If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to travel the world in 2017, the Canadian dollar goes a pretty long way in several cities abroad.
In a recent travel report by Forbes, the magazine listed 30 cheap destinations for Americans to visit in 2017. The list included countries like Costa Rica, Indonesia, Bulgaria and Haiti.
Travelling on a budget
Claire Newell, a travel expert of Travel Best Bets based in Vancouver, says many of the destinations on Forbes’ list is just as affordable for Canadians.
“The South African rand, for example, is quite weak at the moment,” she tells Global News. “For Canadians, this is normally an expensive destination.”
Asian destinations are historically inexpensive, she says, and because of the current news cycle in some European countries, she has noticed cheaper flights going to various cities there. Morocco, she adds, has had a boom in their hotel industry, resulting in more deals across the board.
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But travelling on a budget isn’t just about finding a cheap flight. There are other things to consider before booking your trip.
“People forget that transportation [can be expensive], she says. “There are a lot of options in cities including cheap shuttle buses or transit systems.”
Food is also an area where people tend to overspend. She recommends having at least one meal in your hotel room or eating out at a small restaurant instead of multiple high-end ones.
Rishi Modi, Toronto-based travel expert at Next Departure, says while most cities on the Forbes list are ideal for Canadians, there are other destinations that are just as inexpensive. Below, he highlights some of the cheapest destinations for Canadians to explore in 2017.
Mexico City, Mexico
“Finding cheap accommodation in good locations is hard in New York City, London, Paris, Sydney. Mexico City is one exception,” he tells Global News. “You can find accommodation near central squares for less than $100. Best of all, taking an Uber is cheaper than public transit. You can take a 20-minute ride for only $4.”
If you’re heading to Portugal, Lisbon is your best bet. “Cheap accommodation can be found for less that $75 in central Lisbon. They have a great public transit system that is very easy to use and drops you off at all the major attractions,” Modi says. The Lisbon Card also offers discounts to most attractions and is very reasonably priced at only 18 euros for 24 hours.
When you’re in Thailand, in general, the price of meals won’t be an issue. “Finding cheap accommodations is harder in key locations, but Bangkok has a great public transit system,” he says. And don’t forget to spoil yourself — you’ll definitely have leftover funds. “You can get massages, pedicures and other spa treatments for only $8.”
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai, the northern part of Thailand, is cheaper than Bangkok, he says. “It is less hectic and you can rent a scooter for $6 a day.” And when you’re there, make sure you visit an elephant sanctuary (just avoid riding them.)
“The way to not spend too much money in Morocco is to stay in a riad [a traditional house] instead of a chain hotel,” he says. “They are houses turned into bed and breakfasts, and they have the most beautiful decor with tiled ceilings and walls. The most top-rated riads are as cheap as $50 per night.” However, he adds, food and tourist attractions are not as cheap.
Cape Town, South Africa
“The Canadian dollar is worth a lot everywhere in South Africa. You can eat at the exquisite restaurant at the Taj Hotel in Cape Town and pay the same as an average restaurant in downtown Toronto,” he says. “Hotels in central Cape Town as well as Camps Bay can be as cheap as $65 per night. The Hop-on Hop-off bus is only $15.”
It is easy to find a five-star rated accommodation under $75 a night in Hanoi, he says. “Vietnam treats their visitors with a lot of respect. The level of service at restaurants, hotels and spas makes you feel like you paid $1,000 when you didn’t.” Hanoi’s famous Bia Hoi Beer is considered the cheapest beer in the world — and it’s delicious. “I would rate this the cheapest out of the list.”
Nha Trang, Vietnam
“The city’s set-up is similar to Miami, with big hotel chains and beach clubs lined up at the coast — only these are a fraction of the cost [it would be in a beach city like Miami],” he says. Dining and drinks are also affordable.
Eastern Europe is always good for frugal travellers. “Most attractions costs less than $10. A single ticket to use transit is only $1.30. You can find lunch and dinners for less than $5 each,” he says. “You get a full European atmosphere without the European prices.”
Guatemala City, Guatemala
From ancient ruins to amazing lakes and volcanoes, Guatemala has everything for the adventurous traveller, Modi says. Accommodations and local food is quite inexpensive, making Guatemala one of the cheapest Central American destinations.