If you’ve been meaning to plan a trip to Europe, do it now—and fast.
Travel costs to Europe have fallen by an average of 20 percent, according to consumer advocate Christopher Elliot. Due to factors like the failing Greek economy and record-low European interest rates, the euro has fallen to its lowest levels since 2002.
For travelers, that means the cheapest European in years, Frommer Guidebooks’ editorial director Pauline Frommer told Elliot.
For a great deal, plan to visit Berlin and some Eastern European areas.
“In the Eurozone, Berlin remains one of the cheapest major cities to visit because its hotel costs are far lower than that of other equivalent European cities,” Frommer said. “It’s undercut by those countries people don’t realize are on the euro, such as Slovakia and Estonia. Portugal, too, is a very good deal this year in most areas.”
Other European currencies like Poland (from 3.06 to the dollar last year and 3.77 to the dollar now), Bulgaria (from 144 to the dollar last summer to 180 in July) and Hungary (from 384 to the dollar last year to 230 now).
Travel tip: if a restaurant asks if you’d prefer to pay in euros or dollars, always choose the former.
And the debt crisis in Greece has caused tour operators to slash prices to encourage a boost in tourism, editor-in-chief of Fodor’s Travel Arabella Bowen told Elliot. Scandinavian countries, which are often the most expensive destinations in Europe, have also seen a drop against the dollar.
In addition, Hopper’s Consumer Airfare Index predicts a 4 percent drop in airfare prices for fall from 2014. International fares as especially low for fall and winter travel, with airlines like KLM and Air France offering significant discounts, the New York Times reported.
Elliot gives two more examples that may offer a sampling of how prices have dropped in Europe: a dinner at Parisian local favorite Chez Casimir near the Gare du Nord is down to $25 from $30 last summer, and a night at the Fabian Hotel in Helsinki, a raved-about boutique hotel, is about $208 for a room next month compared to $249 last summer.
Sounds like there’s never been a better time to plan a European excursion.
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