Home » Live in Canada? Here’s where your travel dollar is strongest

Live in Canada? Here’s where your travel dollar is strongest

written by Michael Sadowski February 25, 2016

Whether you opted for outlet shopping in the Fall, flew to Florida to escape winter, or caught a sports game at stadiums south of the border in spring, we Canadians have made the most of the on-par exchange rate with our American neighbours for years now.

But these days, it’s not just Netflix that’s stronger in the US – it’s the value of their dollar, too. Just as we’d gotten used to the comfort and convenience of being able to flip across the border as needed, we find ourselves once again waiting for the economic tables to turn. But we Canadians are resilient. When we want to travel, we won’t let a bad exchange rate get in the way. We’ll do our research and find the places where the Toonie can still get you your Double Double – or that country’s coffee equivalent. So where in the world will the Canadian dollar go the farthest? Believe it or not there are still many places, but here are my five favourites.



Image c/o Mariusz Kluzniak, Flickr

Feb 23, 2016 1 CAD = 11.26 ARS
Feb 23, 2015 1 CAD = 6.92 ARS

From the bustling back streets of Buenos Aires to the icy wilds of Patagonia, Argentina is a traveler’s paradise. Home to steaks that could rival even the finest cuts of Alberta beef and a music scene that keeps the clubs buzzing all night long, Argentina is a sensory experience sure to excite each and every Canadian traveler. Not to mention, as of February 23rd, we hit a 1-year high at 11.26 ARS to every 1 CAD.



Image c/o sandeepachetan.com, Flickr

Feb 23, 2016 1 CAD = 2.88 BRL
Feb 23, 2015 1 CAD =2.28 BRL

The olympics haven’t even started and already Canada is seeing gold. Fresh off the World Cup, Brazil is offering Canadians a nice discount at 2.88 BRL to the dollar. The country is a hub for history and culture, and not to mention home to a waterfall that makes Niagara look like a small swimming pool. Whether you’re in town this summer for the holy grail of sporting competitions or finally ready to explore the underrated gems in the North, Brazil is undoubtedly a strong choice for your hard earned travel dollars.

South Africa


Image c/o Flowcomm, Flickr

Feb 23, 2016 1 CAD = 11.03 ZAR
Feb 23, 2015 1 CAD = 9.24 ZAR

One of the continent’s most iconic countries, South Africa is a superpower offering world-class dining, safari, coastlines, and mountains. Johannesburg has become a hub for international business and a launching point to Kruger. Cape Town is kind of like Calgary, if Calgary had an incredibly beautiful oceanfront with crystal blue waters and jaw-dropping landscapes. Year after year, South Africa continues to “Wow” its visitors, and now it’s time for us Canucks to get in on the action. It certainly helps that we’re almost up a full Toonie in 2016, sitting pretty at 11.03 ZAR to every 1 CAD.



Image c/o Eric Montfort, Flickr

Feb 23, 2016 1 CAD = 3.05 MYR
Feb 23, 2015 1 CAD = 2.89 MYR

For me, Malaysia is the first place that would have me packing my bags. Malaysia has quietly (Ok, not that quietly) been gaining recognition as one of Asia’s must-see destinations for 2016. The country has no shortage of city sites (Petronas Towers in KL and pretty much all of Singapore) but still plenty of beaches, mountains and hillside escapes for a more off-the-beaten-path experiences. Of course, the real shining star may very well be Malaysian cuisine, the beautiful intersection of Chinese and Indian flavor with influence stretching to all of it’s neighbouring countries. I don’t want to make any bold claims, but Malaysian cuisine may very well be the best in the entire world. Good things come in three, and today 1 CAD will get you a clean 3.05 MYR.



Image c/o Dennis Jarvis, Flickr

Feb 23, 2016 1 CAD = 13.20 MXN

Feb 23, 2015 1 CAD = 11.99 MXN

We Canadians are no strangers to Mexico. Our friends and family have been escaping winter on Westjet flights to Mexico for longer than many of us care to remember. But beyond the beaches and the all-inclusive resorts lies one of the most vibrant countries in all of Central America. Mexico has restored Mayan ruins that are almost inconceivable to the average traveller. Plus, their street food puts all neighboring countries to shame. Could you imagine how many tacos you could get for a toonie? I’m not a gambling man but at 13.20 pesos to the dollar, my money’s on mucho.

Rates as of February 23, 2016 via https://www.bankofcanada.ca/rates/exchange/currency-converter/  Feature image c/o Jose Maria Perez Nunez, Flickr


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arhaholidays March 5, 2020 - 9:07 pm

nice article

Tom Connolly February 16, 2017 - 10:58 am

I’m really thinking about a single tour, in a group, next year. Love to travel,but want something different than just a resort. Never did a single tour before!!

Wendy January 21, 2017 - 3:05 pm

USD is not always the currency of choice, you will find in Africa the Euro or local currency is preferred, e.g. Morocco it’s the Euro or Moroccan Dirham; in Tanzania and Zanzibar the Tanzanian shilling is accepted. South Africa accepted USD and SA dollars but in most African countries banks impose a threshold before small business and residents can exchange USDs. Generally the threshold is too high, so exchanging currency for them is problematic, they do not want to get stuck with USDs they can’t exchange so they don’t accept them.
In Africa we found Euros, CADs and local currency easier to exchange if needed and use. My advise is to research the country you are visiting to confirm the currency of choice; DO NOT relay on USDs as you could find yourself in a country without a dollar to spend!!!!.

Michael Durocher March 4, 2016 - 10:09 pm

Unfortunately you still have to exchange to American dollars. The world only deals in American dollars?!!!

Shari March 24, 2016 - 9:52 am

Hey Michael,

You don’t have to exchange to USD first. You can go to a bank in Canada and order in any currency direct from CAD money. Or, you can use credit / debit card in location to be charged in the local currency rather than taking USD with you. Exchanging to USD is a choice, not a requirement. USD is more recognized in other countries, but if you do your exchanging in advance, it’s a different ball game.

Scott March 3, 2016 - 12:47 pm

What about the Philippines?

Lynnea March 1, 2016 - 2:37 pm

Singapore is not a city in Malaysia. It is its own country, you must go through Singapore customs to enter it. The currency is the Singapore Dollar, or Sing as its commonly referred to there & is about par with the Canadian dollar.

Alan February 29, 2016 - 3:48 am

The exchange rate is not a very good indicator of how cheap the living in a country is. The author seems to believe that the prices are everywhere same in relation to the currency – not so. I’d rather see comparison of costs of food and accommodation in different countries in CAD.

Ronald March 1, 2016 - 3:15 pm

The big mac index would work pretty well in this scenario

Daniel February 29, 2016 - 12:28 am

The author needs to Google the term Purchasing Power Parity, and the Argentina example is just facetious as the normalization of exchange rates is responsible for the near doubling of the CAD to ARS. Finally, this post doesn’t take on to count inflation. Let’s pretend 1 CAD = 1 ABC last year. This year 1 CAD = 2 ABC. Seems like a bargain right? Except 1 subway trip last year was 1.25 ABC and this year it’s 3 ABC meaning it’s now more expensive for transit than before.

Johanna @TravelEater February 28, 2016 - 6:42 am

Just returned from Argentina. While the exchange rate is improving, prices are high and inflation is rising fast. Prices on everything except wine and city buses/subway are about the same as in Canada. The cheapest meal I found was McDonald’s: $10 Canadian for a quarter pounder w cheese meal. No deals here.

Susan Ferguson February 26, 2016 - 2:42 am

what type of single tours are available?

James Shackell February 26, 2016 - 9:39 am

Hi Susan,

Do you mean travelling solo on a group tour? That’s definitely something you can do. In fact most of our travellers join tours by themselves. Check out this page for a bit more info on single supplements etc, or head to our homepage to find a trip that’s right for you.



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