4 Places Where The U.S. Dollar Is Really Strong Right Now

For Condé Nast Traveler, by Sebastian Modak.

The U.S. dollar has had its ups and downs. I have a distinct memory of being a student passing through London on a layover (pre-Brexit), handing over a $100 bill at a bureau de change, and feeling instantly deflated when 50 pounds came back. For many travelers, some parts of the world are just prohibitively expensive; for Americans, that included most of Europe. But over the past year the euro has weakened significantly in relation to the dollar, and it is cheaper than ever for Americans to finally start crossing places off that European bucket list. But Europe’s not the only place where the dollar will get you far. Here are six places around the world you should visit right now, while our fickle global economy is on your side.

1. Spain

1 USD = 0.90 EUR

The euro has been hovering around this favorable rate since mid-2015—but as recently as 2014, it was down to 0.72, making trips to Europe very expensive for Americans. Now, with Europe cheaper than it’s been since 2003, we recommend a trip to Spain, which generally is more affordable to begin with than some of its neighbors. Consider doing a food tour: whether you’re in San Sebastián for its Michelin-spangled scene or in Barcelona (pictured) for a local drink that you’ll want to take home by the barrel.

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2. Mexico

1 USD = 18.90 MXN

There’s never a bad time to take a trip to Mexico (well, hurricane season isn’t great), but it will be a lot easier on your wallet this year than it was a year ago, when a dollar only translated to about 15 pesos. Tulum (pictured)—where, despite its rise in popularity, it’s still possible to get off the grid—is an obvious destination. But Mexico’s not all about a cold beer on a white sand beach: Its capital, Mexico City, is having a moment right now. The city offers a culinary scene that is combining tradition with innovation and museums that celebrate its rich history and forward-looking art scene.

3. South Africa

1 USD = 13.72 ZAR

It’s not cheap to get to South Africa from the United States—although if you pay close enough attention, you can find some great deals. Once you make it there, you’ll be getting almost 14 rand for every dollar you exchange, as opposed to 12 a year ago. Spend a few days in Cape Town (pictured), for a balance of nature and city life (don’t skip the Table Mountain views or eating in Woodstock). If you have the coin, migrate out of the city to stay in an all-frills private game reserve. Whatever your itinerary, now’s the time for a South Africa trip: It might just change your life.

4. Colombia

1 USD = 3081.85 COP

Most of Latin America is a great deal for dollar-carriers right now, but we recommend a trip to Colombia, both because of the year-to-year change in the exchange rate (a dollar was equal to 2600.62 Colombian pesos last year) and also because the country is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, infood, art, and technology. Bogotá (pictured) and Medellín are worth visiting, to see two cities on the rise. Also be sure to head to the more remote regions of Colombia—once off-limits for security reasons—to see wonders like the Valle de Cocora, home to the world’s largest palm tree forest.

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