If you read the financial news, you know the U.S. dollar is in the toilet. There are plenty of sound reasons for this, plus a few other reasons that have nothing to do with logic or reason. None of that really matters though when you’re planning a trip to Italy or France and you go into cardiac arrest looking at the prices.
Fortunately for U.S. and Canadian travelers, it’s still 2001 in Spanish-speaking Latin America in terms of exchange rates. Overall, things haven’t changed all that much except in Argentina, where it’s a far better deal than it used to be (though not as good as two or three years ago.) Here’s a look at how the U.S. dollar has done so far this year against other currencies.
Ecuador and Panama – unchanged (they use the dollar)
Brazil -5.3% (ouch)
New Zealand -5.9%
Thailand -8.3% (double ouch)
You better believe these costs will show up in your travel budget, whether it’s taxi rides, hotels, restaurant meals, or museums. Taking a trip to Europe this summer is akin to opening your wallet and letting someone take out 1/3 of your cash. If you go to Latin America, your wallet stays intact.
If you’re looking into retiring overseas or buying real estate as an investment, there’s another reason to pay attention to currency fluctuations. That rural castle in Romania is not looking like such a deal anymore, but beachfront property in Mexico, Roatan, or Panama? That’s a different story.