Things aren’t going well for the euro, which has lost 3 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar in the past couple of days. This morning, the common currency of 17 European nations hit an 11-month low of $1.29. Some analysts suggest the beleagured euro could hit $1.25 — possibly lower — in the coming months.
If there is a silver lining in the Eurozone crisis that is bringing down the euro, it is for travelers. As I write these words at my desk in Helsingborg, Sweden, Europe is becoming cheaper, particulary for American travelers, like me, who trade U.S. dollars for local currencies to spend on goods and services here in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe. (Sweden, by the way, uses the Swedish krona as its currency; its fate, however, follows the euro, meaning that Sweden, along with Norway and Denmark, is also becoming cheaper for travelers trading U.S. dollars.)
Related articles, Wall Street Journal: Europe’s Debt Crisis Gloom Gives Dollar a Warm Afterglow; and New York Times: Euro Closes In on Low for the Year
As a traveler, I welcome the monetary relief. For a long time, Americans have found the cost of travel in Europe to be painful. Two years ago while visiting France, I cringed as I thought about how much a cup of coffee was costing me in dollars, when the euro was trading at $1.50.
Will the euro continue its tumble? Who knows? But if it does, travelers should be prepared to seize the day. If the common currency continues a sustained loss against the dollar, U.S. cruise passengers will find better bargains in Europe compared to what they found in the past few years. With a weakened euro, pre- and post-cruise stay-overs, in particular, could become more of a bargain than they have been in quite some time.
It’s foolish to fiddle while Rome burns, as the saying goes. We certainly wish Europe the best in dealing with its crisis, but if the euro continues to tumble, you can expect to see a lot more of us visiting your charming cities, and sipping happily on cups of coffee at local cafés, in 2012.