Rise of the U.S. Dollar

The US Dollar, which has been scarily low for us Americans over the past couple of years, is finally starting to creep back up to its previous levels. A couple of weeks ago the dollar hit its best exchange against the Euro in over 2 years. In fact, similar things can be said for its rate against currencies all over the world - the Great Britain Pound, Canadian Dollar, South African Rand, Argentinean Peso, Brazilian Real, Thai Bhat and the list goes on. So what does this mean for U.S. travelers? It means that travel is suddenly once again more affordable to all of these destinations for a multitude of reasons. When purchasing flights, hotel rooms or tours that are originally priced in local currency and converted to U.S. dollars, this conversion will now be based on this more favorable rate of exchange and we will therefore pay less. It also means that once in a foreign destination, purchasing items in a foreign currency will cause less (delayed) sticker shock when they get home and check their bank accounts and credit card statements. When added to the fact that gas prices are decreasing causing some airlines and cruise ships to lower or all together eliminate the additional fuel charges they had recently added, things are starting to look up for travelers. Not only does this mean that people may be able to take longer (or any) vacations, it means that they are a larger choice of destinations in which to do so.

It's important to note that the improved exchange rate and gas prices are in no way guaranteed to last. This is particularly important when booking travel that is not entirely paid up front. Many hotels, for example, do not require any deposit at all to hold a reservation and the exchange rate has plenty of time to change between the time of booking and the end of their stay, when payment is due. If the rate is not locked in, and in most cases it is not unless at least a portion is paid up front, the guest is then at the mercy of the exchange rate at the time of their stay. Though paying in part or full upon booking may not seem to make financial sense at the time, it should ensure that your price is not subject to the fluctuating exchange rate and in the end could save money. The same can be said for tours and other travel arrangements. Airfare generally requires full payment up front, and in fact if the price is lowered, you may be able to call and get a refund or airline credit for the difference.