For anyone who has been contemplating taking a dream vacation, then 2015 might be the best year to do it. The U.S. dollar (USD) is at its strongest level in years, making it very inexpensive to visit many countries around the world.
Unstable economies have made the U.S. dollar a currency in high demand. The euro ( EUR) is 18 percent cheaper than it was in the first quarter of 2014, making most European countries very popular for U.S. travelers. Europe isn't the only inexpensive area of the world to visit these days. Let’s take a look at a few of the best places to travel in 2015 now that the US dollar has rallied to multi-year highs. (For more, see: How A Strong Greenback Affects the Economy.)
Tourism in Mexico has struggled in recent years due to drug cartel violence. Nowadays, tourism is booming, and the strong dollar is only helping the case for Americans to head south. The peso to dollar exchange rate is now at 15 to 1, which is the best rate in years. Many of Mexico’s hotspots are easy to get to with non-stop flights from major U.S. cities. (For more, see: Information And Advice On Mexico.)
Russia has always been a country that many would love to visit but few could justify because of the cost. The ruble (RUB) has collapsed by half over the past 12 months, and, as a result, Russia is nearly 50 percent less expensive to visit today compared to a year ago. Delta (DAL) was even offering round-trip flights for as low as $379 earlier in March, and that price included all taxes and fees. Furthermore, according to TripAdvisor.com, Russian hotel prices have fallen by almost 45 percent since last year. The average hotel room now costs just $80 per night.
Anywhere in the eurozone
Have you ever imagined yourself sipping a fine Italian wine in Rome’s Campo De’ Fiori? How about a river cruise down the Seine in Paris? Right now, the U.S. dollar is at its strongest level against the euro since 2003, making most European cities affordable for any traveler. If you’re hoping to book a European vacation for rock bottom prices, you might be a little disappointed. Europe is always going to be pricey, but it’s still a lot cheaper than it was a couple of years ago. (For more, see: 5 Economic Reports That Affect The Euro.)
If seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland is on your bucket list, then you may need to book that trip in 2015. Over the past 10 years, the Icelandic krona has fallen nearly 20 percent against the dollar. Starting on May 8, WOW Air will operate flights out of Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport for just $99 each way.
Norway and Sweden
Both Norway and Sweden have traditionally been rather expensive countries to visit. As the dollar continues to strengthen, both of these countries are becoming more affordable. The dollar has risen 29 percent against the Swedish krona (SEK) and 25 percent against the Norwegian krone (NOK). In addition to the strong dollar, Swedish and Norwegian hotel prices have decreased by 19 percent and 17 percent, respectively. Skiers may also appreciate that the price for lift tickets at Norway’s largest resort, Trysil have dropped $40 since last year. (For more, see: Tips For Renting A Vacation House.)
Brazil played host to the FIFA World Cup last year, and the South American nation will host the Summer Olympics in 2016. Since 2015 is an off year from major sporting events, it might be the best time to take a trip. The dollar is almost 20 percent stronger against the Brazilian real (BRL) than it was last year.
The Bottom Line
No matter where you decide to travel, you will be given the option at your hotel to pay using dollars or the local currency. Always chose to pay using their national currency. This is how you will be able to take full advantage of strong dollar.