The World is on Sale -- 5 bargain cities to visit this summer

Dreaming of going to Europe?  This is the year to do it.   The dollar is nearly on par with the euro at $1.09, compared to last year when it was roughly $1.40. Traveling within the euro zone is almost 20% cheaper now from a year ago.  Many European economies are struggling, which is causing more bargains and deep discounts.

According to an article from CNNMoney, based on exchange rates, hotel costs and flights below are the Top 5 destinations CNNMoney recommends to find the best bargains this summer:

1. Paris, the city of lights just got brighter along with other Euro zone destinations.

Recent roundtrip flights to Paris are as cheap as $519, according to Hopper, a travel-data site. Travel to other euro zone countries -- Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Austria, among other nations -- are also a bargain.

Hotel reservations are up in Italy, Spain, and Germany, according to Priceline.  Outside the euro zone, Norway is another good bet: the dollar has appreciated by a third over the past year. Typically viewed as an expensive place to visit, this is a perfect time to take a trip to Scandinavia. 

2. Mother Russia.

Moscow and St. Petersburg is a can't-miss for travelers right now. Russia's ruble has been tanking as its economy gets hurt by western sanctions and plunging oil prices.
One dollar would get you 35 roubles a year ago. Now a dollar gets you 57 roubles. 

The tourism industry is trying to rebound by offering deep discounts.  Flight prices from New York to Moscow have dropped 37% on the year and hotels are 45% cheaper than a year ago, according to Hopper and TripAdvisor.  

3. Brazil is a steal.

Explore the beaches of Rio De Janeiro, the city of Sal Paulo or any where else in Brazil.  Brazil's currency, the Real, has lost almost 30% of its value against the dollar from a year ago.  A typical flight from New York to Rio was $1,170 last March. Now it's $856, according to Hopper, and hotels are 12% cheaper compared to a year ago. 

4. Dreaming of Cartagena.
Colombia is one of the South America's best growth stories right now, but the U.S. dollar's rally keeps the trip cheap. The dollar has gained 18% in value on the peso in the past year. Hotels in Colombia are 10% cheaper from a year ago, according to TripAdvisor. Flights are a bit cheaper too.

5. South African Safari.

Hard to believe it's 13% cheaper for people with dollars to vacation in South Africa. The countries currency is losing value against the dollar as commodity prices slump.  Flights from New York to Cape Town are down 24% from a year ago, according to Hopper.  A flight to South Africa which is more than double the distance to New York than Paris, costs a mere $130 more. If you can handle the long flights, South Africa offers a lot of bang for your buck.

Source: CNNMoney

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