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Getting the Most out of the Dollar
Forecasts & Trends
Currency Converters
Getting the Most out of the Dollar

Child in Venice

Photo by Alfredo De Simone

A trip to the United States has to be a top contender for European families this year. Notwithstanding higher prices for airfare and gasoline. The U.S. dollar's continued slide (nearly 20% versus the Euro since April 2006 and more than 45% since 2004) makes a family vacation in the United States a bargain. Resorts and activities that once seemed out of reach are today a steal. Don't forget to bring an extra suitcase. The savings on fall school shopping (or next year's summer wear) may just cover the cost of a plane ticket!

For dollar holders disinclined to stay home much of Latin America continues to offer value. As do South Africa and Egypt. Families resolute on traveling to Europe should be prepared for outrageous prices. The following cost saving tips won't make the trip cheap but they will help reduce the sting of a family vacation in Europe.

  • Establish a base and take day trips. Not only will this reduce the hassle of repacking each night it can reduce the cost of transport and accommodation.
  • Rent an apartment rather than booking a hotel. Or consider a house swap and make the vacation cheaper still.
  • Take into account car rental, gasoline and highway tolls when comparing the cost of transport. Trains and European low cost airlines may be less expensive.
  • Research rail passes before you purchase. The more you travel the greater the value.
  • Make a trip to the local supermarket your first family excursion. Packing snacks, sandwiches and water can significantly reduce the amount you spend on incidentals each day.
  • Sip cappuccino at the bar rather than a table and order tap water and house wine with your family meals.
  • Understand where and when to tip. A service charge is oftentimes included on restaurant bills.
1 USD = 04/30/04 04/30/08 % Change 1 Euro = 04/30/04 04/30/08 % Change
USD/Euro 1.198 0.641 46.5% Euro/USD 1.198 1.561 30.3%
USD/Brazil Real 2.967 1.698 42.8% Euro/Brazil Real 3.555 2.650 25.5%
USD/Argentine Peso 2.860 3.175 11.0% Euro/Argentine Peso 3.427 4.956 44.6%
USD/Mexican Peso 11.45 10.496 8.3% Euro/Mexican Peso 13.721 16.383 19.4%
USD/S. African Rand 6.910 7.565 9.47% Euro/S. African Rand 8.277 11.819 42.8%
USD/Australian Dollar 1.385 1.070 22.7% Euro/Australian Dollar 1.659 1.670 0.7%
USD/Chinese Yuan 8.287 6.996 15.6% Euro/Chinese Yuan 9.930 10.919 10.0%


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