To travel the world cheaply, it helps to keep watch over global currency exchange rates. Look at the monetary denomination that you keep your travel funds in, and compare if against the currencies of the of the countries of the you propose to travel in. Watching global currency exchange rates, and traveling toward countries that [...]
To travel the world cheaply, it helps to keep watch over global currency exchange rates. Look at the monetary denomination that you keep your travel funds in, and compare if against the currencies of the of the countries of the you propose to travel in. Watching global currency exchange rates, and traveling toward countries that have recently devalued their currency will allow you to travel the world significantly cheaper.
For example, I am currently in Budapest, Hungary, and the Forint to Dollar exchange rate went from under 144 to 1 in June of 2008 to 215 to 1 as of January 2009. I was here in Hungary last June, and found the country slightly expensive, but now, as the Forint has been devalued against the dollar, Hungary is now on sale for me. I now have a purchasing power that is far beyond what I did the last time that I was in this country, and it is noticeable when I take out a few days worth of groceries from the supermarket for under $10.
Watch exchange rate patterns before formulating your travel plans.Stray clear of countries whose currencies put yours to shame, and gravitate towards countries whose currencies are crashing.
A devalued currency means that a country is on sale for travelers.
I can remember how I use to steer clear of Argentina when I first began traveling in South America. But then the currency crashed, and when I went to Argentina for the first time in 2001, I was able to travel for a third of the cost. I avoided Argentina when it was expensive for me, and went there when it was cheap.
The world is big, there are many countries and many paths of travel. Choose the cheapest path, and you can continue to travel the world with a little less resistance.
Right now I am planning my next move from Hungary. I want to travel overland to Turkey. I am either going to go east through Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine, and then cross over the Black Sea, or south through Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Greece. Before I decide which way to travel, I will study the exchange rates of the currencies in question and compare them to the dollar. If there are any marked differences, if a couple currencies in either direction have crashed or are falling, it will be a major determinant on what way I travel.
How to analyze global currency patterns and plan travel accordingly
To begin doing research on anything to do with global currency exchange rates, I use two websites, XE.com and Exchange Rates.org. On the XE.com site I first go to the current and historical rate change page, and then enter in a prompt to receive global exchange rates as the compared to the dollar six months ago. Keep in mind that XE.com does not track the historic records of all currencies. When this happens I to to the US Dollar exchange rates page on Exchange Rates.org, and look at the currency charts and tables. I then record the currency exchange rates of the countries that I propose to travel through.
Exchange rate against the US dollar 6 months ago/ today:
|Currency||Compared to US Dollar 6 months ago||to US Dollar today|
|HUF Hungary Forint||144.78||212.13|
|RON Romania New Lei||2.23||3.23|
|TRY Turkey New Lira||1.19||1.63|
|UAH Ukraine Hryvnia||4.61||8.73|
|RSD Serbian Dinar||49.55||70.18|
|MDL Moldovan Leu||10.47|
|BGN Bulgarian Lev||1.23||1.48|
|RMB Chinese Yuan||6.82||6.84|
Once I have this data, I look for any patters, trends, or peaks and valleys that stand out. From looking at the above chart, it is obvious that the dollar is doing way better against Eastern European currencies than it was six months ago. It looks as if either way I travel will be good and cheaper than it was a few months ago. The exchange rate between the dollar and Ukraine Hryvnia stands out, as well as that of the Serbian Dinar.
[adsense]From looking at the currency exchange trends, neither way of travel stands out as being much better. From looking at the unchanging dollar to Chinese Yuan exchange rate, it seems as if there is more of a drop in the currency of the countries of Eastern Europe in particular. Thinking in the longer term, it now seems to be a good time to travel in Eastern Europe. Knowing this information, I may decide to stay in this region for longer than I originally planned.
*Note: changes in currency exchange is not a full fledge indicator of a country’s cheapness when compared to other countries, it is just a guide to value within the country itself. Hungary is cheaper now than for me than it was six months ago, but Hungary is still way more expensive than Peru.
The prime directive of travel is making yourself happy. I use global currency exchange rates and a drive to conserve my travel funds as a guide, as a way of lighting my way around the world. In the end, I am going to travel to the places I want to travel to, regardless of costs. But the cost of travel is a major determinant of how far I can go and how well I can live. These are important factors for continuous, around the world travel.
If you plan your route of travel well, and keep a watch on global currency exchange rates, you can find a way to continuously travel. Each dollar you spend, you become one dollar closer to going home or having to get a job. Travel well, live well, conserve travel funds, plan your travels with regard to global currency exchange rates.
As always, take this travel tip, and utilize it, or laugh at my penny pinching preposterousness and buy yourself an extra pint of beer in an expensive bar to spite me.
Just remember to walk slow,
About the Author: VBJ
I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. VBJ has written 3657 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
VBJ is currently in: Astoria, New York
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