Europe, overall, has always been a continent of budget travel if you looked hard enough and especially as you moved east, but with the U.S. Dollar and Euro now at parity, your summer in Europe is a whole lot more affordable this year.
With USD And EUR At Parity, Americans Enjoy A Golden Opportunity To Travel To Europe
With interest rates rising in the U.S. at a pace that exceeds its global peers, the USD is now at a 20-year high and the USD and EUR have reached parity.
One practical result is that it’s a great time to visit Europe.
Flights to Europe are already running full this summer, but the fact that your strong dollar now means you pay less for food, drink, hotels, lodging, and even airfare itself marks a golden opportunity (though I would wait till shoulder season) to visit the capitals of Europe.
Europe’s far more sensible tipping culture also doesn’t add an absurd 20-25% surcharge to every bill. Furthermore, the price you see is usually the price you pay, with tax already factored into menu prices.
Tip: Don’t ruin the tipping culture in Europe by tipping like an American. Round up to the nearest Euro or limit tipping to 5-10%.
A strong dollar is not all good news, though. It makes U.S. goods relatively more expensive, harming exports and manufacturing. It also hurts the hospitality industry in the USA since everything here costs more to foreign travelers and Europeans might sensibly decide simply to refrain from traveling across the Atlantic.
But if you’ve been thinking about travel to Europe, now is the time to go. It’s a great time to enjoy the rich culture and beauty there without breaking the bank and I’d imagine this parity will not last forever (others disagree…we will see).
Might want to think twice about that…
“Heathrow tells airlines to stop selling summer tickets”
Friends just flew to CDG. Checked luggage. No issues at all and had a great time.
That’s why I recommend the shoulder season or even later in autumn, but if you can get there now your USD will certainly go further.
I’m finally going to Poland again in September to see family after three years of not being able to. The dollar is really strong against the zloty right now. Hopefully it stays like that for another couple of months. And yes I agree, would never travel during the summer. It’s just chaos during the best of times.
Telling Americans to NOT tip is no different than these slobs not tipping here. Service industry employees hate Europeans for their poor tipping and is why they get lessor service.
We can argue on the system but it isn’t changing anytime soon.
You are right – Europeans who wish to be culturally sensitive travelers need to understand our obscene tipping culture in the USA and more importantly, tip their wait staff generously.
@Matthew: Adding to the obscenity of the tipping culture in the US is now the ridiculous new mandatory fees that restaurants are adding to the bill. Last week I went with my family to a local restaurant and the following was added to our bill:
“Please note a 5% health and wellness charge is added onto every bill. This charge goes to support health insurance and paid time off benefits for our staff. This charge is not a gratuity.”
SERIOUSLY???? I did not say anything as I did not want to ruin my family time but will never ever show up at that place again. BTW, this is spreading out and more and more restaurants are adding it.
As for tipping and stupid fees, increase the price of each meal by how much you want to cover all that and let me chose if I am willing to pay that much. Tipping and now extra fees is simply obscene.
Tipping reminds me of ‘resort fees”. It’s a way to advertise a lower price and bait-and-switch. I was irked once when a garage charged me for their “rag fee” which was the price for the rags to clean their hands and equipment. Seriously?
A similar thing with adding sales, hotel, and rental car taxes at the point of transaction. The businesses love it because they can advertise a lower price and the state/city loves it as well since they can bait-switch travelers. If you know there was a local 20% hotel tax for a city but the town just a half mile across the border didn’t charge it, would you switch? You would see this in the price in a search engine.
One can say that it’s nice to see these items broken out to apply pressure in theory and notify the consumer, but what can we do? Call the state congressperson or city mayer to notify them of your discontent with the tax?
I wonder why they just don’t adapt a service charge fee; some restaurants already include the tip in the bill.
Oh well, that’s America for you. Always has to be more complicated than it has to be.
Many places have tried, especially in New York. Unfortunately, most of them have switched back as its difficult when customers are looking up their menu’s online, seeing higher (tip included) prices than theyd see at most other restaurants and deciding the items are overpriced. There’s also the issue of attracting/retaining service staff when they have ingrained expectations of how their compensation structures. Its just deeply ingrained in mental accounting here in the states and very difficult hurdle to overcome.
Been working fine in Miami for years.
Shoulder season – absolutely.
Anytime between now and 20th August – I’d say don’t even think about it. In addition to the general travel chaos, hotel prices in many places are very firm indeed, so there won’t be much of a saving.
The one place I would consider visiting in the circumstances is Madrid, which should be easy enough to reach without much disruption and traditionally struggles to fill its business hotels in the summer, meaning that you tend to be able to get a good deal- but you need to be prepared for the high temperatures.
@PM: Shoulder season might work on big cities but not on small ones. Try going to Amalfi Coast, Sicily or Sardinia in Italy on shoulder season and everything will be dead and closed. Even in the US, I once went to Vail and Aspen in shoulder season and it was hard to even find restaurants open.
This varies depending on the destination. I am sure the likes of Ibiza and Crete are fine until mid-October. The beaches of Sylt and the tri-city area on the Polish coast, not so much.
You’re spot on with Madrid. It’s oddly overlooked by tourism crowds, but is well connected to the USA. Even a fair amount of upgrade availability. Several great hotels reasonably priced, and Madrid is generally just inexpensive to begin with. I just dread the long long long long train ride from T4S
@Jerry: Both Madrid and Lisbon are two big European cities that usually get overlooked. Money goes a long way in those places with great reasonably priced hotels, outstanding restaurants and fantastic culture and weather.
As a frequent passer-through, you probably should note that the dollar discount doesn’t quite apply to Switzerland, which today saw the CHF pass 1:1 to the Euro. But y’all know Switzerland be costly.
Europe is a [redacted by admin]show now lol you can tell them to go if you want. Lmao Don’t be surprised if your flight gets canceled, delayed for hours on end, baggage lost, stand in security for 3-4 hours in Amsterdam. Amazing how you just gloss over major staffing issues taking place there
AMS is only a problem if you have to depart at AMS. Transiting is no problemo.
@Jan: how about luggage? I am connecting from the US in AMS to another European destination and unfortunately won’t be able to only have carry on as we are traveling with kids and for many days. I agree that we won’t have to leave the airport so no need for security check and it should be an easier immigration (EU passports) but my main concern is if our luggage will make it to next flight (flying business class so not sure if priority matters here).
Also, on the way back we have to overnight at a hotel close to the airport so wondering how early we have to be at the airport for our flight next day. Again, flying business class so maybe priority security will help. Thoughts based on your experience?
your miles may vary
I only had carry-on so I can’t speak from experience. But perusing FT and Reddit I don’t see a big baggage connection issue. The real big bottleneck at AMS seems to be the security check, and I’ve read that it’s a mixed bag whether SkyPriority/business dudes get any actual advantage in security. But this is all just hearsay from what other people are posting so take with a grain of salt.
I’m reading that 1.5-2 hrs seem to be the longest waits in security queues
Thank you. I have checked into AMS dozens of times after spending the night at the airports hotels and in my experience if you are flying SkyTeam and business class you definitely get a superior treatment. They have priority security lines that you even take a different escalator up to get to the line so since my family is flying Delta (SkyTeam) and business class I am hopeful it will all work out. Flight is around noon so if we get there very early in the morning we should avoid chaos.
I have absolutely NO INTEREST in traveling to Europe. Did it as a kid because my parents are European (Italian and Greek; beautiful people.) But now with all the negative news about the crowds and lost baggage. No, not now.
Just buy some euros today and travel later, no?
Why on earth would anyone in their right mind tip 20-25% for standard service?