[Editor’s note – Since this post went up years ago, the Indian rupee has continued to climb. As of late 2016 the U.S. dollar fetched more than 65 rupees.]
If you had India on your short list or you’re planning how fast to get there on your round-the-world journey, take a look at the exchange rate right now and that might sway you.
In the quirky way that world currency markets work, Europe’s troubles are the U.S. dollar’s gains, despite all the problems on this home front. So while it may be short-lived, we’ve entered one of those periods where this is a good time to visit some countries because you can get a lot more for your money on the ground.
Take a look at that chart above. You don’t see a dramatic spike like that very often and when you do it spells big opportunity—an imbalance that hasn’t had time to right itself. Prices haven’t risen in rupees, but you’re getting a lot more rupees for your dollars.
After moving in a fairly narrow range from 44 to 46 most of the past two years, the rate is now more than 52 to the dollar. That’s an 18 percent rise from the bottom. Plus in India you really can buy something for that 8 rupees extra. A few samosas at least. A cup of tea on the street. Or a bunch of bananas.
Or look at it this way: that extra 8 rupees the tuk-tuk driver is trying to charge you isn’t worth stressing about. You just got it as a bonus.
This is a country where there are very few high-priced areas either. You won’t want to spend much time in Mumbai or Delhi and you could spend a fortune in popular cities like Jaipur if you wanted, but you don’t have to. The country is a great value whether your interest is Leh and Ladakh tourism in the mighty Himalayas or laid-back Tamil Nadu in the tropical vegetarian south of the country. There’s a huge variety of sites and adventures that’s hard to match anywhere else and you’ll definitely not feel like you’ve landed in a place that’s very similar to home.
Choatic but exotic, at times ugly but often overwhelmingly beautiful, India is a great tourism destination where your money will stretch further than almost anywhere else worth visiting.
India was already near the top of the list of the cheapest places to travel in the world. If you’re traveling with dollars, it’s looking even better right now.