10 of the Best Value Locations for Canadian Dollar Travelers in 2016

By Bootsnall Team on January 7th, 2016
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We’ve published Top 10 Best Value articles for Euro, US & Australian Dollar travelers.

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CAD: Backpacker cost per day

The graph above represents the average costs per day that a someone traveling on a backpacker’s budget can expect, in Canadian dollars.
The one below approximates the daily cost of a person traveling with a little more flexibility and comfort built in, a business, or mid-tier traveler.

CAD: Mid-tier cost per day
The Canadian dollar has had a tough year. The slide from previous years has continued and as we ring in the New Year the exchange rate against the US Dollar is hovering at about $1.38 CAD per $1 USD. Ouch. What that means is that the time honored snow-bird trips south for the winter, to Florida and the southern states, just got a lot more pricey.

Lots of Canadians are opting out of their annual holidays to the USA and Europe because of the budget crunch, but there are still lots of places that Canadians can go where the dollar is strong and our travel funds will stretch.

In fact, 2016 is a great year to take that long dreamt of ’round the world trip by maximizing the exchange rates and visiting the countries that give you the most bang for your buck.

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Let us show you how!

Start in Toronto and fly to Istanbul; you’ll have to change planes at JFK, in New York. From there, the flight is direct to Istanbul.

Spend a couple of weeks visiting mosques, getting lost in the markets and maybe taking that once in a lifetime balloon flight over Cappadocia.

Then, fly on to Tehran. Not everyone you know has been to Iran. There are all kinds of tours available through companies that will help you manage the visa challenges as well as the language once you’re on the ground. The people I know who’ve actually been to Iran report that it’s stunning and the people are welcoming.

From Tehran, hop over to New Dehli, in northern India. Travel overland to Mumbai, taking your time and exploring the sub-continent.

Next, pass over the Andaman Sea and down into Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. If you have more than a couple of weeks, Air Asia flies all over Southeast Asia from KL and the flights are ridiculously cheap. This makes a good hopping off point for all sorts of adventures. Take advantage of it.

The flight back to Toronto from KL is a long one, and you’ll probably stop in China. This is good news and you get extra points if you take advantage of China’s transit visa policy that allows long layover visitors to leave the airport and tour (within certain parameters) for the day. A bonus country! How cool is that!

We priced this trip leaving mid-March and landing back in Canada June 2, which will provide an escape from the late winter blues and have you back in time for the long, gorgeous days of a Canadian summer. Of course it would be even better (in terms of time and value) if you can stretch it out longer, say, a year?

The estimated cost for the flights for this entire trip? Just $2046 CAD! Wow!

Deb & Dave of The Planet D have this advice for Canadian Dollar Travelers:

“As Canadians we’re really feeling the impact of the rise of the US dollar. So for us, we’re avoiding US travel unless we are going for work purposes. Our dollar goes a long way in other countries so it is better for us to travel to them. There are plenty of places around the world that are still budget friendly to travelers, so don’t let the rising cost of tourism keep you from traveling. All you need to do is avoid the obvious expensive cities and destinations and you’ll be fine.”

Brazil

1 CAD = 2.81 BRL (Brazilian Real)

CAD: Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

The Canadian Dollar is continuing to do well against the Brazilian Real. That means that South America is one of the places that Canadians can still go to find a bargain. If you’re looking for a place to spend Mardi Gras and the exchange rate is putting you off New Orleans and you don’t want to do Quebec City’s winter carnival again, Rio de Janeiro is a classic!

The Olympic games will be hosted by Brazil later this year. To celebrate, the country is waving the visa requirements. Yet another reason to head south!

Winter in Canada means mid summer in Brazil. Polish up your Portuguese and hit the beaches, or take a long boat ride up into the Amazon and prepare to be amazed. Looking for ideas in this diverse country? There are far more than Six Places to go Besides Rio.


Turkey

1 CAD = 2.11 TRY (Turkish Lira)

CAD: Ankara - Turkey

The Lira has struggled this year and, although it’s been up and down, there’s a general downward trend that means that bypassing Europe and skipping straight to the fringe of Asia provides an exotic, far away adventure for folks holding one of the struggling North American currencies. The Blue Mosque, anyone?

Turkey is far more than Istanbul. Stretching from the borders of Armenia, Georgia, and Iran on the east, as well as Iraq and Syria to the south, all the way to the Mediterranean sea, Greece and Bulgaria on the west coast; it’s an incredibly diverse country. The west feels more European (indeed, Turkey has been trying to join the EU for a number of years). And yet, it’s a solidly middle eastern country in the east.

Don’t try to fit Turkey into a box. Explore the intoxicating mix of ancient and modern in Istanbul, but then get out into some of the lesser explored parts of the country. Travel part of the silk route, take a trip down the coast and visit fishing villages and old Roman ruins, or rent a holiday home on the Black Sea. These are just a few experiences not to miss in Turkey.


Iran

1 CAD = 21,555 IRR (Iranian Rial)

CAD: Tehran - Iran

While the Rial is down a bit from where it was at the beginning of this year, if you look at the bigger picture you realize that Iran’s currency is a huge value over where it was just two and a half years ago. In September 2013 the Rial lost 80% of its exchange value overnight, and it’s never recovered. North Americans don’t think of Iran as a huge tourist destination, but it’s rich history and culture make it an exotic destination that most of your friends won’t have visited.

It’s long been a dream of mine to walk across Iran, but I would settle for a few weeks in Tehran, with visits to the ruins and museums that chronicle the history of one of the oldest, richest civilizations on the planet. Iran is a country with a dress code, and visas will need to be arranged in advance.


Tanzania

1 CAD = 1,545 TZS (Tanzanian Shilling)

The Canadian Dollar has been steadily rising against the Shilling over the past decade. We don’t have a graph for this one because the currency hasn’t really gained, or fallen, significantly and we don’t believe in wasting space with useless infographics. The point is, that Tanzania is a great place to start longer African adventures, take a safari or hit the beach. The legendary Zanzibar is located on an island, just off of the coast, and convenient to Dar es Salaam, which is where you’re likely to fly into.

For the mountaineering type, the big reason to travel to Tanzania is to summit Kilimanjaro. At 5896 meters, it’s the tallest peak in Africa and one of the “big ones” in the world. It’s not a particularly inexpensive endeavor, but it is, without question, the adventure of a lifetime. Head north to the border with Kenya and pack your hiking boots!

Belarus

1 CAD = 13226 (Belarusian Ruble)

CAD: Minsk - Belarus

Over the New Year, this time last year, the instability in the Russian markets lead to a financial crisis in Belarus and overnight the ruble devalued by almost 30%. The Ruble has continued to slowly fall against the Canadian dollar over the course of the year. What does that mean? It means that now is a great time to go.

Belarus is another one of those underrated destinations, with very few tourists making the effort to visit. Why? Well, the visa requirements are difficult, Canadians do not qualify for visa on arrival, nor do Americans, or any of the obvious European countries. That alone discourages most.

English is not widely spoken outside of Minsk and it’s not an “easy” country to travel in. However, for the intrepid, it’s an excellent and largely unexplored corner of Eastern Europe. And, it’s a great value! Traveling to Belarus feels a bit like traveling back in time. You’ll get a window into Soviet era Eastern Europe and in a few, well preserved little towns, like, Hrodna, a peek into the pre-soviet era as well.


Cuba


1 CAD = 19.33 CUP (Cuban Peso)

Cuba is another one without a snappy infographic. Who needs it? Canadians have known, for a long while, that Cuba is the perfect winter escape and we don’t mind thumbing our noses at our American neighbours as we board the plane! While it’s true that the Canadian Dollar is at a ten year low in terms of exchange rate against the Cuban Peso, it’s still an inexpensive and easy getaway for most Canadians, especially those living on the east coast, where flights are relatively short and cheaper than from the west coast.

Cuba has long been a favourite winter getaway, and one that wasn’t overrun with American tourists, but that’s about to change, with the policy changes between the two Cold War nemeses. 2016 is the year to go to Cuba, before the American flood gates open and the island nation is forever changed. If you’ve only got a couple of weeks and you’re looking to stretch your vacation dollars, Cuba it is, this winter; where it’s still possible to travel on not much more than $75 a day.

India

1 CAD = 47.58 INR (Indian Rupee)

There hasn’t been a great deal of change for Canadians in the value proposition in India over just the last year, but if you widen the lens and take a look at the last decade, you’ll see that that India is still a better deal for Canadians that it has been since before 2012.

By any measure, India is a bargain, with a wide array of inexpensive options at every budget level, food, lodging, and touring in this colourful country will provide a dollar stretching adventure for Canadians intrepid enough to take the plunge into the sub continent.

Of course there are all of the obvious stops within the golden triangle, but why not take a train journey between New Delhi and Mumbai? Or, embark on a healing journey? Or, eat your way through the city of Mumbai?


Nicaragua

1 CAD = 20.35 NIO (Nicaraguan Cordoba)

CAD: Managua - Nicaragua

The story is the same with Nicaragua. Over the longer haul the Dollar is up, even though over the shorter haul it’s lost some ground against the Cordoba.

Nicaragua is the most inexpensive country in Central America and as such it makes lots of sense for Canadians, with a flagging currency, to spend their winter vacation there instead of in more expensive Mexico or Belize.

Nicaragua is a paradise for lovers of outdoor adventure. With volcanos to climb, lakes to swim and kayak, islands to explore and a fresh water lake with sharks! Yes, really!


Argentina

1 CAD = 9.36 ARS (Argentinian Peso)

CAD: Buenos Aires - Argentina

This particular deal is breaking news, as the Argentine Peso fell precipitously on the 17th of December following the new administration’s lift of unpopular foreign currency controls that had been in place. What this means for Canadians is that, overnight, a dollar goes much, much further. A quick January jaunt to Argentina, anyone?

Buenos Aires is the obvious place to start and where your plane is likely to drop you off, but please make sure you get off the beaten path as well. Patagonia beckons, and the Iguazu Falls are not to be missed. If you’re worried about overland travel in Argentina, don’t. They have the best, most comfortable bus system in South America. Perhaps you’ll learn to tango?

Malaysia

1 CAD = 3.09 MYR

CAD: Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia

The Canadian Dollar has rallied against the Ringget this year after a several year’s long slump. What that means is that 2016 could be a great year in terms of dollar stretching power, to head to Kuala Lumpur and hop cheap flights on Air Asia around the peninsula and islands.

Penang is an easy place to spend a winter. The Malaysian rim of Borneo is an enormous adventure. Kuala Lumpur is as cosmopolitan as they come. Fall in love with Malaysian food. There’s something for everyone in Malaysia.

Deb & Dave have this to add about Southeast Asia:

“I you are looking for consistent budget destinations South East Asia is still the spot to get the best bang for your buck. Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and even Thailand are still great destinations for traveling on a budget. And there is a reason many professional digital nomads winter in Mexico and Central America, the rent, hotels, food and transportation are just too reasonable to pass up.”


Source: We’ve used Numbeo to base our infographic estimates of overall cost comparisons of the individual countries.

*Backpacker estimated cost per day including meals in inexpensive restaurants, public transport and cheap hotels.
*Business or regular tourist estimated cost per day including mid-range meals, drinks, transportation and a hotel.