Recently, I relocated to Central America for the month. A wonderful place to visit, I am also the type of person that tends to read business sections and pays attention to FX markets, if only to maximize on my vacation travel. When I see poor suckers going to Europe right now, with everything costing twice as much after the exchange rate, I sit back and smile as I head to a country with an 8:1 exchange rate. Yes, that’s right, 8:1. You can eat delightfully for Q150. That’s including your drinks, and probably the equivalent of about $17 Canadian. In fact, I knew many people that had a food budget of about Q20 per day, which is about the same as $2.50 Canadian (and they were eating, no fasting even on that budget).
Transportation is privatized there, and so busses are plentiful and cost about $0.30 each ride, Spanish classes are readily accessible, and foreigners are there from all over the world – I definitely was not the only one that planned travel this way. Choosing destinations based on exchange rates, allows you to REALLY see a country. I was able to splurge on weekend trips, because I wasn’t spending so much on the basics, like food and housing. And, down there, cleaning and laundry are including with housing, so I was probably paying even less, as it was solely one price for housing and cleaning and laundry services. I also made sure I lived in a place with a kitchen, thus not making me eat every single meal in a restaurant, which saved some money as well. I also ended up teaching there, which allowed me to practice my Spanish, which allowed me cut back on my Spanish classes, and still gave ample time to practice my conversation.
These little things really do affect the way we see the world, and let us not get out of control with spending as we travel, and most importantly, let us focus on enjoying the trip!