As November quickly approaches it’s time to start thinking about where you’ll go on vacation this holiday season. Thankfully the US dollar is quite strong this year which means things like hotel rooms and food are even cheaper in other countries this year as compared to last year.
Our cold neighbor to the north, Canada is a beautiful and diverse vacation destination. From skiing to sight-seeing in the cities, there’s something for everyone in Canada. Most Canadians cities are mere hours from the US border which makes driving to Canada easy and often most frugal choice.
To enter Canada you’ll need a passport or an enhanced driver’s license. Currently you can exchange one American dollar for $1.30 Canadian dollars. Budget between $100-200 (Canadian) a night for hotel rooms in major cities, with hostels being a much more frugal alternative (and my favorite!). Popular destinations include Toronto, near Niagara Falls and the largest city in Canada, Montreal and Quebec City, both full of old world charm and relatively-warm Vancouver, near both Seattle and a mountain range.
The United Kingdom
The British economy is suffering right now after a vote to leave the European Union. “Brexit” has caused the British Pound to fall significantly and now one American dollar can be exchanged for £0.82, a historical high. To enter the UK you’ll need a passport. Right now Expedia has flight and four-star hotel combinations in London from $1200 per person during the Christmas holidays. Once settled in centrally located London, you can visit Stonehenge, Bath or even take the train to far-away Edinburgh and Glasgow if your budget allows for it.
China is arguably the most complicated place to visit on this list since you’ll need to get a tourist visa from the Chinese embassy. Thankfully the cost of the visa is offset by the great deals you can find on flights to China. Since the Chinese stock market crashed in the summer of 2015, flights to China have dropped to incredible lows to encourage American tourists to visit. Once in China everything from hotel rooms, food and activities are incredibly cheap when compared to America.
The United States
Why not have a staycation, or at least travel domestically? America is a country as diverse as Canada with both mountain ranges for skiing and beaches for tanning accessible within a few hours’ flight. Low gas prices also provide the opportunity for a road trip. Although visiting New Orleans is less exciting than the UK, it’s much warmer and cheaper to get to!
Although still tricky to visit, airlines in America are now flying directly to Cuba for the first time in over 50 years. Demand for hotels are high since tourist companies have purchased large blocks of rooms ahead of time but, nothing stops you from booking a tour with one of the many travel companies that now cater to Americans looking to visit Cuba. Cuba is a truly unique place devoid of Americana and full of delicious foods and sandy beaches. Take this holiday season to visit before it’s ruined by tourists.
Colombia isn’t as dangerous as it used to be. Since the early 2000s the country has cleaned up its act and although the State Department still has a travel warning in place, Colombia is visited by tens of thousands of tourists a year, all incident-free. Four-star hotels in the capital of Bogota can be found for $70 a night including breakfast and food, activities and Uber rides throughout Bogota are a bargain.
The holiday season is expensive for many reasons – food, gifts, traveling to see family. Instead of spending your hard earned money on food and family, why not take a vacation? Whether you travel in America or go abroad, there are many deals to be had over the holidays. Just remember to stay safe and warm!