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In April, it cost $1.60 to buy a euro. As of mid-December, a euro cost $1.36, meaning your dollar goes nearly 20 percent farther now.
Travel to Europe by Americans was down 4.8 percent in the first eight months of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. But now, "prices are coming way down and 2009 may be the year to plan your European trip," said Anne Banas, executive editor of SmarterTravel.com. She cited "two big reasons: the slow economy and the fact that the dollar is gaining on the euro."
The dollar is doing even better elsewhere. An Australian dollar costs just 67 cents in U.S. currency, down from nearly $1 this past summer, and Canadian dollars are worth just 80 (U.S.) cents now. Earlier this year, the Canadian dollar was worth more than a U.S. dollar. And the guidebook publisher Lonely Planet put Iceland on its top 10 destination list for 2009, citing great deals in a country where local currency and the national economy have collapsed.
December 16, 2008