What is up with exchange rates? How do I plan my travel budget?

I work as a travel agent and have guests from all over the world. Over the past several years a lot of folks have been able to travel in the US very inexpensively thanks to favorable exchange rates. Today as the US economy and the US dollar is rebounding those rates are no longer as favorable for non-US residents.

Examples- the Canadian dollar was very close to equal in value to the US dollar for most of 2010- 2014. This last year with reduced oil costs the US dollar has rebounded- and the Canadian dollar will now only buy 70 cents on the US dollar- the exchange rate is about 1.33 today so it costs 30 percent more to travel in the US than it has for the past 5 years. Historically however the US dollar has always been stronger than the Canadian one- I suspect it will stay around this rate for some time to come so Canadians- sorry- you will be paying more for all things US including your winter holidays in warmer climates.

The Australian dollar has been hit even harder- trading today at about 1.4 to 1.45 AUD per USD. This means that our Aussie friends are paying an additional 15 percent more than Canadians for the same US dollars. The British pound and the Euro are also trading at the lowest rates they have in years.

What does this mean for Americans? Right now you should be planning to travel to Europe and Australia. Rates are lower than they have been in eons and if you can get packages that include as much as possible up front- you will make out very well with your money stretching further than it has in years. If you have a trip planned to Europe or Australia for later this year you may want to go to your bank and buy some foreign currency while rates are low and put it aside to take with you.

If you have ever wanted to travel to Canada on the Canadian railroad or visit Montreal or beautiful Quebec City - this is the time to plan it. Book that Mt Tremblanc ski vacation now and pre-pay everything you can. Ski packages with lift tickets are a great deal when the US dollar is as strong as it is today.

If you are a Canadian or Australian with an American holiday planned- try to pay for as much as you can up front and do it when your exchange rate is the best possible. Make sure any credit cards you are using are offering the lowest exchange and foreign transaction fees to make your purchase as painless as possible as well.

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