Europe: Too Expensive For Me

I just helped some friends buy plane tickets for a trip to Ireland, and they got a very good fare. But they’re going to pay through the nose on the ground.

With the euro trading around $1.54, every outlay is going to hurt. That’s just the way Europe is for American tourists right now.

When I was in Spain last year, the euro was at about $1.35 and even that was punishing. Aside from some great Spanish wine and good deals at a few outstanding small hotels, I felt overcharged for almost everything at every turn. It’s not a great feeling for a budget traveler.

There certainly are sound strategies for saving money on a European trip – staying in guesthouses, getting off the tourist track, packing picnics, using public transportation, even opting for an all-inclusive cruise. (Rick Steves has, of course, great tips on this.) But there is no way to entirely escape the economic realities of the surging euro.

So I have resolved, for now, to use what willpower I can muster to resist the undeniable allure of the Eureopean Union. I don’t want to go back until the dollar is stronger, and I can get more for my money.

I spent a week last month in Turkey, and I had a terrific time. I managed to get decent hotels in the $50 to $65 range (off season) without too much trouble and was even able to splurge a bit here and there. Next trip: Hawaii. After that, I’m thinking Argentina.

The truth is, I know that I’ll have to return to Europe eventually, even if the dollar stays low against the euro.There’s stuff I’m just dying to see. For now, though, I’m waiting and hoping for a turnaround so that I can see Rome without selling a vital organ to pay for it.


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