October 07, 2014
There are plenty of reasons to head to Europe: The culture, the beaches, the history. For the first time in years, though, we can add an economic one, as the dollar is currently stronger against the Euro now than it has been in the last twenty three months. For American travelers, that means their money goes further now than almost ever before.
As of October 1, the American dollar is worth .79 Euros, while one Euro fetches $1.26 American. Those figures havenít been this promising for American currency holders since November of 2012. The trend in 2014 has been promising, as well; the dollar has gained almost .05 Euros since the beginning of the year, with the growth being fairly steady since May.
How do these small numbers practically affect travelers? Even a .05 difference in Euro rates, when multiplied by a tripís expenses, can pay off big. Take, for example, a trip to Paris. For a couple, letís assume a 5,000 Euro budget. On October 1, that converts to around $6,300. Just one month earlier, those same 5,000 Euros would cost $6,560, and in March it could have been as much as $6,960. Over the course of the last six months, the cost of an identical vacation has dropped by $660 Ė thatís nearly 10 percent!
Do those numbers seem out of line? Light lunch at that gorgeous cafť you walked past on the way to the Eiffel Tower likely runs around 20 Euros. Dinner with a view? Le Jules Verne will seat you inside the Tower itself for a five-course dinner Ė at 185 Euros per diner. A trip through the Louvre: another 16 Euros per person. Thatís more than 200 Euros spent in one day by one person. Double that for a couple, multiply it by five days, then consider that hotels donít tend to be free (the Hotel Plaza Athenee, which just reopened in August, can run up to 1,000 Euro per night!). Itís easy to see how two people can hit 5,000 Euros in costs for five days in the City of Light.
What could saving an extra $660 get you while on vacation? In Paris, that could be two tickets in fantastic seats to see Paris Saint-Germain, one of Europeís great soccer teams, live (with money left over for concessions). It could be two Eurail passes to head to Spain for a vacation-within-a-vacation. It could even be a shopping trip through the Faubourg Saint-Honore district, with its streets lined with designer shops.
Currency conversion rates arenít always the most entertaining of reasons to head out of the country, but in addition to all of the fun and relaxation of vacationing in Europe, getting a good deal is a solid rationale to head over the Atlantic Ocean in the near future.