Just in time for the holidays, wanderlust may be kicking in again if flight bookings are any indication of such. But with inflation at a four-decade high, many Americans might reassess or delay their travel plans. A new study however, could make some would-be tourists reconsider this — as your dollar may now go further when converted to certain currencies.
The new Travel Lens study found that a vacation to U.S. travellers’ 20 most popular international destinations is seeing Americans hold an average of 11% more in spending money than before the pandemic. The strengthening of the dollar means that you’ll get more in local currency than you were in 2019 (in 16 of the 20 most visited destinations, at least).
Travel Lens noted that while “there’s no getting around the fact that flights have increased in price, alongside accommodation and the cost of food, drink and things to do when overseas, it’s reassuring to know that this is somewhat offset by the fact that dollars are going further, in many destinations, than before the pandemic.”
So, which destinations are most attractive?
According to Travel Lens, Turkey is the country where the value of $1,000 has increased the most since before the pandemic: up 227.55% versus the local Turkish lira. Argentina follows, as the value of $1,000 versus local currency has increased 155.48% since 2019 — then Hungary, with a 40.2% relative increase. Japan follows suit with a 33.6% increase against the yen (versus 2019’s figures), and then Chile, at a 33.5% relative increase.
In addition, Travel Lens noted that countries operating with the EU’s euro currency have seen a growth of 11.57% versus the U.S. dollar, while the British pound recently fell to an all-time low against the U.S. dollar. As a result Americans are getting an average of 11% more in spending money when visiting the U.K. than prior to the pandemic.
Experts Say the Time To Travel is Now
Commenting on exchange rates, Angela Hughes, owner of Trips and Ships Luxury Travel, told The Wall Street Journal: “Right now is the best time we’ve probably had in 25 years to travel most destinations internationally, including Europe and Japan.”
This is further corroborated by a new Bank of America report, which noted that for the 14 days post Labor Day, in-person Bank of America credit and debit card spending in foreign countries was up 29% as compared with the same period in 2019.
Thanks to the stronger dollar, spending by American consumers surged since this summer — particularly in Europe, and particularly concentrated in luxury, jewelry and clothing. For the two weeks ending Sept. 23, point-of-sale spending at clothing stores was up 80% and 130% compared with the same period in 2019 in France and Greece, respectively, the report indicated.
“In our view, this resilience is partly due to the strength of the U.S. dollar, which has made goods and services in Europe more affordable to U.S. consumers,” per the report.
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