What $1 buys you around the world

One U.S. dollar

A $1 bill. Photo: rychlepozicky.com/Flickr Creative Commons

One of the central tenets of vagabonding is that travel doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, going abroad can be far cheaper than your monthly housing and car costs at home.

Lonely Planet called on its readers to send in their tips on what $1 buys around the world. Replies poured in from nomads from all points of the globe.  The value of a dollar can really vary across different countries.  In some places, a dollar can buy you a feast; in others, that will barely pay for a cup of coffee.

Thailand, a perennial favorite, made an expected appearance in this comment: “The question is, what can’t you get in Chiang Mai for US$1? – Sheila

In other places, the higher cost of living was reflected: “Paris: about 40% of an espresso at Starbucks. – Michael

An interesting trend is that many of the replies revolved around food.  When you only have $1 to spend, you’re going to buy things that:

A) You can afford
B) You really need

Food fulfills both categories. What’s the best thing you’ve spent $1 or a small amount on? Please share your stories in the comments.

Posted by | Comments (6)  | January 21, 2011
Category: Money Management, Notes from the collective travel mind, Travel Bargains

6 Responses to “What $1 buys you around the world”

  1. Adriano Says:

    Italy: one dollar is enough for a nice espresso coffee. Yesterday I bought a big loaf of buckwheat bread for that sum of money. As of food, a 500 gram box of spaghetti (enough to feed up to 6 people) will leave you with some more money for a little topping (cheese and/or oil).
    Also, with a few more cents (the sum varies according to change) you can buy a whole array of mini books – among them the Letter to Menoeceus (by Epicurus) on happiness in life.


  2. BC Says:

    When traveling abroad, it is important that we plan ahead. Including researching the area culture and weather, packing correctly, knowing what to see and do and even what to expect, these are just the beginning of preparing for your journey. Probably one of the most important aspects to planning your trip abroad is in dealing with your money.

    Currency is a big deal when you travel, as doing it the right way will not only save you money but will ensure that you have what you need. For this reason, it is very important that you spend a little time learning about the local currency, how to best exchange your currency to local currency, as well as fees which may be associated with the type of money you choose to use. From credit and debit cards to cash and travelers checks, knowing before you go can save you a significant amount of money when you travel abroad.

    Tips To Avoid Fees And Make The Most Of Your Money

    Avoid buying local currency at the airport. In some areas this can cost you a significant convenience fee.

    Choose to use the services of a local bank or perhaps an ATM instead. If you use an ATM, you can certainly expect fees relating to your withdrawal, however, you can also expect to get the best exchange rate as well.

    Carry a variety of money’s including cash, local currency, credit or debit card.

    If you are planning on using a credit card when traveling outside of the United States, read the fine print before you use it as some credit cards charge fees for international use.

    Consider prepaid cards as a viable option to credit or debit cards as they will give you access to your money without the fees.

    Safety Tips:

    Do not carry all your money in one spot and do not carry it in an obvious place. Instead, consider creative places to put your money and divide it up in money belts, and perhaps on a leg to ensure that you are not an easy target.

    Never exchange money on the street, this is just common sense.

    Know the exchange rate if you plan on paying in cash and pay attention when taking taxis or car services as they can easily take you for a different kind of ride.
    Travel Smart With Berkshire Concepts

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