Question of the Week: Are there good deals to Europe?
I’ve heard that it’s a great year to go to Europe because there are so many deals out there. Is this true?
With everything that is happening economically in Europe right now, there seems to be a tiny misconception that prices to Europe have taken a plunge. That is simply not the case. Last year was THE year for deals to Europe with both airfare and hotel rates tanking. Overall, prices for this summer are up over last year, but Europe is still a good deal when compared to two years ago. That said, the economic crisis in Europe does have its advantages for American travelers. Have you taken a look at the value of the greenback these days?
As of today, it costs $1.23 to purchase a single Euro. In 2008, it would have cost $1.56 per Euro. For travelers, this translates to big time savings on the ground. To put that into perspective, in today’s dollars travelers spend $614 for 500 Euros, but it would have cost $780 for 500 Euros two years ago. Travelers will save more than $330 for every thousand Euros they spend, an easy task when you’re vacationing overseas.
The combination of a stronger U.S. Dollar and lower hotel rates make Europe a bargain when compared to 2008. Even with a rise in travel costs over last year’s rock bottom prices, there are still some pretty great hotel deals to be had. If you want to head to Europe this summer, check out Ireland, Portugal and Spain for some of the best deals.
Editors’ Note: We’re here to help our fellow travelers, so if you have a travel question of your own, just ask! Each week, we’ll publish a response to our very favorite question from one of our readers. Need travel help now? Peruse Travelocity’s frequently asked questions.
My name: Jennifer Gaines, but my friends call me Gaines, Jenni-Dallas or just plain Jenn.
(Find me on Twitter @jenngaines)
Travel ambitions: It's my mission to visit each of the New 7 Wonders and to step foot on every continent before my next milestone birthday.
Greatest travel lesson learned: Find the local hangouts to experience the real, true culture of a place. During a trip to Europe, my friends and I spent several days with a French family in the small town of Vichy. We had a private party in their family-run creperie, feasting on cheese-stuffed crepes and sampling wine that we picked up in the Bordeaux region a few days earlier. Their English wasn’t much better than my French, which is limited to a few well-known phrases from Moulin Rouge and the question: Parlez-vous anglais? (I'm proud to say that I can spout this question off in several different languages, and luckily most Europeans do indeed speak English!) After a few bottles of wine, the language barrier was hardly noticeable (slurring actually sounds the same in French!), and we managed to swap stories about life in other places. What a slice of local flavor!
My most beloved place in the whole world is: My grandparents place in Texas. It’s a 10-acre oasis in between two sprawling cities: Dallas and Fort Worth. A creek runs through their enormous backyard, where Granddad built a deck over the water. The entire place is shrouded with all types of trees (mainly pecan), blocking the Texas sun in the summer. Dusk is the best time to sit on the deck, drink a glass of ice tea and watch baby raccoons from the spring litter surround their back porch as Gram feeds them bread (no lie!). There will be dozens of raccoons eating on any given night. In the fall, my family gathers in the courtyard in front of their house for an annual “weenie roast.” Granddad lights the bonfire, and we roast dogs and s'mores. Yes, y’all, we’re from Texas!
Favorite way to get around: Well, I’m not much of a driver. I get lost easily and my tires have never come across a curb they didn’t want to get to know a little better. But, I do enjoy cruising around and listening to music. That said, I much rather explore a place by foot (with my iPod in tow) for a more intimate encounter.
View that took my breath away: Coming from Texas (where the view is wide but there’s not much to see), scenes from my new home of San Francisco never fail to amaze me. The city is a pedestrian’s dream, but don’t forget to turn around and look behind you as you meander through its neighborhoods. You won’t realize it, but you’ll be at the tip-top of a hill and the ocean will suddenly seem to be at eye level. Take a drive through the Presidio and over the Golden Gate Bridge where even more stunning views await!