Many Americans, facing record inflation and interest rates, can’t travel right now. But for the lucky ones who can, this might be the perfect time to book a trip to Europe.
The pound fell to an all-time low against the US dollar on Monday, and the euro, which fell below parity with the dollar this summer, also remained weak against the dollar.
As a result, American travelers who are able to jump in on a good deal can take advantage of this moment to fly across the Atlantic and expand their dollars further, saving money on food, souvenirs, and other goods purchased with local currency.
The opposite is of course true for travelers coming to the US from Europe and elsewhere, as well as for countries that borrow money in US dollars because their own currencies are more volatile.
“It is definitely the best time to go [to Europe] Scott Keys, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights, told MarketWatch. “The US dollar has improved against the Euro or Sterling over the past six months by 20%, and what that means is that if a night in a hotel cost you $100 six months ago, you would be able to get the same hotel — assuming that [local] The price is the same – for $80. “
“If a night in a hotel cost you $100 six months ago, you’d be able to get the same hotel—assuming that [local] The price is the same – $80.“
But there is an important caveat: inflation is also a problem in Europe. It is still important for travelers to consider cost-saving measures such as flexibility with departure and return dates or requesting currency from their local bank before traveling so they can avoid exorbitant transfer rates at airports, Hayley Berg, chief economist at Huber, a website and travel booking platform, Tell MarketWatch.
However, after rising earlier in the year, the cost of airfare has fallen. Keys said there are good deals emerging for travelers looking to travel to Europe, with round-trip flights to Spain and Portugal for less than $400 on many routes. (This is not necessarily true across the board, Keyes said, especially for trans-Pacific flights to Asian countries, even those with currencies weaker against the dollar.)
“Those deals [for travel to Europe]Once largely elusive over the summer, Keyes said, is now back in a big way as we enter more shoulder season than fall and winter travel. “Since about June, average prices are starting to fall — and falling fast.”
With summer over and kids back in school, September through the first week of November is usually a good time to fly, price-wise, compared to spring and summer, Berg said.
“When you use the currency — the increased value of the U.S. dollar compared to some of these other major areas where we have a lot of American tourism — that is another thing that makes these trips look more attractive,” Berg said.
Not everyone can afford to travel
However, an international vacation is a pleasure that fewer Americans can afford as they deal with rising housing costs, rising food prices, and dwindling savings.
As some Americans take advantage of cheap overseas flights, others line up at food banks, demand rent assistance and take second jobs or temporary work.
If you have extra cash and you’ve already taken your summer vacation, you might consider helping the less fortunate. Consider making donations to organizations that help homeless students get through the school year, food banks, or groups that provide diapers to people who can’t afford them.
“Taking an international vacation is a joy that fewer Americans can afford as they deal with rising housing costs, rising food prices, and dwindling savings. “
Remember, too, that a strong dollar can raise prices for consumers elsewhere in the world.
And even if you have a lot of money set aside, you may still have to budget for local travel this holiday season, especially if you want to visit family or friends in another state. This is “almost always a costly endeavor,” Keyes said.
Although the best time to book flights was in June and July, the second best time is now – and the worst time is approaching in November. If you can afford to book flights for the next several weeks, you should consider doing so.
Or you might want to consider traveling internationally during Thanksgiving week. It’s “the best hidden week for international travel,” Keyes said.
“Thanksgiving is a week where domestic airline tickets swell so hard because everyone travels home to visit their families. But all of these people who travel domestically are, by definition, not traveling internationally,” Keys said.
“In late November, you won’t see much fewer international travelers… It’s already the low season for international travel,” he added. “You see flights for the same cost of flying to Minneapolis as it costs to fly to Madrid.”