Time For Europe, Or At Least Canada

Lower oil prices are pushing airfares down, and are helping to strengthen the U.S. dollar. Meanwhile, falling demand is creating travel bargains across the spectrum, from hotels to package tours to cruises.

All this is making Europe mighty attractive. Combine the advantages of a weaker euro with weak demand for plane seats and hotel rooms, and you get a wide range of bargains. Add the usual off-season discounts, particularly between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it gets even cheaper.

If Europe is too far and still too expensive for you, Canada provides an alternative. The Canadian dollar has dropped from parity to about 80 cents to the U.S. dollar, creating a currency exchange bonanza within driving distance for many of us.

Arthur Frommer recently ran down a bunch of European bargains. Travelzoo has a steady stream of bargains in Canada, including some at ski resorts and the very European city of Quebec. 

It makes obvious sense to travel when it’s least expensive. Yet many of us who traveled happily at higher prices are too worried by the current state of the economy to spend on travel now.

Those who have lost their jobs have no choice but to stay home. The rest of us must choose carefully.

It’s important to remember that the travel market responds very quickly and strongly to supply and demand. That’s because the only thing worse for the travel industry than selling a plane seat or a hotel room at a discount is leaving it empty. When recovery comes and demand increases, higher prices will follow very quickly.

So if you can afford it, you probably have a good chance now to visit a place you’ve always wanted to see. And it will be less crowded and less expensive than you might have thought possible.


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