Concerned about the USD v. EURO

Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 07:18 PM
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Concerned about the USD v. EURO

I know that this topic has probably been beaten like a dead horse on this forum. But, I am really concerned about what the terrible USD is going to do to our expenditures for our (DH and I) first trip to Europe, traveling to France, May 3-11, 2008. I just read an article in the NYTimes this week re how the USD is at an all-time low v. the EURO.

We have reservations at Hotel Luxembourg Parc, a 4* in the 6th in Paris, although I think we will travel to Reims, and possibly Versailles, on day trips (will play it by ear as we don't want to have a "check off list type of vacation"). I know there are cheaper options available, but I have a thing about nice bathrooms and air conditioning is non-negotiable!

I am budgeting about $2k USD for everything else while there (not counting lodging costs). Is that sufficient, or should the woes of the U.S. economy cause me to budget more? We don't need fine dining all of the time--only 2 nights or so.

I was considering scrapping this trip in lieu of Buenos Aires and Carmelo, Uruguay (Four Seasons at $230 USD). However, I am really committed to traveling to France as it is some place that I've always wanted to travel to (especially being from New Orleans).
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Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 07:38 PM
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You are right, this topic has been done to death. If you are that concerned, then don't go. BUT, consider this. If the dollar goes down 10% between now and May, then your trip would cost you $200 more. Is that enough to break the bank? If so, then go to So. America.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 07:44 PM
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Wow, snarky post. It's amazing that some people would rather spend more time being negative, then just disregarding another's post.

Thanks for the insight!
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Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 07:46 PM
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It's okay to substitute So. America for Europe, but you see you really want to go to Europe. And So. America will never be the same as Europe. That's how I look at it. For example, people tell me how cheap Thailand is and I still think even with the awful value of the US dollar that's one place I can enjoy a bargain vacation. But for me Thailand can never be a substitute for Europe.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 07:55 PM
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But mah1980, betty's comment is accurate. A 10% decline will only cost you $200 on your $2000. I don't think many foresee the € being 10% stronger in 6 months.

BTW - air conditioning may be non-negotiable for you, but it most likely will not be needed in early May. In fact - many "air conditioned" properties only have a/c in the summer -- not turning it on until June.

There are lots of ways to economize - lodging being the easiest . . . . .
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Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 08:46 PM
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May in Paris can be iffy. I've been there when it was cold enough to need a jacket and scarf (2007) and when is was in the 90s and humid (2006). Both times I was there in May.

There are three star properties with air-conditioning. It just depends on how much you are willing to spend. I stayed at the Monge in the Latin Quarter this year for about $130 for a double room, but stayed alone as I know Paris rooms are notoriously small. The air conditioning worked just fine.

As far as food is concerned, you can find all priced restaurants. It just depends on how high-end you want to go. If you do a search here on Paris you'll find many people go to the market and picnic for lunch. If you frequent areas where students eat, you can do quite well.

As far as I'm concerned, the best things in Paris are low or no cost. I just love to wander and admire the architecture, the Seine, the shops, the markets, the parks, etc. And don't get me started on the bakery and pastry shops.

If this is your first trip to Europe and you really have a hankering for France, don't let the falling dollar stop you. Shop for an airfare sale and use the savings for some splurges. Last February I was able to catch a sale on United for $511 flying Los Angeles into Amsterdam and out of Paris for the month of May. My friend flew RT LA-Paris for $491. Be patient and shop airfares carefully.


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Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 08:49 PM
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I say if you have your heart set on going to Paris, then by all means, go to Paris. I have to say that Buenos Aires, as lovely a city as it is, is NOT Paris.

Hotels are indeed the easiest way to lower your budget, as janisj mentions. Are you willing to go on Priceline? I don't know how much you're paying for the Hotel Luxembourg Parc, but you can get pretty good deals bidding on Priceline. I think at one point, the Paris Hilton (not the heiress) was going for about $100 a night.

For our Paris trip this past summer, we didn't have a budget, and we stayed a week. We didn't go out of our way to be cheap, we just spent as we wished, shopping whenever we felt like it. I think we spent a little less than $1k for food, souvenirs, various museum tickets, some rides at the Tuilleries fair, and a day trip to Versailles. We even managed a dinner cruise on the Seine for my mom's birthday, which was our largest expense during the trip.

Right now, we just have to accept the fact that our dollar doesn't go as far as it used to. But it shouldn't make or break your trip if it's the one place you've always wanted to go, and you have the means to do it. If an extra $200 will make or break your trip, then perhaps this is not the best time for you to go. But then, when is?

Don't wait any longer, just go.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 09:19 PM
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In May, Paris has a average MAX temperature of 18C which equals 64F. I guess, A/C is somewhat negotiable unless you prefer an arctic climate in your hotel room ;-)

You may be surprised that also many travellers from the Euro zone would not be able or willing to spend that much on accomodation and dining as it seems to be the norm for some people.. 10-14 days in 4* hotels in France? €100 for 2 people for dinner every day? NO WAY!

The are many ways to save money, even in France:

Stay fewer nights in Paris. For one night in a 4* hotel, you can get a rental car for one week and find out that France is more than just Paris and IdF (and there IS more than Provence, Normandy, and Burgundy).

When travelling in the regions, try to stay 7 days in one place.. rent an apartment/house.. 2-3 nights in a 4* hotel in Paris equal one week rental.

France has several motel-type chains, where you stay for €30-40 per night, per room. Yes, no fancy places, not romantic, not in historic buildings - but if you are on a road trip it may be a good idea, since you do not have to navigate the historic city centers with your cars after a long day exploring. I don't want to suggest to stay in motels ALL the time when in France, but 1 or 2 nights for €30 can be enough to adjust your spending power back to those times when the exchange rate was not that unfavorable for you.

One of THE major advantages in France: good / excellent food is not limited to "fine dining" places. When travelling the countryside, you find many roadside restos or in small towns with lunch menus for 12, 15, 18 Euros. Or get get some wine, cheese, and bread for lunch and have a picnic - in the countryside or in a nice city park.
When at a restaurant, do not overtip (0-10%, rounding up... )

I think it is no surprise, but to compensate a difference of almost 50 percent in purchasing power you either have to have a bigger budget, or make significant adjustments to the "style" you want to travel in.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 09:35 PM
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Just be glad you're not considering visiting London...
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Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 10:15 PM
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You'll be fine. Don't worry about it. IF you have concern about further drops, you could buy Euros now - but currency trading is for the brave.

It's very easy to economize in Paris, at least on your budget. $2K after lodging and air is plenty for 2 people over 8 days. Just keep an eye on what you're spending each day. You won't have to "scrimp". My advice would be to forego shopping for the most part - at least until late in the trip when you see how the money is holding out. Don't deny yourself the experience for the sake of stuff: have your coffee and croissant or bottle of wine, enjoy the cafes and restaurants but choose wisely, like anyone on a budget. Paris offers plenty of good dining etc at a reasonable price. If you're doing museums, take advantage of the combo passes.

One other suggestion: if you take the inclusive breakfast at your hotel and find the first day that you're not really going to "get your money's worth", have yourselves removed from the service (and the charge from the rest of your stay). If you're the coffee=and-croissant types, you can beat the price of hotel breakfast by stopping for it in the neighborhood. Add the savings to your lunch budget (or ice cream or afternoon break).
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 01:35 AM
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Air condition in early May in Central Europe??? What for, please?
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 02:57 AM
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Quokka, because one never knows. We were in Budapest last May. I hadn't even considered air conditioning but, of course, there was an unexpected heatwave. For 4-5 days the rooms were really oppressive and we were unable to sleep through the night, but tossed and turned.
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 03:15 AM
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mah 1980 - Go Now - do not wait for things to get better because according to a friend from Colorado who's visiting us in South Africa at the moment (he deals in the Futures Market) well, he reckons the dollar is going to decline even further - much further - down the scale.
Something to do with the US Government devalueing the dollar to pay off foreign debt??

We are going to Paris in May on our way to the UK and with our exchange rate (have a look at the Rand/Dollar/Euro) and see why we have to just bite the bullet and enjoy what little money we have.

There is no substitute for Paris or France for that matter if you are going for the ancientness(is there such a word!) of it all, the beautiful buildings and art galleries. The beautifully maintained gardens so gorgeous in Spring and Summer and the whole feel of being French! Yes, I love Paris and can't wait for my 11th trip.
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 06:04 AM
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I think snarky's message is dead on, not being negative. If the extra $200 is a deal breaker (assuming the dollar falls that much more) then maybe you shouldn't be going to Europe.
It's just like people travelling by car in the US. They're planning a long distance, 2 week trip by car t/o the western US, and all of a sudden gas jumps by a quarter a gallon and they say they have to cancel their trip. If they figure it up it may add another 100 bucks or so to their gas bill, and if that breaks their trip, then they shouldn't be taking that vacation anyway.
You're not the only one this is affecting, you have to make your personal decision if Paris is worth the extra dollars.
Maybe you could drop down to a 3* and save some money. THey still have nice bathrooms and a/c.
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 06:22 AM
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I think paying additional $200 should NOT discourage you from going to Europe.

I'm sure that if it will cost you 15% more to go there because of Euro-USD issue, you'll find a way to cut 15% from overall expenses (by avoiding fancy restaurants, finding less expensive hotels, etc).

Remember, TIME IS WEALTH. You'll be happier and feel luckier that you did what you want to do, than feel regretful that you waited for the USD to improve but you can't go to Europe anymore because of more serious reasons.
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 06:28 AM
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You asked a question and bettyk answered it truthfully (plus she's right). No need to call her snarky just because you didn't like the answer. You've gotten lots of good advice here on how to still go to Paris. You don't need to stay in a 4* to have a decent bathroom and AC.
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 06:40 AM
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The preface to Bettyk's post was snarky. I know that this is a tough crowd from previous reading so I will be bowing out now.

Thanks for your advice.
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 07:37 AM
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A major economist over a year ago said that" he would not be surprised that the dollar vs the euro would be over $1.50 by December of 2007". Quess we all should have paid attention more and stockpiled?
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 07:53 AM
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mah1980~ You can easily make up the $200 and then some(!) by changing your hotel choice to 3-star instead of a 4-star hotels. You can most certainly find 3-star hotels in that same arrondisement with nice bathrooms and air conditioning (though I agree with others I wouldn't need AC myself since it's not even summer yet).

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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 07:56 AM
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mah1908: Sounds like you aren't coming back to this thread - but just in case - - - "The preface to Bettyk's post was snarky."

OK, let's take a look. You started your post w/ "I know that this topic has probably been beaten like a dead horse on this forum"

Bettyk responded w/ "You are right, this topic has been done to death." So what exactly is snarky?? She was agreeing w/ you.

"I know that this is a tough crowd from previous reading so I will be bowing out now." - that wasn't tough - that was a legitimate response to your question.


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