Travel Destinations with a Weaker Currency in 2018.

While we don’t describe ourselves as backpackers, when we plan our travels there’s one thing we keep an eye out for above everything else.

Value.

We’re always trying to work out ways to get better value on holiday. We don’t mind spending money when it saves time, or when it guarantees a truly great experience. But, the budgeting goal is trying to achieve what we consider good value for money.

During our 3 weeks in South Africa, for instance, we spent 2 nights at Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve at £370 per night. It certainly wasn’t cheap accommodation, but with some online research – and using hotels.com reward points – we knew it was the best price we could achieve. More importantly, we had a good feeling that our chances of having a great experience were high. From our pre-trip research, we knew that the recent drought in South Africa meant big cat sightings were highly likely and; Kruger is well regarded as one of the best spots in the world to see leopards. Additionally, having qualified guides in Sabi Sands who were in constant radio contact with other rangers, helps you see more than you otherwise would.

So, the additional cost was justified for us because we could see value in the experience – a key part of our travel philosophy – and we felt we achieved the best price we could. But, apart from finding the cheapest flights, selecting the right hotel for the type of holiday and researching intensively, there’s another great way to get better value on holiday: select countries with a weaker currency.

Selecting destinations with a weaker currency

The world is an ever-changing place. Countries go through booms and busts and exchange rates rise and fall, often quite dramatically. This means that in some years it can be really cheap to travel to a certain destination and in other years it can be much more expensive. By choosing a country with a weaker currency at the right time you can shave 10%, 20% or 30% of the cost – and lock in better value on holiday – compared to a few years later.

For example, we travelled to Japan in 2015. At the time you could get 185 Japanese Yen to the Great British Pound. Two years later – after Brexit induced risk aversion – you could only get 125 Yen to the GBP. This means everything we bought in Japan effectively cost us 30% less in 2015 than it would have in 2017. For a country that is often considered expensive, we had an excellent value trip.

I spent 18 years trading currencies on the trading floor of a bank (please don’t hate me for it). To help you create a better value holiday, I have compiled a list of countries whose currencies have depreciated considerably over the last 2 years. So, read on for our stars of the weaker currency countries for 2018.

Turkey | Lira down about 25%

Travelling to Turkey in 2018 will be as cheap as it has been for a long time

Turkey has had a couple of challenging years. The civil war in Syria has destabilised the region creating geo-political and immigration issues. In response, President Tayyip Erdoğan has become more authoritarian in his rule and distanced himself from the US and the EU. The result is that the Turkish Lira is down 20% against the US Dollar and almost 30% against the Euro. Their weaker currency makes travelling to Turkey as cheap has it has been for a long time.

And what a lot Turkey has to offer. You can traverse continents in Istanbul. Meander some of the best-preserved Roman ruins on the planet at Ephesus. Explore the strange mountain shapes of Cappadocia. Or just lie on the beaches and stare at the azure Mediterranean. We are already planning our trip for 2018.

25%

Turkish Lira


Mexico | Peso down about 10%

Although the peso has recovered a bit, Mexico is still a cheap destination for 2018

Since Donald Trump became president, Mexico has faced challenges with its biggest trading partner. Trump has threatened to curtail immigration and renegotiate the US trade agreement with Mexico. The result is that the Mexican Peso is down 5% against the US Dollar and 15% against the Euro. It was even weaker a year ago, which is one of the reasons we went there in 2017. But although the peso has recovered a bit, Mexico is still a cheap destination.

Not only is it cheap, it is also a fantastic destination. You can discover the eclectic buzz of Mexico City. Explore the ancient Mayan and Aztec ruins. Laze on dreamy beaches. Swim and survey the underwater world of the Pacific or Caribbean. Do all of that and more by following our one-month itinerary.

10%

Mexican Peso


Egypt | Pound down over 50%

Despite being a riskier place to visit, Egypt is now very cheap

Egypt has seen considerable political instability over the last few years with power switching between democratically elected governments and the army. Furthermore, there has been increased terrorism and an insurgency in the Sinai peninsula. As a result, the Egyptian Pound has halved in value against the US Dollar and Euro. Local inflation of prices has reduced the impact of some of their weaker currency but Egypt is now a very cheap place to visit.

However, Egypt is cheap for good reason. Political instability and an increase in terrorism have made it a riskier place to visit. It is recommended not to visit North Sinai and to be careful in any crowded place especially around religious sites and during religious festivals where terrorist attacks are more likely. Please check with your domestic foreign office for advice before you decide to travel.

But if you are feeling adventurous, there may be no better time to go. You’ll certainly get good value on holiday, and the mighty pyramids at Giza and the temples littered around the Nile Valley will be much less crowded than they were 15 years ago, which is when I last went.

50%

Egyptian Pound


Philippines | Piso down about 17%

Despite a well-performing economy, the Philippine Piso has recently weakened

Over the last two years the Philippine government has been waging a war on drugs and in doing so has been criticised over its human rights record. And yet while the economy has generally performed well they have a considerably weaker currency. The Philippine Piso is down 10% against the US dollar and almost 20% against the Euro making it an attractive time to travel to this country.

The Philippines is not a place we have been but we have heard it has some of the most beautiful beaches and islands on the planet. I’m moving this country higher up my ‘must see’ list.

17%

Philippine Piso


Great Britain | Pound down about 10%

Thanks to Brexit and lower growth forecasts, the UK is now a cheaper place to visit

In 2016 the British people voted to leave the European Union. The implication is that it is likely the UK will leave the European Single Market and UK growth has been downgraded accordingly. As a result, the GBP is now a weaker currency than it once was: down 3% against US Dollar and 18% against Euro over the last 2 years. This makes it an excellent time to travel to Britain – especially from Europe – if you are looking for good value on holiday.

So pack those bags and head to London, one of the greatest cities in the world (or perhaps the greatest – I might be biased). Explore the heritage and history of British royalty or the university towns of Oxford and Cambridge. Meander the chocolate box villages of the Cotswolds. Or walk through the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands.

Sadly we live here, so it’s not any cheaper for us than it was and a lot of other places are quite a bit more expensive. Turkey here we come!

10%

Great British Pound


One country we haven’t mentioned here but which is still excellent value is Vietnam. Read about some must-visit destinations in Vietnam.

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