Maximize Your Budget While Traveling With This Simple Planning Tip

The cost of travel is rising, thanks to inflation and other factors. According to Bankrate, the average travel expenses per person shot up by over $400 between 2022 and 2023, with the average one-week trip now requiring just under $2,000 per head. Whether your budget is above or below this figure, you deserve an unforgettable vacation — and a no-brainer money tip can make it easier to afford.

To make the tip work, you must first have an open mind when planning your trip. If you had your sights set on a specific city or promised your family you'd take them to Walt Disney World, this easy hack probably won't work in your favor. So what's the money-saving secret? It's simple: Choose destinations where your country's currency will go further.

The reality is not every travel spot in the world will require the same budget. The cash you set aside could yield a luxurious getaway in some locales — and a minimalist, no-frills trip in others. If you'll be converting your money to another currency while vacationing, it's crucial to research the typical exchange rate in advance and understand how much food, transportation, and other necessities cost in your destination of choice.

Destinations where your money goes further

When planning your trip, keep in mind that exchange rates are always fluctuating due to multiple factors, such as interest rates and export prices. The good news is you don't have to become an economist to maximize your travel budget. Simply check recent exchange rates and how they stack up to the rates in previous years (OECD has a useful chart for this). If you're spending in dollars and notice that one dollar equals more of another country's currency now than usual, this could be your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience that destination at a fraction of the typical cost. One post-pandemic example is Japan. Due to the weakest yen in decades, many visitors traveling to the Land of the Rising Sun found it easier to stretch their travel funds.

Still, spots like Japan might not be budget-friendly for everyone, which is why it's also important to research the local cost of living and typical travel expenses for each location on your list. Some of our top picks for vacation destinations where the dollar goes further include Costa Rica, Hungary, Indonesia, Tunisia, and Portugal.

One last point to note: Even inexpensive places can get pricey during certain times of the year. Make sure no local holidays are set to take place during your trip, and if the flight tickets seem exceptionally high, it might be because you're booking at a popular time. Shifting your dates could help you save even more during your vacation.