Get the Most Out of the Strong Dollar
I just returned from a vacation with my two daughters.
The fact that I survived two weeks with two millennials still shocks me.
As someone who travels frequently, I wanted them to see what I see on a regular basis…
Things they’re not going to see on social media or in Snapchat photos.
I wanted them to see what the world outside their confines looked like.
So where did I take them?
As the author of Where in the World Should I Invest?, I’ve seen the strength of the U.S. dollar firsthand. So I wanted to give them a taste of what it means to have the strongest currency in the world.
It’s not a lesson they could learn in the U.S.
The dollar has been on a decade-long tear, appreciating by as much as 60% against major currencies.
Yet at home, we don’t even notice. It’s not like the stuff we are buying from Japan has fallen by 40% like the yen has fallen versus the dollar.
Last time I checked, a high-line German car is still pricy even though the euro has fallen 30%.
But take a trip overseas, and you notice the real impact.
I took them to four countries, starting them off in the first world and making our way down to the third world.
The first stop was England. We enjoyed the sights of London for less than it would cost to spend half the time in New York City. A day pass to ride the subways and buses cost $13, down from $22 just a few years ago. Fish and chips at the Laughing Halibut, my favorite fish and chips shop, was $20 for all of us. The last time I was there, a meal for three at the same restaurant set me back $37.
The next stop was New Delhi where we were guests of the ambassador of a G-7 country and spent a few days at his residence. That was a real bargain!
But even better buys could be found on the streets. We rode a tuk-tuk for several kilometers, and the tab was $0.60. An outfit for one of my daughters came to a whopping 500 rupees, or about $8. Both girls indulged in henna tattoos for about $3.50. And a driver for the day with a brand-new minivan and entry to the Taj Mahal (about an eight-hour round trip from Delhi) set us back $100, including tips and tolls.
The Indian rupee has fallen by more than 50% against the dollar in the past decade.
The next stop was Dubai. Thirty years ago, it was a dump in the desert. Now it’s a gleaming metropolis on the Persian Gulf. A full-day pass for the light rail set us back about $8 per person.
I took them snowboarding indoors, at the Mall of the Emirates, for $50 each. It’s not Aspen or Vail, but it’s a heck of a bargain for the experience, including all of the equipment!
The final stop was Tanzania where we went on a safari for a few days before ending up on the exotic island of Zanzibar for some R & R.
We stayed at a highly rated Airbnb in Arusha, the staging point for safaris in the region. It set us back $20 for the night, including a full breakfast the next day. Dinner set us back about $12 at a very nice restaurant. Local trinkets and souvenirs could be bargained down to a buck or two.
The five-day safari with a driver/guide, a brand-new 10-seater land cruiser that we shared with two other people, and five-star lodging cost me about 50% less than a similar safari I took a couple of years back.
You’re sitting on a gold mine right now, and you may not even know it.
The U.S. dollar is a superstrong currency, but it’s not going to stay that way. Already, it’s beginning to weaken, but the real weakness is yet to come.
We’re lucky right now that other countries are printing more cash than we are. But the dollar is still in a long-term downtrend, despite the current rally.
If you want to get two, three or four times more for that same greenback in your wallet, it’s time you looked further afield while you still have the chance. I assure you that the five-star hotel in Dubai felt just as nice as the five-star hotel in Manhattan, but for a fifth of the price!
And if you’re wondering about airfare to all of these places, you’re in luck yet again…
Thanks to low oil prices and a huge amount of foreign competition, you can make your way to places like London for less than $500 round trip!