Probably the worst thing about travelling abroad is dealing with annoying exchange rates. It starts with you doing the math just to realise that the €1.5 you are spending on your bottle of water is actually `110 and ends with you deciding that you’re really not that thirsty.
The exchange rate doesn’t always have to be about multiplying though. We can all hope that our currency becomes stronger with each passing year so eventually we won't have to worry about the calculations. But till that dream becomes a reality, there are many countries we can visit and actually use the calculator to divide for figuring out the exchange rate, hence feeling proud and happy to actually spend less than you thought you would!
Starting small and near, the Nepalese rupee is a little weaker than its Indian counterpart at 1.6 NPR equalling `1, hence the price tag may look a little augmented but things won’t cost you more than they would in India. They actually do cost a little less and it is a good spot for either mountaineers wanting to conquer Everest or for shoppers looking to conquer malls.
Another country close to home – Indonesia – is a wonderful tourist destination. An archipelago of more than a thousand islands, Indonesia has beautiful beaches and wildlife. Java and Bali are frequented by tourists who want to enjoy a tropical vacation but here you will be taken aback by the exorbitant numbers on the price tags. Normal goods actually cost in millions, which takes some getting used to. `1 is equal to about 212 Indonesian rupiah, so a bag of chips will cost around 2500 rupiah, which looks like a lot but actually isn’t.
Vietnam as a tourist destination hasn’t been explored much by Indians. If the beautiful blue waters and amazing spa resorts are not enough to attract you maybe the exchange rate will! `1 is close to 341 Vietnamese dong, so a can of coke has a price tag of 9,735.85, which when divided by 341 is around 28.50. This should give you an idea of how far your rupee will stretch in this tropical paradise.
You would not think that you can go to a European country and end up actually dividing to figure out the exchange rate, but that is exactly what you do in Hungary. You can enjoy the beautiful castle and churches of Budapest and devour a nice hollow cake, which is a Hungarian delicacy, all while paying with currency notes that are for ten or twenty or even fifty thousand Hungarian forints. As `1 is around 4.2 forints the exchange rate may make you happy, but there is a difference between a weak currency and general affordability of goods and services. Yes, shopping and dining in Hungary may be cheaper than countries which use Euro as the currency, but things cost about as much as they would back home.
South America is a continent that won't empty your pockets. Costa Rica has it all – sun, sand and surf. There is also the bonus to this Caribbean dream, of `1 converting to 8 Costa Rican colons.
Similarily Paraguay, which is close to Argentina, has a massive exchange rate difference, where one rupee equals 80 Paraguan guarani. Paraguay is known for being the cheapest country in the world, according to a survey done by Mercer, so you can enjoy hotels, food and tourists activities without burning a hole in your pocket.
These are only a handful out of the many countries that can be enjoyed for not just being more affordable than India but also for their history, food and culture. Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Mongolia and Zimbabwe are a few. All these places might not be expensive but that doesn’t mean they are any less charming.
All you need is a few thousand rupees and a sense of adventure and you will be enjoying your visit abroad on your shoestring budget!