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Former frequent poster from the US has temporarily given up on Europe because of the costs. Any more like me?

Former frequent poster from the US has temporarily given up on Europe because of the costs. Any more like me?

Oct 2nd, 2007, 08:00 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,229
Former frequent poster from the US has temporarily given up on Europe because of the costs. Any more like me?

I've reached my psychological barrier where I don't think I can justify Europe. I guess we are lucky because we have made about a dozen trips in the last 9 or 10 years. We've seen a lot of the must-see biggies and a ton of off-the-beaten-path places in the less visited countries and areas. I used to regularly haunt the board but now haven't been on in quite a while. It just doesn't seem as though Europe is calling to me as much now that the horrendous exchange rate seems to be getting worse. Any others like me out there, or are you all carrying on as usual?
julies is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 08:09 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9,017
I've given up a long time ago, seems a pint of milk gets more expensive every week. (A liter now is 65ct) But what can you do?
logos999 is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 08:11 PM
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Posts: 3,000

Go east and south. Try the Baltics to Turkey.
hopscotch is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 08:12 PM
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BTW, it's not the € that is high, it's the USD that is low. In comparison with most other major currencies, the € is going down just like the USD.
logos999 is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 08:14 PM
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Turkey is expensive too, their currency gained over 12% vs. the € during the last year. Poland and Slovakia are still cheap, but to cold in winter!
logos999 is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 08:17 PM
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Exchange rates don't bother me much one way or the other.

I lived in the UK when the £ was $1.45 and when it was $2.45 so the current $2.04 really is just in the middle.

Sure I loved it when the € was just $.86 - but the current $1.40-ish is still doable.

There are lots of ways to economize on a trip. Plus all my investments are heading up while the $ is down so there is more cushion.
janisj is online now  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 08:59 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,496
I did not think I would go back to Europe for a while, but DH & I are going to Paris in Feb.

Our ski club is going to Chamonix to ski. The trip has a 4 day Paris extension. We don't want to go to Chamonix. But DH has never been to Paris before. I was able to find a good price for air fare & hotel. So we are going to go & meet up with the ski club.
cheribob is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 10:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Right. The Euro is soo high against the US$ right now. Why not just sidle up to Canada for a cheap getaway.
I suggest a couple of bargains like Banff and Tofino.
Snicker, snicker.
icithecat is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 05:06 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Hi Julies - I have always enjoyed your posts and trip reports. I loved the one about Lithuania - I remembered it when I saw your post.

I am sort of carrying on as usual - still obsessed with trips and planning and the like. The only difference is that I am more "worried" about the price and am looking more diligently for less expensive accomodations.

We are planning a trip to Portugal next June and there are less expensive accomdations in some of the areas - compared to other countries.

I am one of those people that will forego other things (big house, two cares etc) as travel is the priority. My husband and are are 49 and 50 - and i am worried if I wait, health problems will start to be a barrier. Already not the same as I used to be.

We also have a 13 yo son (my stepson) and its very important to me to get him exposed to travel and all that it brings.

We have a 2 BR condo in Chicago - I am toying with the idea of downsizing to a one bedroom in preparation for retirement some day. Seems like people spend so much time accumulating stuff and filling up there houses - and then they turn around and unload all of it at some point. I am trying to get a leg up on that too.

Long answer to your question. Bottom line is... Europe is still calling me...
chicagolori is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 05:08 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 760
Yes, we've given up for now. But that's OK, because there are a lot of other places to visit in the world where the dollar has not been so severely battered.
Jake1 is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 05:21 AM
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Go to Argentina. Buenos Aires is a very European-like city. Dirt cheap for food, taxi, and shopping.

marginal_margiela is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 05:36 AM
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I guess I should throw in here that we have never been luxury travelers. Rather, we are more budget to moderate, so I already know about going to the grocery store, picnicing, staying at small mom and pop places, renting apartments, choosing less expensive destinations etc. Plus, we are not ones for luxury cars, ostentatiousness in clothing or jewelry, fancy restaurants at home, so while we are certainly more than comfortable, our money is not going there.

And, we have visited many of those less expensive places (many when they were way cheaper than they are now)--Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Lithuania. In May 2007, we visited Turkey and really liked it. In fact, we hope to return. But, it is on a par with costs in the US, so it is not what is considered a "cheap" destination. Plus, on the idea of Turkey. Go there while you are still in pretty good shape. The best places to visit all involve quite a bit of physical exertion. We too are thinking like Chicagolori in that we are thinking about when we will no longer have the stamina or physical ability that some destinations take.

All in all, Europe calls in some way, but when I start doing the math, it doesn't make sense.
julies is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 05:37 AM
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I don't know if I agree. I'm from Canada. and the latest echange rate is $1.50 for one euro.

Over the years, flight prices have gone down due to more competition. I can fly a discount airline from home for under $900, or I can drive to Buffalo if a better deal is available there. I know that I did not pay any less 10 years ago than I'm paying now.

For hotels, with the advent of Travelocity and Expedia, I can get decent pricing on hotels and/or hotel packages. I've also used for France the SNCF travel site to find a hotel in the south of France.

For food in France, I was used to having a basic breakfast for under 10 euro, a lunch for under 10 euro, and then dinner could be in the 25 euro range (though I usually went higher).

If you go off season, pricing can get much better with hotel deals.

I went to Africa 2 years ago and spent way under $1000 for 2 weeks (excluding flight). I was in Turkey last month and daily cost were under easily under $100 per day (outside of istanbul)

Exchange rate is a number. Is Europe 1.5 times more expensive than home? No. Is Canada, at an exchange rate of 1-1 the same cost as in the US. No.

I'd set a budget and then plan a trip to match it. The flights have not, from what I can tell, dramatically increased over the last...5 years. So that costs you can control are hotels (appartments?) and meals. What can you do to control them, where can you go to find them within that budget. Europe will have somewhere...
Michel_Paris is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 05:39 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 112
No way.

I am at the moment making plans to spend time with a group of friends at a US destination.

This destination is not a major city, a resort, or expensive activity (like skiing or guided activity) and yet the trip is costing me nearly as much, item for item, as another trip I was planning on taking to Europe until I got this invitation.
In fact, the difference between this beers-by-the-motel-pool weekend and a European capital cities trip is about 20-25 percent. That includes the difference in the type of activities, meals and accommodation.

I love my friends, and it's worth it to me to see them. (There is no possibility they can all go to the European destination.)

But the trip itself? No comparison.

To stop traveling somewhere you really want to go, and spend thousands to go somewhere you don't, because of the difference in a few hundred dollars in the exchange rate seems a very foolish economy to me.

But we all have our tipping points, and I respect yours. I hope you find some new places you're just as passionate about!
Bluehour is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 05:48 AM
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Hi J,

In Sept 2006 1E = $1.26. Today it is $1.42, a 13% increase.

Thus, a 3600E, 2-week visit (not including airfare) that cost $4600 in 2006 now costs $5200.

That requires saving an extra $50/month for one year.

OTOH, the Dow is up 25%, and the S&P is up 18%.

ira is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 05:57 AM
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My favorite places for vacation in the US are New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as a number of others. This year we went to Europe for 6 weeks. We spent less there per day than we do on nearly every trip we take in the US -- certainly a lot less than in New York.

I stopped looking at "how many of theirs you get for one of our ours" and instead looking for the overall cost and value, and found that the value is still there. I don't care how much a great meal in Paris costs in euros, but rather how much it costs in dollars compared to a similar meal back home. The answer was that I can't match it in value in the US. Period.

A few years ago you could stay in a Hampton Inn on the outskirts of most American cities for $49 or so. Now, you're lucky when they are under $100. The decrease in the dollar compared to the euro doesn't begin to match that kind of increase in costs of things within the US.

Meanwhile we rented a wonderful apartment in Paris for about $100 a day for 10 days (note that's dollars, not euros). I wouldn't enter the door of a rental apartment or hotel I could find for that in New York, LA, or San Francisco, much less close my eyes and sleep in it.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 06:10 AM
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I don't think Europe is any more expensive than a lot of other destinations, such as in the US or Canada, even now -- once there. The only thing that is really more expensive, and always has been, are drinks -- like a coffee in a cafe (please don't start giving me these tips about drinking coffee standing up, I know all that and don't want to drink coffee standing up). However, I do agree that nowadays the airfare has gotten so high for summer travel, when I go, that the airfare adds on a real chunk in comparison to staying closer to home. But that's the big difference. If you go more off-season, it isn't that much of an issue in comparison to other places. If you really go to cheap countries (maybe you are just tired of them and don't want to see, say, Bulgaria, that's fine) it isn't more expensive than the US or other places, I don't think.

I never thought Canada was any bargain despite the conventional wisdom, even before the current exchange rate making a CAD about equal to a USD. I thought it was about the same price as the US before, so now it is more expensive. I'm not really that interested in going there so much, anyway, at least not repeatedly and I've been there enough. There are plenty of places to travel where I haven't been in the US or Latin America, if I decided to forego Europe.
Christina is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 06:15 AM
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Christina what is most interesting about your post is that you mention the biggest increase is the cost of the airfares. But ironically most of us are paying those airfares to American airline companies in US dollars. Those increases have NOTHING to do with the euro/dollar exchange rate. (Yes, I'm agreeing with Christina here, just pointing out another aspect of her post).

In other words, once again, it is the actual COST of things in the US that goes up, often making things here MORE expensive that things in Europe where costs may have remained constant and even the falling rate of the dollar doesn't match the price increases of things back home.

I also agree with Christina's comments regarding Canada. Although we used to get more Canadian dollars for our US dollars, I never found that made things cheaper in Canada. My experience was nearly always that comparing "apples to apples" the bottom line price came out the same, as the same items cost more in Canadian dollars than the same item would in the states in US dollars. People get too hung up on exhange rates, rather than the bottom line cost.

And speaking of staying home. Look at how much more money you'd spend this summer on gasoline driving across the US compared to a couple of years ago. I bet the difference is more than the falling dollar rate would make for two weeks in Europe compared to that same couple of years ago!
NeoPatrick is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 06:19 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 233
We're going back to Italy in a couple of weeks. We're very aware of the exchange rate, but it played no role in deciding whether or not to go back to Europe. It is what it is. We always use miles for airfare, so that's a big expense we don't have to think about. We love Italy and wouldn't want to substitute it with a cheaper destination just for the sake of saving money.
CheBird is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 06:32 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,703
Yes, with the dollar in apparent free-fall, Europe seems more and more unaffordable for Americans. We still want to go, so what we do is plan wa-a-ay ahead, prepay everything we can, and stay away from the "luxury" ietms as much as we can. I really think staying in apartments is the saving grace for us - so much less expensive to have coffee and breakfast in our own kitchen, and we can store fruit, cheese, bread, etc. instead of ordering in restaurants.
scdreamer is offline  

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