YOUR MONEY-What the Superdollar means for summer travel
(The author is a Reuters contributor. The opinions expressed are his own.)
By Chris Taylor
NEW YORK, March 20 (Reuters) - Jane McManus can hardly believe her luck. The New York-based sportswriter for ESPN.com is planning a summer vacation with her family in Ireland.
Following the strength of the U.S. dollar, McManus upgraded their travel plans, reserving a swankier hotel room in Dublin and booking a couple of days at an actual 13th-century castle. The overall cost will be about 30 percent less than last summer's vacation to Italy when the dollar was much weaker, McManus estimates.
"Wow, it's so different," she marvels.
With the Superdollar near parity with the euro, airfares to Paris are down 14 percent from a year ago, according to popular travel site Orbitz. Hotel rates have sunk 10 percent from last year.
London, Rome and Barcelona are among other popular locales with cheaper hotels and airfares than last year, according to Orbitz data. Travel expert Brian Kelly, known as "The Points Guy" (www.thepointsguy.com), also singles out Japan, thanks to the weak yen; Finland, the only Scandinavian country to use the euro; and South Africa, whose currency has sunk by almost half over the last few years.
You do not have to leave North America to feel the impact. Next-door neighbor Canada's currency has slumped to around 80 cents on the dollar.
As a result, travel trends are already shifting: International air traffic for U.S. citizens in January was up 7.2 percent over the previous year, according to the National Travel & Tourism Office. Continued...