When it comes to the finances of world travel, not all locations are created equal. If you head to London or the Swiss Alps with a couple thousand American dollars in your pocket, it won’t go far.
The good news is that the opposite is also true. There are places around the globe where the American dollar is strong, and that poolside lounger, fancy drink, and Instagram-worthy view will cost you less than a nice meal out at home.
So where is the dollar going to take you far? We did a little digging on current currency exchange rates and the price of things like taxi rides, hotel rooms, and cold beers to find out.
The Cheapest & Most Expensive Countries Now
When it comes to stretching your dollars, don’t forget that paper rips. But in all seriousness, the value of cash changes pretty fast. In 2015, the euro was powerful and the dollar was weak; nowadays, it’s just the opposite. If you’re planning to travel on a budget, these changes can be a lot to keep up with.
That’s why we put together this interactive infographic. As it’s updated daily, it’ll show you the best (and the worst) places to travel on the cheap as an American. Get your backpack ready.
Good News for Budget Travelers
So where does the American dollar stretch furthest?
The Ukraine holds the top spot for traveling on a shoestring budget, though carrying some serious travel advisories.
Saudi Arabia is in the top 10 for traveling on the cheap. The total average daily costs are about $114. But sorry ladies, women aren’t allowed to travel there alone, so if you want to go, you’ll have to bring a male companion.
Requiring less caution, but still offering a lot of bang for your buck are Thailand, Malaysia, Russia, and Mexico. And if you’re dying to get to Europe? Poland, Hungary, and Turkey are your best financial bets overall.
Sleeping on the Cheap
When we break down the data to look at specific budget items, accommodations are the first thing that jumps out.
A room for the night is something we all need. And it’s often one of the most costly parts of tourism. That’s why these cheap sleeps are cooler than the cold side of the pillow.
So which countries have the best average price for a double room with bathroom at a midrange hotel? Ukraine, Russia, Macau, Thailand, Malaysia, and Poland are leading the pack; the Ukraine ranks almost 50 percent less than any other option.
Ah, transportation. Yet another thing it’s hard for travelers to live without.
Countries with the cheapest taxi rides include Ukraine, Thailand, Russia, China, and Singapore. And Europe fans will be happy to hear that Greece, Croatia, and Hungary all feature affordable, midrange rides.
On the other end of the spectrum, Japan takes the cake for expensiveness. A sweet ride there will cost you an average $4.92 per mile. So dust off your walking shoes if you’re looking to save money there.
International Dinner Date
When it comes to eating out, the usual suspects lead the affordability pack. Malaysia, Ukraine, Thailand, and China all come in at or below $20 on average for dinner for two at a midrange restaurant.
The not-so-cheap list is unsurprising as well. The U.K., Netherlands, Austria, France, and Italy are the most likely to flatten your wallet with meals in the $50-plus range.
Economical Eats: Cheapest Places to Eat Out
And if midrange meals are still outside your price range? Cheap meals for a single person at a low-budget place in Thailand average $1.56. Malaysia will keep you under $2. China comes in at just $3.05 and Mexico at $4.39.
Low-Budget Drinking: Cheapest Places to Have a Beer
As usual, Ukraine ranks high for affordability; a domestic beer costs just 54 cents.
Surprisingly, Saudi Arabia is second on the list, at just 80 cents per beer, though be careful with this one, folks, as it’s illegal to drink in the kingdom.
In a more middle range, Croatia ($2.11 for a beer), Spain ($2.27), and Malaysia ($2.47) are also decidedly affordable. And the most expensive place to grab a brew? Singapore, where it’ll cost you a whopping $5.91.
A Look at Global Beer Costs
If you’re not into the local brewery scene, imported beers don’t have to break the bank either. In Ukraine, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, and Poland, you’ll find them for under $2 each. Midrange options include Germany ($3.40), Malaysia ($3.45), and Turkey ($3.45).
And the bank-breakers? Singapore ($6.65), France ($5.11), and Austria ($5.92). Though in France, it’s said that wine is cheaper than water – so perhaps just changing our drink of choice would solve the budget problem there?
Stretch That Dollar
Well, fellow bargain-hunters: It’s time to hit the road! Turns out the popularity of places like Thailand and Malaysia is more than hype – it’s plain old smart budget travel. We don’t know about you, but we’ll be over here packing our bags.
Using the top 25 most-visited countries, we looked at Numbeo.com to see the cost of a restaurant, beer, taxi, and hotel in each country.
“The Biggest Bang for Your American Buck” graphic automatically updates according to currency rates daily from Numbeo.com. Beer prices are domestic, Food indicates an inexpensive meal for one person, and taxi rates are per mile.
Information in the static graphics is current as of July 1, 2016.
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