These ideas can help anyone in times when cost of living increases and currency exchange takes a bite out of your hard earning dollar, but despite this challenge there are still ways you can travel despite the declining dollar.
When it comes to expanding one’s horizons, we will be the first to endorse traveling as one of the best ways to learn, grow, and appreciate the world as well as to also better understand oneself. Travel allows you to explore yourself because it challenges your limits and helps you discover what makes you tick. Once again you will hear me say, “Life is too short,” because it truly is. So why put off travel just because you are experiencing a money crunch, particularly when your currency taking a nosedive?
Currently, the plunge in the Canadian dollar has been a painful blow to many of our Canadian readers. We are not exempt in this tightening of the budget. With the dollar performing its lowest for close to 15 years, costs for food, goods and travel are soaring, not only due to the currency exchange but also caused by companies resorting to increasing their prices to offset their currency loss, sadly to achieve their profit targets.
Troy and I felt the pain of the USD conversion last year in countries where the U.S. dollar was widely traded. We were hit hard as we spent 25-30% more on our short two-week conference and family visit to the United States, as well as on our trip to Panama, and not to mention the wide array of products we use online for our website, which originate in the United States and are paid in U.S. dollars.
No matter what country you live in, you will face the ups and downs of currency valuation, but you don’t have to postpone travel because of it.
Instead of that cruise, all-inclusive trip, or beach vacation to Florida, why not try a more cultural trip. Not only can your dollar go further but, in our view, this is also the best kind of trip you can do to gain a more meaningful travel experience. A cultural trip can include staying in a country more different from your own, with a new language, and somewhere you have never been before. Instead of buying an inclusive tour company package you can stay in a neighborhood or community.
How about traveling to Portugal, Nicaragua, Colombia, Chile, or Croatia? (As well as many other options where your dollar could go much farther, and you get a new taste of culture.)
It is called Numbeo. It is an excellent website to show you the cost of living (groceries, eating out) and housing (rent) of a certain place.
For example, Numbeo calculates consumer goods prices for 2016, including groceries, restaurants, transportation and utilities, and, in this case, I’ve included rent to show how one of your biggest expenses can impact these rates. Toronto, our last home in Canada, has a Consumer price index plus rent index of 51.28; Orlando, Florida is 60.37; Panama City, Panama is 47.36; Santiago, Chile 31.59; Lisbon, Portugal, 35.97; and Medellín, Colombia (where we are currently living) is 29.62.
Of course, factoring in exchange rates like the USD or the Euro can increase these rates. However, you can see that many options can bring you a more economical holiday vs. your costs in your home city, or a usual popular vacation destination like Orlando.
Take a look at the Numbeo website and you’ll find that there are endless scenarios to evaluate daily living costs as an important factor, not just currency exchange. You can go a step further and also review stats on healthcare, traffic, crime and pollution.
Travel can look a lot of different ways. It doesn’t have to look like the typical package solution such as contacting a travel agent or buying a room and hotel package and boom, and you are set.
Travel can allow you to get involved in the sharing economy, an excellent way to see the world in exchange for service or sharing. It allows you to contribute to the local economy, increasing the flow of goods and services between people and places.
House and Petsitting is a great opportunity to stay in someone’s home, look after their home and pets, and get free rent in exchange for your services. Troy and I completed three international house sits last year and we plan to do more. We loved the experience and shared our views on video here. Pet sitting websites match applicants (house sitters) with home owners with their profiles and references. We often use TrustedHousesitters, a housesitting site for many of our house and pet sits. For more about petsitting check out our video.
We haven’t personally done this (as we no longer own a home), but another way to travel is to swap homes with another homeowner somewhere in the world, simultaneously. You get the opportunity to go and live in another country, with the comforts of home, while another person or family are in your home. This article about house swapping gives a good explanation on the concept and provides helpful website resources. We have friends who have used these services for every holiday they do and they love it, not to mention the savings they enjoy for not paying expensive hotel rooms. Also, it is an option to swap cars for your use, during your stay.
Perhaps you can’t afford the time off from work or your priority right now isn’t saving money to travel (although it is cheaper to travel than you may think.) Rather than convincing your boss to take some extra time off, perhaps you can find an opportunity to work on a project online, or to be involved in a big project that requires you to focus on your own? A working holiday is an excellent option for someone who is finishing a university paper or someone who currently does or wants to try getting some freelance work. A working holiday will also allow you to see a new place (more than you would if you just stay at home) AND still get paid.
It can be living in a community somewhere in the world, getting a taste for living like a local in a neighborhood.
This week, we have friends traveling here to Medellín for a month to try out remote working from another country. They currently have full-time jobs in the U.S. where they both work from home. We’ll let you know how their test living situation goes on a future blog post.
So, we hope we fed your mind with some new ideas to see the world in a different way, even when you may think it’s the wrong time to travel.
Are there other approaches you have taken to find a way to travel? Please let us know.
Note: By using one of the links on this page (at no extra cost to you) it will generate a small commission from any sales. We recommend Trusted Housesitters because we use this service ourselves and consistently have a great experience with it. This helps us keep providing quality content and tips for you. Thanks for your support and enjoy this great service!
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Dorene is a marketing consultant and freelance writer. She quit her 20-year career in marketing to redesign her career and lifestyle on her own terms by living location independent. Now with her husband Troy, she helps people who want to redefine their midlife and make conscious changes at TravelLifeX. She also trains & coaches travel and hospitality clients to improve their marketing at TravelLifeMedia.com