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BellaOnline's Budget Travel Editor


Is Foreign Travel Too Expensive?

Guest Author - Jim Fortune

I meet people all the time and when they find out what I do, they almost always ask, "Is foreign travel too expensive? I wish I had traveled 10 years ago when the dollar was worth something." I have a few rules:

  1. Never look back

  2. Plan, plan, plan

  3. Always try to pay with cash. If you have to charge for online purchases, have the cash in the bank to pay the bill when it comes

  4. Have a savings account set aside just for travel

  5. Take a small trip every year. Take a big trip every three or four years

  6. Never forget rule #1

So what is the answer to the question? The answer is no, it is not too expensive. But you have to go where the dollar has not been devalued. Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean islands are all places where the dollar is still worth something.

Take Belize as an example. In 2001, the Belize dollar was trading for approximately 2 Belize dollars to 1 US dollar. The Euro was trading almost 1 Euro to 1 US dollar. Today, the Belize dollar is still trading 2 for 1 and the Euro is trading 1 Euro for approximately $1.50 US dollar. (This market goes up and down all the time, so the current rate when you read this article might be a little different. But there are great web sites you can visit to get the current Euro to dollar rate. You can Google "Euro to US dollar exchange rate" (leave off the " marks) to get the latest rate of exchange. Or you can check out this web site to see the currency converter, it's pretty good, Currency Calculator .

The point is that you should forget about travel to countries where the dollar is not worth a dollar. So what are the choices for places to go? Well, as I mentioned, there is Belize. Belize is a terrific place if you like sun, clear water for swimming or diving, good food, relaxation, just to name a few. But you should also consider looking at an economy that is based on the dollar or where the dollar is the official currency. Some countries worthy of your consideration are Ecuador, El Salvador, Panama, East Timor, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), and the Turks & Caicos.

Some other considerations worth mentioning are countries where they try to keep their currency at the same rate or close to a 1 to 1 ratio. An example would be Bermuda or The Bahamas. Some of these places are not exactly travel destinations during hurricane season, but they are worth placing on your radar screen for November, December, January and February. I would consider a trip to BVI again in a minute. I would also like to check out Bermuda in the late spring or early summer for a little golf. Of course, I would have to learn how to play golf and get some clubs first, to take there, I guess.

Let me know how you are doing and where you are going. Drop me a line if you have any questions. You can drop me a comment on my Bio page.

All the Best from Bella Budget Travel,

Jim Fortune
Bella Budget Travel Editor

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