The US dollar and euro are almost equal: What that means for travelers

May 4, 2022

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Trying to plan a summer vacation but worried about ever-increasing travel prices? We’ve got good news for you: For the first time in 20 years, the dollar is approaching parity with the euro.

At press time, the exchange rate is $1.05 = 1 euro. That means once you arrive in Paris, Amsterdam, Rome or any other city in the European Union, you’ll be able to make purchases without running conversion charts in your head or worrying about the built-in markup on everything. (However, you’ll still have to do this in the U.K., where the conversion rate is $1 = 0.80 pounds sterling.)

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According to a new report from Reuters, a recession is looming across Europe — the result of “Russia’s move to cut off gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland” and the fear of gas restrictions throughout the rest of Europe. That’s coupled with “the twin headwinds of a surging dollar and sweeping COVID-linked lockdowns in China, a major market for bloc exports.” The dollar is expected to continue to increase in value against the euro.

It’s predicted that travelers will soon see a return to the previous low of $1.03, last seen in early 2017, and then to $1.02, last seen in December 2002.

That’s good news for anyone planning a trip to Europe this summer, according to Leslie Overton, the director of travel operations at travel advisor consortium Fora. “It would be difficult for there to be more interest in Europe than there is right now,” Overton said. She also noted that while summer is always a popular time for Americans to visit Europe, it feels “more urgent now,” as travelers are eager to return to pre-pandemic travel.

The problem? Although interest is high, affordable hotel availability isn’t. This is because some hotels remain closed after the pandemic and some properties are facing staffing shortages; there’s also an overall surge in interest making everything seem “tight,” according to Overton. 

The silver lining is the advantageous exchange rate, Overton said. “Travelers who had been on the fence about pulling the trigger on trips have been suddenly ready to commit after seeing parity come into view,” she said. “I had a client call me at home last night and say, ‘I want to pay for this right now!’ in case the exchange rate goes back up.”

Overton added that within her company’s advisor pool, there are always clients looking for rooms in the $200 to $300 range in Paris, which wouldn’t have been possible a few months ago but can actually happen now.

“My advice is for anyone who’s been thinking ‘maybe’ about booking hotels in Europe this summer is take advantage of the exchange rate and lock it in, and don’t miss this opportunity,” Overton said.

Related: Traveling to Europe this summer? Here’s what to expect

Featured image by Getty Images.

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