If AFAR’s Where to Go in 2024 list has inspired you to start planning your travels for the coming year, we have good news: The U.S. dollar is strong in a lot of popular destinations and your money is going to go further. For example, travel to Rome and the Sydney Opera House is cheaper for Americans at the moment, because purchases made in local currency are weighted in our favor.
While seasonality and supply-and-demand affect a destination’s value (Paris is likely to be more expensive during the Olympics, whereas shoulder season can deliver some deals), a strong dollar means you’ll get more for less. So we talked to industry experts to find out where travelers can get the best value out of that formula in the coming year.
“Now is a great time to consider visiting Peru,” says Melissa Da Silva, president of Trafalgar Tours North America. “Not only can travelers expect to spend around $10 for a terrific meal, but its temperate climate and incredible marvels . . . make it a bucket-list destination travelers cannot afford to miss.” We’d add that while Machu Picchu is a don’t-miss historical site, there’s so much more to see in Peru than Machu Picchu. Plus, Intrepid Travel is offering new itineraries on the less-traveled Inca Quarry Trail in the Sacred Valley.
Michael Holtz, founder and CEO of SmartFlyer, agrees: “South American countries like Argentina, Peru, and Colombia are known for their diverse landscapes, cultural richness, and outstanding hospitality at a more accessible price point, both for travel and once on the ground.”
Plan a trip: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
- Book now: inkaterra.com
The Inkaterra has 83 rustic adobe casitas set among 12 acres within a cloud forest next to the Urubamba River that’s home to 214 bird species and even more varieties of native orchids.
“Anytime there is strength in the U.S. dollar, it makes for an ideal time to go to Europe,” says Ann Chamberlain, a travel advisor for Chase’s business and luxury travel arm Frosch. But she recommends that travelers look beyond that too. “Another favorite, more affordable destination I love to recommend to my clients is Thailand. With rates for luxury, five-star resorts starting [in the $200s], it’s easy to find nice places to stay without breaking the bank. It’s also a great destination for incredible food, and with some of the world’s best beaches, travelers can spend their days enjoying nature and forgoing activities that require a lot of money.”
Plan a trip: Cape Kudu Hotel, Koh Yao Noi
- Book now: capekuduhotel.com
A member of Small Luxury Hotels, the beachy chic Cape Kudu is located on Koh Yao, a small island that’s only a 20-minute speedboat ride away from Phuket, with a more local vibe.
Mexico should excite travelers who love history, art, food, or the beach. Mexico City is a vibrant capital with hotel options in a wide range of prices across many neighborhoods, such as Reforma, Roma, and Condesa—each populated with excellent street food and fine dining. Hannah Choat, Intrepid Travels’ PR specialist for North America, suggests touring the Yucatan peninsula for beaches and Mayan historic sites or joining a food excursion to Oaxaca.
Plan a trip: Condesa DF, Mexico City
- Book now: condesadf.com
Stop by for a drink on the hotel’s rooftop terrace to tap into Mexico City’s swank party crowd, or stay in one of its 40 chic rooms in a 1928 French neoclassical mansion in the tree-lined Condesa neighborhood.
See more of our favorite hotels in Mexico City.
“If you’re looking to travel on a budget,” Choat says, “[Vietnam] is one of the best spots. The major travel essentials—accommodation, food, and public transport—are all fairly affordable, so you may even end up spending much less than you’d think.”
Plan a trip: Six Senses Ninh Van Bay
- Book now: sixsenses.com
At this dreamy resort, 62 pool villas are scattered along the beachfront and hillside of Vietnam’s coast in the Nha Trang region.
“For Americans with the time to travel a little further,” says Holtz, “Australia is a welcome escape where they can get the most for their dollar.” As of mid-December, US$1 gets you AUS$1.50, so Americans’ cash will buy them more time to sample the coffee in Melbourne or order beers and check out the best hotels in Sydney, one of our picks for Where to Go in 2024. (But remember that you’ll need an advance visa.)
Plan a trip: Capella Sydney
- Book now: capellahotels.com
Opened in March 2023, its restored 1912 sandstone building conveys refined luxury and a sense of place.
“The U.S. dollar is particularly strong at the moment, offering close to 1:1 exchange to the euro,” says Holtz. “This favorable exchange rate combined with the numerous new hotel openings, particularly in Italy and France, encourages more European travel on the horizon for 2024.” He notes that Portugal is also attractive because “travelers can enjoy all the creature comforts of a Mediterranean summer but for more extended periods of time.”
Steve Born, chief marketing officer for the Globus travel brands (Globus, Cosmos, and Avalon Waterways) sees great opportunity in Europe too and notes that the euro goes further in eastern and southern Europe than in the western region. He recommends Croatia and Greece for better value at restaurants and hotels. “Overlooking the blue waters of the Adriatic, cities like Dubrovnik not only host extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage sites, charming, historic streets, and medieval attractions, [but] the pricing at Croatian accommodations is also much less than other parts of Europe,” he says.
Villa Passalacqua, Lake Como, Italy
- Book now: passalacqua.it
Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill, and composer Vincenzo Bellini were all guests at Lake Como’s neoclassical Villa Passalacqua long before it was reborn as this exquisite 24-suite hotel—and added to AFAR’s Best Hotels of 2023 list.
Pa.te.os, Alentejo, Portugal
- Book now: pateos.pt
Another of AFAR’s Best Hotels of 2023, the brutalist Pa.te.os was designed by Lisbon-born architecture star Manuel Aires Mateus to put guests’ focus on the Alentejo landscape.
Le Grand Mazarin, Paris, France
- Book now: legrandmazarin.com
Design buffs who love color and beautiful baubles, and who want to be in one of the hippest parts of Paris, will feel right at home in the chic digs of Le Grand Mazarin, in Le Marais.
Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Book now: adriaticluxuryhotels.com
The Excelsior is an iconic landmark hotel (c. 1913) that’s only a five-minute walk from Dubrovnik’s Old Town, and its seaview rooms look out to the Adriatic.