This has been a wild few months for the dollar and euro. The dollar gained parity against the euro a few months ago but then over the last month, the euro came back and outgained the dollar by a bit. And it has been a solid see-saw since then. Until today!
The Dollar is Doing Great Against the Euro
Yesterday, the Euro had a slight edge over the dollar but, today, the US Dollar has climbed and kept climbing. As of the time of this writing, $1 equals about 1.019€. That means that this exchange rate will give you a final edge with the US dollar than it did before.
What I mean by that is when you use your credit card on purchases charged in Euro, your bank is giving you the transactional rate. A website like XE.com is using the median rate between the dollar and euro. But, your bank is often not that generous! So, when the Dollar and Euro are equal, you are actually still paying a little more on the dollar side than it being equal because of the rate that the banks give you.
As of today, I withdrew some Euros from a European ATM (NOT Euronet – that thing is a total scam, as is DCC – read here for more) and saw that my bank gave me a slight edge with the dollar being ever so slightly stronger against the Euro. This is the first time it has been like this since, well, since ever.
The good thing is that it should continue to gain strength in the coming months and airfares to Europe will drop as the summer season draws to a close. That means that it could be one of the absolute cheapest shoulder seasons ever for travel to Europe!
The bad news is that inflation has hit Europe pretty hard as well, though it has started to steady and not climb anymore. So, there will be many things that may wipe out the advantage this stronger dollar gives you over last year but there are some things that will still work very well. Many hotels I am familiar with have nice shoulder season rates which are in line with previous years. Also, there are some food products and tons of electronic products that have not shut up in price.
If you want to stay up to date, head over to XE.com and put in an alert for a certain conversion rate. Remember that they are using mid-market rates for their conversion rates.
By the way, if you wanted to get a long-term resident permit/visa in some European countries (called a “Golden Visa”) and you have the money to swing that, this could be a great time to start looking. For Greece, it is a property investment of €250,000 and it gets you a 5 year Golden Visa, renewed as long as you own the investment. If you want to go this route, act soon! This will be doubling to 500,000€ soon!
While certain property values in the cities have gone up, there are plenty of properties in more rural areas, on islands, or in the north have really come down so you could get a property on the cheap (from what it was 2 years ago). People from Qatar, UAE, and China have really been taking advantage of this so the time to lock in a good deal on property could be sooner rather than later.
With the US Dollar taking a decisive lead over the Euro today, this means that it is definitely a better time to be visiting Europe with a bank/credit card account tied to the US dollar! Plus, this could be great news for a shoulder season in Europe that should be fantastic!