Avoiding Euro Shock

The U.S. dollar is a puny, pitiful thing in Western Europe these days. After 16 days in Spain I felt as if the euro had knocked me down, dragged me over the scenic cobblestones, clubbed me in the head with a sock full of euro cents and danced happily over my shattered wallet.

Which is why I welcome the suggestion that there are less expensive destinations to visit.

The Associated Press just came out with a piece on affordable foreign vacation destinations in Asia and Latin America. Also mentioned: the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. Japan is still an expensive destination, but the story reports that at least the yen hasn’t risen against the dollar in five years.

The Frommer’s website has a regular feature on what it calls the Global Price Index, with handy listings of what it costs for common goods and services in a variety of places. For May 2007, the hands-down winner is Ethiopia with bargain prices for beer, coffee, food and hotels – all my basic necessities. Belize isn’t looking too bad, either.

If you really must go to Western Europe, you may find a cruise more affordable than a trip on land. (You could try easyCruise.) And Arthur Frommer suggests in his blog that European homestays are the answer.

Getting to Europe is pretty pricey, too, this summer. The Airfarewatchdog Blog suggests that the cheapest route may be through Ireland.

As for my next trip? Minneapolis.


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