Still among the least expensive, most expansive destinations in the world
Dollar dollar bill y’all: Anything goes in India, a welcoming country for English-speakers. Capitalism alongside Communism, rich atop poor. If someone can't make on-the-spot change for your dollars, they'll surely send a sprinting street kid on his way to make it happen ASAP. Of note: The dollar has gone up 50% against the rupee in the past five years.
How you'll spend it: I can sum up India with a single memorable haircut. In Delhi, a good first stop for the uninitiated, you'll find a maze of street cows and horn-mad drivers and rickety buses and bull-drawn carts. It's great; seriously, go. I ducked away to shop for a trim in Delhi's Paharganj Bazaar, I was sold on a pitch by Mohammed Arkan, who stood in front of his open-front workplace. After an expert, no-gadgets cut, he swayed me into an Ayurvedic face massage that soon tumbled into a full head-massage and skin-nourishing treatment with rosewater. The head massage left me drowsy and in no mood to contest my final bill, which had ballooned to over $3. Mohammed, a Muslim, was an 18-year employee at the Hindi-owned Punjab Hair Salon (storefront sign also boasts: "Since 1947 -- The Evolution"). I lingered inside the dingy shop for another hour, discussing faith, policymaking, Chinese tourists.