It’s been a topsy-turvy past 18 months for the world’s currencies and for the moment anyway, the U.S. dollar is back up again. If you’re up for a winter trip to Europe, your travel dollars will stretch a lot further than they would have at most times in the past five years.
The official exchange rate right now is 1.37 dollars to the euro, which compares to 1.50 or even 1.60 that many Americans have encountered when heading across the Atlantic. If you haven’t been watching the financial news, this is happening because Greece is about to go bankrupt and a few other countries (Portugal, Spain, Ireland) are also in precarious shape in terms of servicing their debt load. This is dragging down the euro, along with every currency tied to the euro.
What this means for you the traveler is not that Europe is suddenly cheap, but that going there won’t sting you as badly as before. The pound sterling is at 1.56 to the dollar, down from a harsh 2-to-1 ratio not so long ago. The even better news is, the greenback is up in some of the cheap destinations as well, including Hungary (dollar up 6.2% since Jan. 1), Bulgaria (up 4.8%), and the Czech Republic (up 4%).
Destinations that had been getting pricey have eased back down a bit, including Australia, New Zealand (down 5.6% since Jan. 1), Chile (down 6.8%) and Brazil (down 8%).
Of course if you travel to The World’s Cheapest Destinations the fluctuations don’t matter so much since your money will go a long way to start with, no matter what your home currency is.
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