Sometimes you just really need a vacation. But planning a vacation, especially deciding where to go, may not be feasible when it comes to your finances. Eating packaged ramen every night while you save for that trip to Greece may sound like an attainable goal, but even the most enthusiastic soup lover would cave after a few days.
There are plenty of places where the U.S. dollar is favorable, allowing you to put together the vacation of a lifetime without sacrificing other financial goals. Here are a few places where the dollar — and your experiences — stretch further.
While the airfare may set you back a bit, Thailand is one place where the exchange rate takes you further. The Thai Baht usually sits at about .35 on the U.S. dollar. This not only allows for longer stays. but makes room for a few extra indulgences — and who doesn’t want that?
Thailand has a wide variety of landscapes and cultures, so it’s easy to tailor a trip that’s a little more personal. Walk with elephants in the jungle area of Chiang Rai, then lie by the stunning infinity pool at the Anantara Golden Triangle, or get some rest and relaxation in your very own in-suite pool at The Inside House in Chiang Mai. Turn off your phone and head to the 500 Rai Floating Resort in the middle of Khao Sok National Park; visit busy Bangkok for amazing street food and culture. Or just skip the crowds in Phuket and spend some time on the beaches of Khanom. And an insider tip? Hit the Aava Resort and Spa if you’re looking for pure relaxation with an authentic landscape.
Colombia is a historical hotspot with a blooming food and beverage industry, which makes it perfect for hustle and bustle lovers. The U.S. dollar will afford you the opportunity to have a luxury vacation without breaking the bank.
Colombia, one of South America’s hidden gems, has been gaining in popularity in recent years. Cartagena is labeled as the number one tourist destination in Colombia. Hotels in the area are budget-friendly and usually include perks like free WiFi and breakfast — things that normally would have to be accounted for in a vacation budget. And while a sit-down restaurant may be more your style, don’t forget about street food — an authentic and low-budget cuisine.
Want options outside of the city? Beach lovers can head to Tayrona National Natural Park, while those seeking more adventure can check out El Cocuy, an area ripe for hikers and campers with stunning views of snow-capped mountains.
Budapest is having a moment in travel culture, and it’s one that is also easy on the wallet. The city is architecturally stunning, blending Roman ruins and contemporary design for a totally unique feel. The city hosts the Buda Castle and the Great Synagogue, a must-see for history lovers, architect buffs, and Instagramers alike.
Another great thing about Budapest: Public transportation, museums, and many walking tours are all free.
After scoping out the city, environmentalists can spend some time checking out wildlife and scenery at Hortobágyi National Park, go caving (or catch a concert in the cave!) at Aggtelek National Park, or spend some time in the city of Pécs, which has been named one of UNESCO’s Cities for Peace. Not only does Pécs house museums and medieval buildings, but the wine scene is a must-experience for connoisseurs and novices alike.
If international travel isn’t an option right now, there are ways to make domestic travel a bit less expensive and a little more fun.
If you have a specific area in mind, do your homework on when hotel and flight rates are the cheapest — set alerts on your phone to keep up with fluctuating prices. Negotiate your hotel rates with the hotel itself, instead of booking online. Hotels are sometimes more willing to include meals or other amenities if they can’t match you on price.
If you’re driving to your destination, scope out an Airbnb for more affordable (and often trendier) accommodations. A place just a few minutes outside of your main location can be significantly cheaper. If you’re not tied to a specific place or time, do some research! You may end up picking a part of the country you wouldn’t have before (who said the Alabama Gulf Coast, instead of the beaches of Florida, wasn’t Instagram-worthy?).
Wherever you decide to go, you don’t need to adopt the diet of a college freshman to book your next level trip. With some research and planning, you can have that Insta-worthy vacation and still get more bang for your buck.
Emily Cappiello is a travel blogger and editor. She has written for publications such as Forbes, Reader’s Digest, and more. Her mission is to share stories and be a resource in the budgeting/savings realm of travel and vacationing.