It’s no secret that a strong dollar translates to excellent value abroad. But there’s an art to knowing where to go to get the most bang for your buck (literally). With that in mind, we’ve ranked the world’s most affordable destinations for 2016 based off year-over-year exchange rates. The great news: this is a banner year for American travelers, with banks reporting that the dollar is the strongest it’s been since 2003. According to a report from Charles Schwab, the rise is thanks to a shrinking trade gap and a strong economy—one that’s been growing while other countries are struggling to stay apace. For American travelers, it translates to big savings—up to 40 percent, in some destinations.
There is, however, a limit to how long Americans can ride out a strong dollar for cheaper than average vacations. According to Expedia’s president and CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, travelers may only have until the end of the year to take advantage. “We've seen that the strength of the US dollar has made international travel more affordable in the last year,” he told Travel + Leisure, “but many analysts predict that trend won't continue to be the case in 2017.” The bottom line, according to Khosrowshahi: “With continued currency fluctuations globally, now is a better time than ever for Americans to travel abroad.”
Let this list be your guide for where to go. It represents the top 15 countries where the dollar has gained the most value since this time last year, with one notable exception: Greece. There, the prices of hotels and consumer goods have fallen dramatically while the local currency has remained relatively stable. (The Euro’s fluctuation has trended downwards, but gradually over the last five years; though the dollar is nearly at a one to one ratio with the Euro for the first time in 13 years, the year-on-year change has been minimal, making it a poor fit for the purposes of this story.)
To help adjust for rising airfares, we've asked Expedia to help us compare the price of flights in 2016 versus 2015 for the destinations that follow. In other words: we've done all the digging, crosschecking, and itinerary planning, so now all you have to do is decide where to go.