Last summer, the euro reached record highs against the dollar. That meant that the exchange rate was definitely against the dollar, making a trip to Europe more expensive. Now, though, the euro is at lows not seen for years. Right now, the euro is right around $1.34, and it has even dropped lower in recent weeks. Souvenirs, hotels and food cost less than they did a year ago, thanks to the chances in the exchange rate. Plus, consider the fact that airfares have dropped in price (along with fuel prices), and you might find that now really is a good time to take a European vacation — provided you can afford it.
Book early for the best travel fares
It’s generally a good idea to book any trip early. Last year, when we went to New York to see my husband’s family, we booked in March. Good thing, too. If we had waited until June to book our July flight, we would have paid half again. We saved quite a bit by booking early. The same is true of a European vacation. Many tour groups and travel agencies can help you save 25% to 50% if you book by March or April. Keep an eye out for fare sales.
Take the roundabout way to Europe
Instead of taking a direct flight, schedule in stopovers. You can save between $300 and $1,000 per ticket if you plan your route to include connecting flights. You can even get flights that don’t end in Europe. Many South Pacific airlines stop in Europe on their way to islands and to Australia. You can save money by taking a connecting flight that way. And, of course, you will get your best deals if you look online.
Other costs to consider for a European vacation
It’s not just what you’ll spend overseas that you have to consider, however. Here are some costs to think about before booking your European vacation:
- Passport. You have to pay for a passport if you don’t have one already. This can cost $85 and up, depending on how fast you need it. It’s best to allow 8 to 10 weeks for delivery.
- Clothing. Understand the climate and make sure you have appropriate clothing and footwear.
- Luggage. You want good, quality luggage if you’re going to be globe trotting. You don’t have to spend a ton, but the really cheap stuff won’t cut it.
Once the world economy picks up, though, you may not be able to take a European vacation for these low prices. The euro is expected to gain as the world starts to recover from recession, and that means it may be a while before you can take a European vacation for these prices.