Travel destinations made even more attractive with the low Canadian dollar
Post-disaster tourism, exotic tropical destinations and Canada's great big backyard top the list
The Canadian dollar is worth a dismal 70 cents U.S. today, and our lousy currency is likely putting the kibosh on many people's plans to escape Alberta's winter darkness for a sunny beach somewhere far, far away.
If the low dollar is turning your vacation bucket list into a leaky-pail list, take heart — there are still places you can go in the world without worrying about the exchange rate.
- Foreign currency exchange: Ways to get a better deal when the dollar is down
- Canadian dollar gains a penny to 70 cents US as oil rebounds above $29 US
Robin Esrock, author of The Great Canadian Bucket List, has travelled the world and knows where you'll get the most bang for your buck, even when it's only worth 70 cents.
Here are the tips he shared with CBC Radio's Alberta At Noon.
1. Look for countries in the same boat
Esrock recommends doing your research to find out what other world currencies have taken a hit.
"When you do a search on the Brazilian real or the South African rand ... you can suddenly see that our dollar buys a lot more because those currencies are getting hit as hard as we are."
2. Think exotic
Anybody who's intimidated by the idea of going to far away Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia or Colombia shouldn't be, said Esrock.
"These countries are wonderful destinations.
"You're going to have to spend the money on the airfare, but once you get there, the value and what you get for your dollar is so much more," he added.
"Once you're on the ground, the price of food, the price of accommodation and activities is so much less."
3. Consider a cruise
If you're adamant about visiting a particular location in a country with an unfavourable exchange rate, consider purchasing a cruise package.
"Cruising is a very, very good deal," Esrock said.
"Package vacations generally tend to be the best deals going."
"As long as you stay away from some of the more pricey excursions, you can actually visit a lot of these places in a very affordable way."
4. Explore Canada
If there's something in Canada you've been itching to see, this is the "perfect time to do it," said Esrock.
"This summer is going to be the most amazing time to do it because of a combination of our weak loonie and also cheap gas."
- National Geographic rates P.E.I. one of world's top coastal destinations
- Weak dollar has Canadians opting for domestic vacations
Whether it's the East Coast, the West Coast, or the prairies, there's no shortage of travel destinations worth visiting, and you might not even need to board a plane.
"I think last summer I called it the summer of the road trip, but this summer's really going to be the summer of the road trip."
5. Post-disaster tourism
"That's another great place to look for deals, as distasteful as that sounds," Esrock said of post-disaster tourism.
Countries such as Nepal, Egypt, Tunisia and Greece depend on tourism dollars, and after suffering an economic crisis or a terrorist attack, local industries there will often increase incentives for visitors.
"Typically they respond by dropping their prices, making it very compelling. Even the airlines get involved to try and get you there," he said.
If you're travelling on a budget and looking to go somewhere wonderful that's typically very crowded, go after an unfortunate event and you'll find yourself not only having the place to yourself, but also really appreciated, Esrock added.
"The people on the ground really appreciate that you made the effort to come there, that you haven't been afraid by what you've read."
"You've got to remember that going to Paris today is post-disaster tourism," Esrock said.
"I've been to 110 countries on 7 continents. I've never been attacked. I've never been violently ill. I've never been robbed."
"I don't think this is because I'm lucky, or I'm neurotic, or I'm paranoid. I think it's because I'm in the vast majority of travellers who go out there, and it's perfectly safe."