Cost of living

5 Best Travel Destinations to Stretch Your Dollar

Cost Of Living

Vacation season is well underway, and while most Americans will be traveling within the United States, with the dollar up about 10% from two years ago--and expected to strengthen even more--you might want to consider a foreign destination.

“As the dollar has more muscle to flex abroad, I think people become much more comfortable with this notion of traveling internationally and being savvy about which destination they select to allow their dollar to take them even further,” says Gabe Saglie, the senior editor for Travelzoo.com.

Related Tool: How Much am I Spending?

Here are five exciting destinations where you can really stretch your dollar...all with package deals recently listed on Travelzoo for under $1000!

1) Mexico

With its deep history, endless beaches, a low-cost currency, it’s always a top destination, says Saglie. “There are bargains to be found year-round south of the border, but if you look at the summer travel season--late summer to very early fall--that’s when we’re seeing some pretty dramatic savings on the ground—like hotels at reduced rates of 50-60%, or even 70% off.”

The resorts of the Riviera Maya offer meals and every amenity under the sun. And if you want to explore down the road to Tulum, you can enjoy a fish taco meal for about $5!

2) Canada

It offers endless, and inexpensive activities for the outdoor enthusiast like whale watching, hiking and biking. You’ll work up an appetite, but the meal will come cheap: share a stack of buttermilk pancakes in Vancouver for about $10.

3) Dominican Republic

If gorgeous beaches aren’t enough to lure you, try scouting the Major League’s next big baseball stars at Santo Domingo’s Quisqueya stadium where the best seats in the house are all under $20.

4) Costa Rica

There’s something for everyone here! Beautiful rain forests, dramatic volcanoes and perfect waves have made this country one of Latin America’s most popular destinations. While prices have risen a bit in recent years, you can still rent a surfboard for $15 a day, enter one of the many national parks for about $10, and enjoy a delicious casado, or meal of the day, for less than $5.

5) Western Europe

Don’t rule it out! Hotel rates in financially troubled countries like Greece, Spain and Ireland are down by as much as 7% year over year, according to hotels.com.

“Some of these troubled destinations can be some of the best havens for value on the other side of the Atlantic,” says Saglie. “Granted, on the ground, some of your day to day incidentals may not be cheap, but getting you there--and staying there--can certainly be an affordable alternative to other western European destinations.”

Related tool: Currency Converter

Wherever you go, know your exchange rate and avoid paying excess fees on your daily purchases. Fodor’s says to change your money at ATM’s, especially if your bank is global or partners with a local affiliate; avoid airport and hotel exchange booths; and use credit cards for big purchases. For a list of the best cards that won’t charge you costly conversion fees, go to nerdwallet.com.

What’s your favorite budget destination? Find me on twitter @veragibbons, and use the hashtag #costofliving.

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