flight. We regularly see flight deals to Barcelona (BCN) and Madrid (MAD) in the $200 roundtrip range from Boston and New York and other cities around the nation can often find flight deals in the $300-$500 range. And the savings don’t end with the flight. Spain is also one of Western Europe’s most affordable countries with budget travelers spending around $50 per day and mid-range to low-level luxury travel costing between $100-$200 per day.
Spain is home to several interesting festivals like La Tomatina in the small town of Bunol, which is about 30 kilometers outside of Valencia. It’s basically a city-wide tomato fight so don’t wear your best clothes as you’ll be bathing in tomato juice. In the south of Spain, you’ll find some of Europe’s best beaches and in the northwest of Spain you can embark on a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago.
Check Prices for Hotel Jazz in Barcelona
Pint of beer: $1.42 / Inexpensive meal: $4.73 / 3-mile taxi: $3.84
Take a short flight south and you’ll be able to live day-to-day life at a fraction of what it costs in the U.S. Our friendly neighbors across the southern border will gladly exchange for the U.S. dollar, which trades for increasingly more pesos to spend on tacos, excursions, and fiestas. Budget travelers can spend as little as $20 per day in Mexico with most travelers spending between $50 - $150 per day for better accommodations and a few more drinks by the pool.
Flights to Mexico are some of the cheapest international flights you’ll find from the U.S. Regular fare sales in the high $100 to $200 roundtrip range are available from cities all across the U.S. There are too many highlights in Mexico to name them all and although the beaches in Cancun (CUN) and Cabo (SJD) are world-class, I recommend checking out some of Mexico’s lesser-known gems like Puerto Escondido (PXM), Guanajuato (BJX), and La Paz (LAP). Flying to the capital in Mexico City (MEX) is often the cheapest gateway to several other historical cities in the region.
Check Prices for Casa Losodeli in Puerto Escondido
Pint of beer: $0.99 / Inexpensive meal: $3.41 / 3-mile taxi: $8.89
The closest South American country to the U.S. is full of mountains to climb, jungles to explore, and salsa clubs to dance the night away. Catch a cheap flight down to Bogota (BOG), Cartagena (CTG), or Medellin (MDE) and get ready for a grand vacation where the cost of living will likely more than offset the small difference in flight expense compared to a flight to Florida. If you’re a shoestring traveler, plan on spending around $30 a day and for a more comfortable experience, the cost per day is roughly $80.
Once in Colombia, it’s incredibly cheap to take domestic flights around the country and explore some hidden gems such as river tubing in San Cipriano outside of Cali (CLO) or the world’s tallest palm trees in the Cocora Valley near Salento, which is within an hour’s drive from either Pereira (PEI) or Armenia (AXM) airports. If you’re having trouble picking up Spanish, try taking some salsa lessons and speak to the rhythm of the dance floor.
Check Prices for Hotel Poblado Plaza in Medellin
Pint of beer: $5.23 / Inexpensive meal: $13.06 / 3-mile taxi: $9.90
The Australian Dollar had a surge around 2011 when it was once worth more than the USD. After a few years of trading nearly equal with the USD, the AUD began to fall and now, in 2020, 1 USD will yield roughly $1.50 AUD. This means you’ll get more bang for your buck when exploring the outback or snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. A trip to Australia isn’t going to be cheap by any means, but you’ll be glad to know that your dollars will go further in the land down under.
Flights to Australia have come down in price for the past few years. It’s now possible to find flights in the $600-$900 roundtrip range depending on your departure city. Once you’ve landed in Sydney (SYD), Melbourne (MEL), or Brisbane (BNE), plan on spending around $50 per day if you’re on a strict budget and between $100-$300 per day for a more luxurious vacation. Outside of the major cities, Byron Bay is one of my favorite spots in Australia for a relaxing time on the beach without the high rises and development you’ll find in other popular beach towns.
Check Prices for Wake Up! Byron Bay in Byron Bay
Pint of beer: $4.40 / Inexpensive meal: $11.73 / 3-mile taxi: $10.01
You don’t have to go very far to make the dollar stretch. A quick trip to Canada will grant you more colorful dollars for your valuable greenbacks. Like some of the other developed countries on this list, budget travelers can expect to spend around $50 per day and mid-range to luxury travelers will spend quite a bit more. Depending on the desired experience, you’ll likely spend around $100/day for mid-range and up to $400/day for luxury travel.
Airfares to Canada are now very similar to what it costs for a domestic flight across the U.S. Roundtrip flights in the $100-$200 range are fairly easy to find from cities all over the country to Canada’s largest gateways in Toronto (YYZ), Montreal (YUL), Calgary (YYC), and Vancouver (YVR). From euro-like cities in Quebec to peaceful hikes among wildlife in the Rocky Mountains, Canada is a great destination for a cheap trip without crossing any oceans.
Check Prices for Moose Hotel and Suites in Banff
Related: 7 Cheap Places to Visit in 2020
Pint of beer: $3.02 / Inexpensive meal: $6.34 / 3-mile taxi: $6.21
Flights to South America are getting cheaper with the implementation of Basic Economy fares, new competition, and a shake-up in airline alliances. A trip to Chile used to be prohibitive for budget travelers since airfares have, historically, been much higher than flights to other South American countries such as Peru or Colombia. However, we’re now starting to see airfares to Chile occasionally drop into the $600-$900 roundtrip range from major U.S. cities. Chile has also been known to have a higher cost of living than other Latin American nations, but costs have come down since widespread protests broke out at the end of 2019.
The U.S. dollar now goes further in Chile and it’s still a relatively safe place to visit in South America. You can spend as little as $30 per day when traveling throughout Chile. For mid-range travelers, expect to pay a bit more around $80 per day and luxury travelers may spend up to $250/day. Santiago (SCL) is the major international gateway to Chile, but it’s best used as a jumping-off point to visit nearby Valparaiso or take a domestic flight down to Patagonia and explore the majestic national park of Torres del Paine.
Check Prices for Garden Domes in Puerto Natales
Pint of beer: $1.73 / Inexpensive meal: $7.40 / 3-mile taxi: $4.80
The southernmost country in Africa is also one of the most popular destinations for tourists on the continent. South Africa is a country where the U.S. dollar will allow you to travel longer and with more gusto. On a budget, spending around $35 per day is a fair assumption, while mid-range to luxury travel can cost between $90 - $240 per day. A flight to Johannesburg (JNB) or Cape Town (CPT) can cost twice as much as a flight to Europe, but you’ll save more on day-to-day expenses, which can make a trip to South Africa more affordable.
If you’re planning to go on a safari to see wildlife in the Kruger National Park, expect to be leaning towards the luxury vacation travel costs. Outside of some of the most popular tourist locations in South Africa, you can find some incredible beaches along the southeastern coast. By taking a cheap domestic flight to East London (ELS), you’ll be about a 4-hour drive from diamond in the rough Coffee Bay. This beautiful town along the “Wild Coast” is great for beginner surfers and is close to Nelson Mandela’s birthplace in the village of Mvezo.
Check Prices for Ocean View Hotel in Coffee Bay
Pint of beer: $4.97 / Inexpensive meal: $15.68 / 3-mile taxi: $16.55
The British Pound has long been a stronger currency than the U.S. dollar, but the recent events of Brexit have caused the Pound to lose much of its value against the U.S. dollar. Even though you’ll still get less than 1 GBP for every 1 USD, the dollar now goes further in the UK than it has in the past. On a budget, it’s possible to get by in the UK for just $60 per day, but most travelers will end up spending between $100-$150/day and luxury travelers could spend up to $400/day.
Flights to the U.K. have never been cheaper. Ever since Brexit was announced, fare sales to London-Heathrow (LHR) and London-Gatwick (LGW) have often been in the $300-$400 roundtrip range from several cities across the U.S. While London is the most popular place to visit in the U.K., you’ll also find cheap flights to Edinburgh (EDI) and can enjoy some more rural landscapes in northern Scotland. If the high cost of a trip to the U.K. has been holding you back in the past, now is the time to go to take advantage of a relatively strong U.S. dollar compared to the British Pound Sterling.
Check Prices for The Montague on The Gardens in London
Pint of beer: $0.87 / Inexpensive meal: $2.17 / 3-mile taxi: $4.42
Southeast Asia is a world away from life in the U.S. and it’s also a place where you can live like a king when traveling with U.S. dollars. 1 USD will get you over 20,000 Vietnamese Dong. You’ll be spending large bills, but your bank account back home won’t take much of a hit. Budget travelers can easily get by on just $15 per day in Vietnam and it’s not too much more to travel in the mid-range or luxury level, at around $40 - $125 per day.
Flights are also quite cheap to Ho Chi Minh (SGN) and Hanoi (HAN) from major cities across the U.S. Oftentimes, you’ll find fare sales in the $400-$600 roundtrip range, which is an incredible deal for such a long-haul flight. Domestic flights within Vietnam are extremely inexpensive, usually costing around $20 one-way, so you’ll be able to explore many different cities in Vietnam and still stay under budget. After seeing some popular tourist spots like Ha Long Bay, I’d recommend a trip to the old capital of Hue or the laid-back beach vibe in Hoi An.