Let’s not sugarcoat this: Currency is synonymous with snooze-fest. But before you zone out, conjure to your mind a 90-minute massage on the beach, endless mouth watering dishes, the convenience of door-to-door service or the comfort of world-class hospitality. Now, imagine it could all be yours. Imagine that, in a single decision, you could make your money worth more. You could increase your budget exponentially, and turn your trip into a luxurious adventure. This isn’t a sleazy trick—it is absolutely possible. Simply in deciding your location, you can either be suffocated by costs or given new freedoms and luxuries you’ve never allowed yourself before. Far from boring, currency value is the single most important and underrated factor to consider when planning your travel.
When my husband and I traveled around the world for 1 year, we kept the same daily budget no matter where we were. Of course each day was different, and being under budget on the less expensive days allowed us to splurge on the experiences that we prioritized. This method worked exceptionally, and we not only arrived home well under budget, we also never once fought about money. This method also gave us a sense of how significant the value of the dollar is. Arriving in Brazil after Israel, we felt newfound freedom in the significantly low valued Brazilian real. Delicious steak and red wine dinners for a crazy $15 is anything but dull. Alternatively, transitioning from Bali to Japan meant a significant downgrade in luxuries and constant monitoring in order to afford our priorities. You face these exact same options when planning your trip.
And deciding to prioritize currency value doesn’t mean limiting your destination options, as there are places in every region where you can capitalize. Southeast Asia is a consistently low cost region, and Vietnam, Cambodia and Bali stand out among the rest. These places offer affordable and upscale lodging, ridiculously cheap transportation, and healthy and delicious food for a lovely low cost. Though European countries in general remain in the higher cost range, certain countries allow all of Europe’s beauty and culture at a fraction of the cost. Greece’s current currency misfortune means travel costs are not only amazingly affordable, tourism is a welcome and needed boost to their economy. Portugal and Hungary also remain at a high value, and you can enjoy the European delights without the strangling cost. There are countless articles to give you endless options on high value travel from Nepal to Belize to Morocco. Deciding on a place with better value doesn’t limit your trip, it enhances it.
You can also save money in how you exchange it. Simply exchange a reasonable amount of cash (depending on where you go and what you’ll be doing), then depend mostly on a credit card without foreign transaction fees (We liked Capital One). If you’re paying companies online, be sure to double-check the rate they use. This may seem overboard, but it will save you mega bucks, which can buy you mega massages.
In deciding on a destination based on currency value, you give your travel the freedom and opportunity not possible in real home life. With a little research and by prioritizing currency, all of your travel priorities suddenly become possible. Being responsible and choosing the more affordable option has never been so glamorous. Think of the massages.
Blakely left her job as an advertising producer in New York to turn professional traveler with her husband. As they explore, learn, give, and get lost, thrilled, and changed through distant lands, she recounts it all on her travel blog and enables couch travelers everywhere. She now contributes to Glamping.com as a guest writer.