The New Year is upon us and you’re probably thinking about where you might like to travel in 2023. There are many factors to consider when choosing your next destination, but one you will definitely want to think about is where your American dollar will have the most power.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, global economies have shifted drastically. Inflation has increased, supply chains have been interrupted, and the strength of different world currencies has changed. The good news is that, as a result, the U.S. dollar is extremely strong. The U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the greenback against a basket of other currencies, rose approximately 17 percent from January to November, as published by Forbes Magazine.
“We have seen a tremendous rise in the dollar,” said Matt Forester, chief investment officer of Lockwood Advisors at BNY Mellon Pershing, who was quoted in the article.
Economists will debate whether a strong dollar is a good sign, or a bad one, for the health of the American economy as a whole. But one thing is certain: your buying power abroad is more powerful than it’s been in a long time. If you like to globetrot, this is great news. It means your hard-earned paycheck or retirement money will go a lot further. While a luxury hotel in New York might cost you several hundred dollars, one in Indonesia might only cost you $30! How much buying power your dollar has depends on where you choose to travel.
How Can You Compare Currency Strength?
Comparing currencies can be tricky business without an equal point of comparison, so in 1986 The Economist devised a method to compare the cost of a single product across country lines. The Big Mac Index uses a McDonald’s Big Mac hamburger, available in almost every country in the world, to serve as a reference point for currency strength. Taking this index into account, along with overall travel attraction, we compiled a list of the top 3 destinations you might want to visit to stretch your dollar.
Top 3 Travel Destinations Where the American Dollar is Strong
How Far Will Your Dollar Go in Indonesia?
Of the countries ranked by the 2022 Big Mac Index, Indonesia scored as the third cheapest country behind Russia and Turkey. When you’ll pay almost $6 for a Big Mac in the U.S., you’ll only pay $2.35 in Indonesia. Taking this approach to looking at hotel costs might be more illustrative. A scan on Expedia shows 5-star hotels on our test date (Feb. 1) costing as little as $7 a night! To bring in a brand you might recognize, the 5-star Hilton Hotel in Bandung is only $51 a night. Compare that to a Hilton in New York City Times Square for the same date at $205 a night, and you get the idea. Your money will go far in Indonesia.
Reasons to Visit Indonesia:
Your dollar will go far in Indonesia
You can see an abundance of natural wildlife, including Komodo Dragons, Orangutans and River dolphin.
Indonesia is home to 20 percent of the world’s coral reefs and boasts some of the best scuba diving in the world.
You can visit stunning Buddhist temples dating back to the 9th Century.
Indonesia is located in the “Pacific Rim of Fire,” one of the most active volcanic areas in the world. You can see roughly 150 different volcanoes, many active.
The sunsets from Mr. Bromo Volcano are particularly spectacular.
Indonesia has more than 17,000 islands, which means there is no shortage of idyllic, powder-sand beaches to visit.
Indonesians are friendly and welcoming.
The food is colorful, fresh and flavorful.
The flight to get to Indonesia is very long and can be expensive. The cost of your flight, however, may well be made up for by the cheap costs once you arrive. Pro tip: try a stopover flight to break up the trip. Stopover flights are available through Doha and Tokyo. With some airlines, like Qatar airways, you can stay for up to four days on your stopover without increasing your ticket price. This way you get to visit two places for the price of one plane ticket.
How Far Will Your Dollar Go in Turkey?
Like Indonesia, your dollar will go far in Turkey. In fact, even further according to the Big Mac Index. Turkey ranked second behind Russia for cheapest Big Mac at $1.85. A five-star hotel in Istanbul, Turkey for our test date (Feb. 1) is as cheap as $22 per night. The five-star Wyndham: $35 per night.
Reasons to Visit Turkey
Your American dollar will go far in Turkey.
Few places have more jaw-dropping archaeological sites. You can witness the remnants of ancient civilizations and empires, such as the ruins of Ephesus, the underground city of Cappadocia and the Amphitheatre at Hierapolis.
Turkish cuisine is delicious. Try fresh seafood, kebabs, meze, baklava and savory vegetable dishes.
The beaches are stunningly gorgeous with crystalline blue water on both the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts.
Turkish baths are a relaxing treat.
The museums are excellent. Check out the Topkapı Palace (Ottoman) museum in Istanbul or the largest mosaic museum in the world, Zeguma.
There are an abundance of natural wonders to see.
Turkey has seen recent political upheaval. However, according to the U.S. government’s travel advisory scores, Turkey is a yellow zone, which is the same designation as Italy, France and Spain. The advisory suggests staying at least six miles from the Syrian border. Tourist areas are deemed safe, but as in most touristy places, watch for pickpockets and scammers.
How Far Will Your Dollar Go in Romania?
The secret is out: Romania is a fantastic place to travel to see stunning castles, untouched nature, wildlife and ancient history. The World Travel and Tourism Council placed Romania on the 4th position in the top of the world’s fastest growing travel destinations from 2007 till 2016. And, your dollar will go far. According to the Big Mac Index, the classic burger is only $2.39. A five-star hotel in the City-Centre of Bucharest on our test date (Feb. 1) is only $61 per night.
Reasons to Visit Romania
Your American dollar will go far in Romania
The castles are jaw-dropping. Don’t miss Bran Castle, commonly known as Dracula’s Castle because it fits Bram Stoker’s description.
Nature is breathtaking in Romania. Underground glaciers, mud volcanoes, now-capped mountains, green hills, thick forests, cascading vineyards, Black Sea beaches and vast delta can be found in Romania.
Wildlife watching is a pleasure in Romania where you can spot brown bears, lynx, wolves, deer, bison, badgers and more.
History runs deep in Romania, which has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Remains of a roughly 35,000 year old human were found in Romania.
Depending on the time of year you visit, the weather can be brutally cold. If you don’t want the cold, avoid Romania in December and January.
Other Things to Consider When You Plan Your Next Trip
When dreaming of your 2023 getaways, in addition to considering where your money might have the most power, you should also consider protecting yourself and your pocketbook by investing in a quality travel insurance plan. ARREVA Advantage is designed for the avid traveler who wants the best in travel medical protections, travel concierge and air evacuation. ARREVA Advantage brought together three leading companies in the travel insurance industry, each with their own specialties. Our company joined REVA air evacuation, a leader in medical and emergency air evacuation services and repatriation, with Star Indemnity, which provides comprehensive medical coverage to travelers abroad, and World Travel Protection, which specializes in travel concierge, trip coordination, translation services and baggage support.
Combined, the three arms of protection under ARREVA Advantage provide one of the most comprehensive travel insurance products on the market, especially for travelers who will take multiple trips in a year. We offer monthly and annual plans for both the short-term and long-term traveler. You can read more about our comprehensive benefits here.
Our members can rest easy knowing they have a 24/7 advocate on their side should they come across any hurdle. Whether you stumble into a medical issue, have an emergency, suffer a trip delay, require a translator, or just need some general travel assistance, ARREVA Advantage is standing by to help as you explore the globe. Call us today to learn more about how we protect and advocate for you abroad.