Summer travel destinations to stretch the US dollar

We know that choosing where to vacation depends on a lot of things: what kind of vacation you’re after (city, country, beach or mountains), when to go, how long to go for, and, of course, how much money you have to spend.

Even if you snag a great deal on a flight to some far-flung country, the on-the-ground costs can translate into a daunting credit card bill upon your return home.

That’s why US residents would do well to base travel plans on where the dollar will stretch the furthest.

“Seeking out value destinations where your dollar will go further, either because the local currency is devalued — Brazil — or because it simply doesn’t command the same rates — Hungary — can translate into significant savings on your summer travels,” says Misty Belles, spokeswoman at Virtuoso, a network of luxury travel agencies.

We’ve rounded up some hot spots where your Benjamins will take you even further and maximize your vacation experience. Just hurry up and travel before the July 30-31 meeting of the US Federal Reserve, where officials could vote to lower US interest rates (and that could weaken the US dollar).


South America travel, the Olympics

US citizens no longer need a visa to travel to Brazil, and this helps sweeten the cost of a trip to the country.

Gabriel O’Rorke

Whether it’s the sprawling metropolis São Paulo, the seaside party city Rio de Janeiro, or the colorful Afro-Brazilian city Salvador you’re most interested in exploring, Brazil is eager to embrace you. The best part is all the money you’ll save on all those caipirinhas. The refreshing cocktail goes down easy.

Even better news: On June 17, Brazil lifted the visa requirement for citizens traveling to the South American country from the United States,Canada, Japan and Australia, shaving off the cost of at least one part of a trip to the region.


Quy Nhon is a pleasing alternative to some of Vietnam's more heavily touristed areas.

Quy Nhon is a pleasing alternative to some of Vietnam’s more heavily touristed areas.


In Hanoi, the country’s culture-rich capital, for example, a stay at the top hotel in the city — Sofitel Legend Metropole — costs less than $300 a night, but most accommodation options come in at well below that rate.

Add to that a thriving street food scene, a variety of day-trip possibilities and easy access to other parts of the country (fly to Quy Nhon from Hanoi on the southeast coast for less than $100), and Vietnam is a frugal traveler’s dream.

Getting to this Southeast Asian country from the US will cost you some dollars — a quick search on Kayak shows round-trip flights from New York City to Hanoi in August hovering around $1200 — but once on land, you’ll find the prices quite kind.


 Oaxaca in Central Mexico is one of CNN Travel's 19 places to visit in 2019 recommendations.

Oaxaca in Central Mexico is one of CNN Travel’s 19 places to visit in 2019 recommendations.

Mint Images/Shutterstock

Five-star hotels in Mexico City or the D.F. (Distrito Federal, as locals and familiar travelers often refer to the nation’s capital) cost a fraction of what you’d expect to pay in any major US or European city.

But venture beyond the bustling capital with its international restaurants and hip cocktail bars and you’ll spend even less of those hard-earned dollars. Take Oaxaca, one of CNN Travel’s 19 places to visit in 2019 destinations, in central Mexico.

The city’s pace is slower here and it’s less touristed than Tulum or Cancun, but every bit as pleasant. Oaxaca’s bed and breakfast scene is one of the most charming parts of a visit. Expect a relaxing stay, a decadent breakfast and zero sticker shock at any of The Cabrera Family’s properties: Casa de las Bugambilias, Los Milagros and El Secreto.


Midwestern residents might consider a road trip to Winnipeg, Manitoba for an adventure that won't break the bank.

Midwestern residents might consider a road trip to Winnipeg, Manitoba for an adventure that won’t break the bank.


For many Americans, the strength of the US dollar combined with Canada’s location just across the US border means they can take a road trip to Canada rather than flying across the border.

Residents in the Northeast US can head toward Montreal or Toronto, while Midwesterners might consider a trip to Winnipeg, Manitoba’s capital and a haven for outdoor summer festivals including the multi-day Folklorama.

The no-brainer option for Pacific Northwest folks is Vancouver, a polished yet eclectic city set amid mountains, offering a range of city-centric things to do and outdoor adventures.


Debrecen, Hungary is the country's second-largest city and a lovely place for a getaway.

Debrecen, Hungary is the country’s second-largest city and a lovely place for a getaway.


Instead of following the crowds this year and jaunting off to Paris or Venice, why not consider Hungary?

The Central European country doesn’t command the same rates as other European countries, according to Belles, who is a fan of Budapest. Yet the city is studded with architectural delights, such as the Hungarian State Opera House, and although it’s not exactly an off-the-radar European destination, it’s certainly easier to navigate than the most popular hotspots.

Plus, Budapest and Debrecen, the country’s second-largest city, are affordable and no less appealing to the discriminating traveler.

In Budapest, Michelin dining comes at a relative bargain: Borkonyha Winekitchen offers a 5-course tasting menu for less than $80 USD based on current exchange rates. Escape to Debrecen for a more relaxed pace, or simply head to Margaret Island, a two-and-a-half-kilometer long and 500-meter wide island separating Buda from Pest, and relish in a tranquil retreat within the city.

This article originally appeared here