7 top tourist countries that are suddenly cheap(er) due to currency fluctuations

For at least a few years, the major global currencies had been quite stable against each other, but in the past few months there have been some shake-ups. The Euro, British Pound, and even the Canadian Dollar have weakened just a bit against the US Dollar, though even people using those currencies will still find some nice bargains on the list below.

Especially in the past few months, those of us who use USDs or currencies that have been stable can get 10% to 29% more for our money in the 7 countries listed below. The prime reason appears related to the US announcement that it is ready to slow down printing new money (quantitative easing) in the next year, and if that’s the case most of these currency fluctuations are likely to hold or perhaps get even stronger. That said, it could all come crashing down within a few weeks, although that seems highly unlikely.

Recently I wrote about how Japan is suddenly a bargain, and it’s on the list below because that continues to be the case, although the Yen has strengthened just a bit since then. The bottom line is, if you were on the fence about visiting one of the countries below, you might think about booking soon because they are cheaper than you might have realized.

7 Countries that are now cheap or cheaper in mid 2013

1 – Japan

  • 52-week high: 77.1
  • July 1, 2013: 99.5
  • Improvement: 29.05%

The Japanese Yen has been drastically overvalued for many years now so this long-overdue swing back towards balance is very welcome. The country is still the most expensive in Asia, but now it’s actually on par with mid-range European countries, with very nice hotel rooms for under US$100 being easy to find. Prices on most things in Japan have been stagnant or even declined in the past two decades, so now with a reasonable Yen it’s a travel bargain.

Tokyo prices

2 – South Africa

  • 52-week high: 8.05
  • July 1, 2013: 9.89
  • Improvement: 22.86%

The main challenge for South Africa in attracting visitors these days is that it’s so far from where most middle to upper-class tourists are, so flights are never cheap. However, once you are there the prices have always been on the reasonable side, and the weakening currency lately has made it an even better bargain. If you were thinking about a visit to Cape Town or even a safari, the prices once you are there have been dropping.

Cape Town prices

3 – Australia

  • 52-week high: 0.925
  • July 1, 2013: 1.085
  • Improvement: 17.30%

For at least four years now, the Australian Dollar has mostly been gaining strength and making the country nearly out of reach for budget travelers. It’s still quite expensive, but the recent swing has at least dropped it to a point where it doesn’t seem as overpriced as Norway or Switzerland.

Sydney prices
Melbourne prices

4 – Egypt

  • 52-week high: 6.05
  • July 1, 2013: 7.02
  • Improvement: 16.03%

Added more as a footnote than a suggestion for most people, Egypt continues to have more than its fair share of turmoil. Unlike the Turkey situation, it’s hard to recommend that people ignore the news reports and just go, but this won’t go on forever. Egypt was already as cheap as it was fascinating, so when things seem stable again it will be one of the world’s great travel bargains again as well.

Cairo prices

5 – India

  • 52-week high: 51.4
  • July 1, 2013: 59.5
  • Improvement: 15.76%

The Indian Rupee had been stable in the low 40s until late in 2011, and its value has continued to erode since then, actually going above 60 recently. The bad news for travelers is that only the cheapest hotels in India don’t already price rooms in US Dollars, so visitors won’t benefit as much as we’d like. But everything else in India is priced locally and arguably the world’s cheapest country is now even cheaper.

Mumbai prices
Delhi prices
Goa prices

6 – Brazil

  • 52-week high: 1.94
  • July 1, 2013: 2.23
  • Improvement: 14.95%

The Brazilian government has been complaining for years that currency schemes by everyone else have led to a severely overvalued Real, but things have begun to go their way finally. Two years ago the Brazilian currency was at 1.58, so the current 2.23 is a huge movement. The country’s top destinations will still feel expensive compared to the rest of South America, but reasonably priced compared to almost anywhere else.

Rio de Janeiro prices

7 – Turkey

  • 52-week high: 1.75
  • July 1, 2013: 1.92
  • Improvement: 9.71%

The recent turmoil in Turkey is the most likely cause of the recent weakening on its Lira, and that has also caused quite a few people to cancel or postpone trips. I was actually temporarily based in the country during the protests, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back, even to Istanbul itself. The resort and cultural areas are totally unaffected and almost everything in the country is a bargain at the moment.

Istanbul prices
Antalya prices

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