Wondering how far your travel budget can take you? It depends on what your tastes are. Some destinations – even within the same region – can be much more expensive than others. So, doing your research is important if you’re looking to get the most travel for your dollar.
Here’s a comparison of the cost of accommodations, food, and drinks at various hotspots around the globe – and how far the same budget would take you in each location.
Prices of vacations in the Caribbean vary widely depending which spot you chose to visit. For example, Bermuda, Bahamas, and Aruba are all pricier than Cuba, The Dominican Republic, or Jamaica. As an illustration, the cost of two movie tickets in the Dominican Republic is $15. A couple seeing that same movie would pay $27, nearly twice as much, in Nassau, Bahamas. For the purposes of this article, all local prices are converted to Canadian dollars.
Pricier Caribbean – The Bahamas.
The currency in the Bahamas is the Bahamian dollar. It is pegged to the U.S. dollar, so $500 CAD spending money would get you $393 BSD right now.
Your average stay in the Bahamas will cost you an average of $300 CAD a night for accommodations. An inexpensive meal in Nassau goes for about $16.50 CAD. You can get a beer for $5.50 CAD.
Dinner for two at a sit-down restaurant in the tourism areas including appetizers, main course, wine, and dessert would cost an average of $177.00 CAD in the Bahamas.
Inexpensive Caribbean – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
The local currency is the Dominican Peso. Your $500 CAD spending money will currently get you $18,636 DOP. Because of its clear blue water and long stretches of white sand beaches, Punta Cana is a destination built specifically for tourism and travellers. Therefore, most of the accommodations are on all-inclusive resorts. The average price of a deal offered online for on all-inclusive accommodations in the Dominican Republic is about $85 CAD per night. A hotel room goes for an average of $200 CAD a night.
The average price of an inexpensive meal is $10 CAD. Two people dining out at a sit-down restaurant would pay an average of $40 CAD for appetizers, entrees, wine and dessert. So just about a quarter of the cost of the same night out in the Bahamas.
An imported beer would cost $4 CAD, you can get the local Presidente brand for less (but trust me, go for the import), and a bottle of wine costs an average of $9.30 CAD.
Similarly, prices for travel destinations vary widely across Europe. Paris, London, and Rome are amongst the priciest. Your money will go a lot further in Budapest, Prague, and Vienna.
Pricier Europe – Paris, France.
The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Champs-Elysees: of course, you want to go to Paris. It’s not cheap. Your $500 CAD spending money will get you about $334 Euros to spend in The City of Love.
The average cost of a hotel room in Paris is roughly $230 CAD. Ducking out for a budget meal would cost about $18. An inexpensive bottle of wine can be had for $14, which isn’t bad. However, a single beer will set you back $9 CAD.
Dinner for two at a sit-down restaurant in including appetizers, entrees, wine, and dessert would be about $95 CAD in Paris. (Of course, that is the average. You can easily spend a lot more dining out in Paris.)
Less Expensive Europe – Budapest, Hungary.
Your travel budget will go roughly twice as far in Budapest.
Those $500 CAD will get you 102,200 Hungarian Forints to spend. The costs of accommodations are less than half of what they are in Paris. The average hotel room will set you back just about $100 CAD.
You can get a beer for $2.50 CAD in Budapest, and an inexpensive bottle of wine can be had for about $7.50 CAD.
A casual bite will cost roughly $8 CAD. That three-course dinner for two with wine goes for an average of $47 CAD.
Other Popular Travel Destinations.
One of the least expensive travel spots – except for the long flight – is Thailand. The sandy beaches, warm waters, and rich culture draws travellers from the world over.
Exchanging your $500 CAD spending money will get you 13,070 in the local Thai Bahts.
As Phuket is a hub for travellers, it can be the most expensive place in Thailand to visit. Don’t let that scare you away, however, it still has amongst the cheapest five-star hotels in the world. The average nights’ stay at one of Phuket’s top hotels is just over $100. More modest accommodations – a mid-range hotel room with private bath – averages just $30 a night.
A beer will cost you $4.25 CAD in Phuket, and you can get a bottle of wine for $26 CAD.
The average inexpensive meal in Phuket is between $5.75 CAD and $11.50 CAD depending on whether you opt for street vendors or casual dining. Dinner for two at a sit-down restaurant in the tourism areas including appetizers, main course, wine and dessert would cost you $67 CAD.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
On the flip side, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is one of the most expensive places to visit right now.
If you exchange your $500 CAD in Dubai, you’ll get back 1,445 in the United Arab Emirates Dirham. It’s easy to burn through that very quickly in the UAE.
Accommodations are costly in Dubai, the average price of a hotel room is $350 CAD. If you’re looking for a cold drink to take a break from the desert heat, a beer goes for $12 CAD. An inexpensive bottle of wine costs an average of $27 CAD.
Dinner for two at a sit-down restaurant in the tourism area including wine and dessert would be roughly $120 CAD.
The Indian currency is the Rupee. Your $500 Canadian could be exchanged for 25,216 Rupees right now.
Accommodations are fairly affordable. The average hotel room in Mumbai is about $80 CAD. You can have a pint in a local pub for $5.40 CAD. The average price of a decent quality house red is $17.00 CAD.
You can grab an inexpensive meal for roughly $10 CAD in Mumbai. Dinner for two at a sit-down restaurant in a tourism area including appetizers, main course, wine, and dessert would set you back $45 CAD.
So, with a $1,200 CAD budget for accommodations and $500 CAD spending money, how long could your vacation be in our selected destinations, flights excluded?
In the Caribbean, if you choose Punta Cana, you could spend six nights in a hotel and enjoy dinner out in a nice restaurant every night, two casual meals a day plus drinks, and still have money for sightseeing or souvenirs. (You could stay longer if you book a deal at one of the all-inclusive resorts that surround the area.)
You could spend three nights comfortably on the same budget in the Bahamas. Your trip could last four nights, but you’d have to stretch your spending money to make sure you didn’t go hungry.
Over in Europe, you could enjoy five nights in Paris – if you’re prepared to eat more budget meals and frequent fewer sit-down restaurants to make your spending money stretch. If you want to enjoy the wine and cuisine on our sample budget, you’d better only stay three or four nights.
If you choose Budapest on the other hand, you could stay a full 10 nights on the same money without having to skimp.
Elsewhere, our budget would get you over a week in Thailand at a 5-star hotel, and two weeks of budget travel. You could spend three or four nights in Dubai (which hardly makes it worth the long flight), or 10-12 nights in Mumbai for the same price.
If there is a destination that is on your bucket list, then save your money and make your plans. However, if you’re just looking to extend the length of your adventures, pick the spots that give you more travel for your dollar.