The best international travel deals for Americans in 2017

Published January 2, 2017 by lagmen
Bienvenidos.

The new year is a time when many of us set goals for the months ahead—and for a lot of people, those goals may include both travel and financial health. A look at the global currency markets offers some insight about where to travel in 2017 to get the most bang for your buck.

A tumultuous year in politics and financial markets alike has made travel more affordable for millions of people, and farther out of reach for millions more. If you’ve got US dollars in your wallet, congratulations: The greenback is going further all over the world this year compared to 2016. The US Dollar Index late last month reached a 14-year high against six currencies, including the British pound, Japanese yen, Swedish krona, Swiss pound and and Canadian dollar and the euro.

So as you start contemplating vacation plans, here’s a look at a few destinations where the USD will yield cheaper pints, cervezas and croissants.

Where the dollar is stronger:

United Kingdom

The sterling last year lost 17% against the US dollar, a move that largely stemmed from the UK’s surprise vote in June to leave the European Union. That means a trip to the lush countryside of England or a tour of great Scottish castles is now much more affordable for Americans and others using US currency. Meanwhile, Brits face a pricer trip to the US.

Mexico

The peso tumbled by a similar percentage against the USD, driven in part by the victory of US president-elect Donald Trump. Airlines are also preparing to open up more routes to Mexico, which means airfares should drop as trips become more widely available. Beach lovers are especially in luck: In August, Delta announced new routes from the US to Cancun and Los Cabos, at the tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. It’s a destination sure to be appealing for deal-hunters—if you don’t mind the crowds (PDF).

France

The euro fell more than 3% against the USD last year, making it a bit more affordable for US dollar toters. That’s a welcome development for France, which is aching for tourists following terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice. Air France-KLM even has a low-cost airline in the works.

Where the dollar is weaker:

The national currencies of Iceland and Norway each rose in 2016, although throngs of tourists flocking to see the countries’ natural beauty didn’t seem to mind. It’s also gotten even more expensive to travel to Brazil, which will be looking to fill its new hotel rooms now that the Olympics are over. A jaunt through South Africa will also cost more than last year.

Last year offered plenty of cheap flights for air travelers around the world, the result of cheap fuel and increased competition. But carriers’ costs are rapidly rising—so book and travel early.

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