Are you considering a summer vacation to someplace more exotic than the nearest National Park? Maybe you are thinking big — like a trip outside the U.S. to some faraway vacation getaway. If so, your timing is excellent. The strength of the dollar against many currencies makes 2015 a great year to consider an overseas retreat.
Here are just a few of the many destinations that you can travel to for less money than in past years — and with some careful planning, you can spend less while you are there.
- Tokyo – The strong dollar and the devalued yen, combined with a tourism industry that has not fully recovered from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster, has made Tokyo an increasingly affordable vacation destination. Thanks to the excellent subway system you can get around fairly easily in Tokyo without knowing much Japanese, and with a little research, you can use the train network to check out the less-traveled areas within Japan.
Whether you stay in Tokyo or take the train to other areas of the country, you can find many interesting parks, shrines, and temples to review for only the cost of transportation.
- Lisbon – The Portuguese capital (pictured above) is often overlooked while tourists flock to Paris, London, Madrid, and Berlin, but you can enjoy many of the same perks of the larger European capitals for less money. There are plenty of free and inexpensive attractions and a nice public transit system that makes it all quite accessible. In addition, the weather is generally pleasant — something you cannot always say about the other European capitals.
- Rio de Janeiro – The city is between large-scale events (last year's World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games). That makes 2015 a perfect time to travel to Rio. The city expanded its lodging, dining, and entertainment options as part of the World Cup preparations and is taking things to the next level to host the Olympics. That gives travelers plenty of leverage to find great package travel deals for this summer as hotels scramble to fill their increased capacity.
- Norway – The success of Disney's "Frozen" has rekindled interest in Norway, and while tourism is up sharply since the release of the film, there are still bargains to be had. Consider visiting Bergen on Norway's western coast — it was the inspiration for Arendelle. The landscape is breathtaking (as well as free to observe) and travel and lodging prices are still quite reasonable.
The strong dollar does not hurt, either. Even though Norway is not in the EU, nor uses the Euro, the exchange rate is lower than it has been in the last five years.
- The Seychelles – If you can skip the resorts and find more reasonable accommodations, the Seychelles has many outstanding and relatively uncrowded beaches, including the "Golden Coast." The clear waters make for excellent snorkeling, and you are certain to find a section of beach that is perfect for your family. Some sections have long shallow areas that are perfect for families with smaller children.
Given the recent restoration in relations, we would like to include Cuba on this list — but things are not quite in place yet to make it a bargain destination for the summer of 2015. However, there are enough promising signs to expect a tourism resurgence by next summer.
Pick the type of overseas vacation you would like to take, and check out the collective deals and travel packages that are available online. It is best to book in advance to save money, so if you want to take advantage of 2015 bargains, you had better get started right away.