In Part 1 of this article, we looked at some of the best countries for overseas travel in 2018, with regards to cost of living and acceptance of U.S. currency. When traveling abroad to a new country, calculating exchange rates and making sure you’re not paying too much for familiar services can cause headaches for even the most seasoned adventurers. With countries like Nicaragua, Belize, Ecuador, and Panama (all of whom widely accept U.S. currency), this stress is eliminated.
If dealing with foreign currencies isn’t a problem, you’ll be glad to know that there are so many countries around the world that offer incredibly favorable exchange rates for U.S. travelers. Choosing a country where your money is stronger instead of weaker could mean the difference of thousands of dollars over the course of an entire trip.
Morocco: The north African nation of Morocco boasts an exotic mix of both European and Middle Eastern culture. Stroll through the colorful spice markets, sit down to a delicious tagine, or wander along the narrow cobblestone streets and ornately tiled residences.
What’s great about Morocco is that it is cheaper (50% lower cost of living than in the U.S.) than its European neighbors to the north and much safer for Western travelers than its cousins in the Middle East – providing you with the best of both worlds in one convenient location.
Cambodia: A hidden gem in southeast Asia, Cambodia offers all the goods without the hefty expense. Compared to nearby countries like Thailand, the Philippines, and Singapore which can be quite pricey in certain areas due to high levels of tourism, Cambodia offers many of the same attractions at a much more affordable price tag.
With a rate of $1 USD equaling about 4,000 Cambodian Riel (and a 40% lower cost of living), you’ll be able to get your tropical beach life on in 2018 for pennies on the dollar. And if you prefer to use those U.S. dollars directly, Cambodia accepts those too!
India: Last year, India was rated one of the cheapest countries in the world for overseas travel, and that recognition looks to continue into 2018. With a culture rich in delicious foods, beautiful craftwork, breathtaking natural and architectural beauty, compelling history, and friendly people, India should be near the top of every budget traveler’s list this year.
Currently, $1 USD equals 66 rupee, with a cost of living almost 65% lower in India than in the States!
Portugal and Greece: While the euro is still stronger than the U.S. dollar at the moment, 2018 will be the cheapest rate for exploring the European continent in years. If you do choose to enter the EU in the coming year, look beyond the major tourist hubs of Italy, France, Germany, and Spain.
Less commercialized countries like Portugal and Greece offer the same thrilling food, history, and cultural value at a significantly lower price. Although the exchange rate is currently €1 to $1.20 USD (January 2018), Portugal and Greece offer 25% and 16% lower consumer prices on average than the United States.
Once you’ve chosen your perfect travel destination for 2018, make sure you aren’t leaving precious money on the table with your currency conversions. Choosing to work with a money transfer service will help you maximize your savings when switching between foreign currency. Money transfer professionals, like those at Moneycorp, will monitor the market fluctuations and work with you to make sure your transfers happen at the most opportune time.
While many people wait until they reach the airport or arrive at their destination to exchange cash, the best way is to budget the total expense of the trip (hotels, restaurants, tours, dining, etc.) and make a single, large cash conversion in advance. Moneycorp offers a few unique services tailored towards getting you the most cash for your big trip!
- Forward Contracts: Lets you lock in a beneficial exchange rate for a transfer in the future.
- Limit Orders/Stop Loss: Set high and low end alerts for exchange rate thresholds that you are satisfied with. Your transfer will process once the market hits your goal.
- Spot Contract: Allows for immediate money transfers at a current rate, if there is an expected downturn in the market.
With some careful planning and an eye on economic trends, 2018 can be your most exciting and guilt-free travel year yet!
Tyler Sorce is an American writer and digital nomad currently living in Lisbon, Portugal. In a past life he was a chef in Manhattan and Paris, follow his travels and favorite dishes on Instagram.