5 Amazing Vacation Destinations Where the Dollar Rules All



In Mexico, your dollar will go very, very far. According to LonelyPlanet, mid-range travelers can live comfortably in most parts of Mexico on $75 to $125. Between $40 and $70 can get a comfortable room for you and your partner with a private bathroom and air conditioning.

A decent restaurant dinner or lunch will run you between $15 to $25. For backpackers who are accustomed to staying in hostels, $40 can cover the cost of a night's accommodation and two restaurant meals a day.

If you choose to exchange your local currency into pesos at money exchange locations or airports, you will be charged a fee or pay an unfavorable exchange rate, and withdrawing cash from foreign bank accounts from ATMs in Mexico may be even worse -- you will most likely be charged international withdrawal fees, ATM fees, and currency exchange fees. Be prepared and visit your bank to make a cash withdrawal before your trip.

Year-to-date change: -0.8 In resort towns and luxury destinations, the dollar offers a far lower value.

(Image via Flickr)



It doesn't get much cheaper than Thailand. Tourists are drawn to Bangkok, the city capital that offers culture and night life, but Thailand has others lures that make the visit worth it.

For instance, touring the famous Buddhist temples that include Wat Traimit and Wat Benchamabophit costs less than 87 cents, and the markets and canals selling crafts and local produce are a financial negotiator's forte. According to Askmen.com, T-shirts in such bazaars go for as low as $1.50, silver as low as $7, and in Phuket, partygoers pay no more than $20 for a night's worth of drinks.

Nomadic Matt says that Thailand runs the gamut of pricing, with night lodgings easily available for $3, going anywhere up to $1,000 for a luxurious resort lifestyle. Food is another category with price diversity, where visitors can dig into 20 cent street food or $300 gourmet dinners.

Year-to-date change: -0.3 According to CNN reporter Karla Cripps, the dollar is weaker today than it was in the 1990s, when you could reportedly get decent guest rooms in Bangkok for less than $10. However, if you live like a local, you can make do with a frugal budget.

(Image via Flickr)


Costa Rica

Costa Rica is now known as one of the more expensive destinations in Central America, but the country's relationship with American low-cost carriers (such as JetBlue and Spirit) and favorable exchange rate has managed to keep travel affordable for tourists.

According to LonelyPlanet, while Costa Rica is significantly pricier than most Central American countries, it is also cheaper than traveling to Europe or within the U.S. Anywhere from $25 to $35 a day covers the basic essentials of food, lodging, and transportation, but rooms with private bathrooms (something Americans expect) roughly start at $15 to $20 per person, depending on the area. If you're willing to downgrade to a room with a bed, four walls, and a shared bathroom with other guests, you can expect to pay $7 to $15.

In general, tourists can expect to travel comfortably for $50 to $100 a day. Many restaurants cater to tourists, and offer meals that cost between $5 to $10. Set meals at lunch counters, called casados, typically cost $2 to $3.

What's more, there are many ATMs in even the smallest towns of Costa Rica, where the Visa Plus network is standard (you can find the Cirrus network which accepts most foreign ATM cards in larger cities and tourist areas), and throughout Costa Rica you can pay for tours, hotel rooms, park fees, and mid-range to pricey meals and large-ticket items with U.S. dollars.

Year-to-date change: 10.2

(Image via Flickr)



According to a recent survey, India is the cheapest major economy in the world, with 60 rupee, the local Indian currency, being equivalent to one U.S. dollar.

It may take a bit of digging to get price estimates of how much a rupee can buy, but Numbeo.com's account of the cost of living in India breaks down a variety of typical expenses that a tourist might be interested in knowing:

  • A three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant coming in at 800 rupee, which roughly equates to $13.33.
  • To rent a one-bedroom apartment for a month in the city center, costs a mere 12,663.51 rupee, which translates to approximately $211.05.
  • A one-way transportation ticket costs 20 rupee, or 33 cents.
  • A domestic beer costs 73.94 rupee, which is approximately $1.24.

According to Buzzfeed, $5 fetches 1.5 pounds of coffee grounds in India, whereas in the U.S. you would get approximately 0.8 pounds, so if you're buying food and other necessities, you'll get a lot of bang for your buck.

Year-to-date change: Unchanged -- Governor Raghuram Rajan kept the repurchase rate at 8 percent as of April 2014.

(Image via Flickr)



Huffington Post nominated Cambodia as a frequented destination by backpackers in 2013, and quotes the price of a hostel bed as a mere $4. According to TravelFish, a typical traveler's budget in Cambodia is around $15 to $20 each day, which can buy a decent room, three meals, and transportation. 

How can this country be so affordable? The answer, Gadling says, is that Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in Asia, and foreign currency goes a long way because of that fact -- beers are 50 cents, an entree is $3, and an hour-long massage is just $5.

Nomadic Matt says similarly, with private rooms costing around $10. Conversion is also easy, with the local economy being catered to the dollar. If you want to explore, cross-country buses will cost you less than $10.

So, how does it stack up to our earlier pick of Thailand? USA Today quotes Cambodia as being one of the top 10 places to visit for just $50 a day, saying "If Thailand is plugged in, Cambodia is unplugged. There are remote beaches and islands," Kepnes says.

Year-to-date change: 0.7

(Image via Flickr)