You might have seen my article titled, Getting to Europe - 22% Off that appeared recently. In it I mentioned that the dollar was doing better than the Euro these days and it would pay to keep track of the Euro to dollar ratio since you might be able to save money on the conversion rate. People who travelled from the United States to Europe during June, July or August 2008 got a very poor conversion rate. But the conversion rate has improved significantly in the last month.
I decided to follow my own advice and see if there were other currencies that are declining in relation to the dollar since this will mean a budget traveler can travel to other countries and when you convert your $$ you might get a bargain.
The information I am reading says that the Euro may not be the top currency for 2009 since the European Central Bank is pumping Euros, 200 billion or so, into the European economy like the U.S. is pumping dollars into our economy. That will mean a weaker Euro for 2009 according to some experts. So keep an eye on the Euro to dollar ratio over the next few months.
Another place you might consider for your travel plans is South Africa. The South African rand (the currency of South Africa) is in trouble and like the Euro, if you watch it and track what it has been doing in the past six or nine months, you might see some past downward price movement against the dollar. The South Africans are not pumping rands into the economy like the US and the Europeans. But a strong currency is based on a stable political climate. And things are not really stable there. The South African economy depends on commodity exports and as commodity prices come down so does the value of the goods that the country depends on for its economic strength. Also, unemployment is on the rise there and this will have an effect on civil unrest. All in all I think we will see the dollar get stronger against the rand in 2009.
The third country on my list you might want to consider for 2009 is Australia. Australia does a lot of business with China. As China does less business worldwide it will affect our friends in Australia. Also, like South Africa, Australia depends on high commodity prices, and since so much of the economy is based on agriculture, I would look for the Australian dollar to fall against the U.S. dollar in 2009.
The last of the four 2009 overseas travel destinations is the United Kingdom. The U.K. pound is suffering from the subprime credit demise just like the United States. There has been weakness for the past year and a lot of problems we are seeing here; i.e. people with high credit card debt, a frozen credit market and being upside down in the mortgage to housing value problems are all happening in the U.K.
Also, the U.K. has the same job market problems in the financial industry over there that we have here plus the Bank of England is cutting rates as fast as they can to try to fend off bad times. All of this added together means that the pound has been falling against the dollar and it will continue into 2009.
So what does all of this mean to you Budget Traveler? It will mean better conversion rates next year than we saw for 2008 to convert dollars to Euros, pounds, the Australian dollar and the South African rand.
Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.? You can send me your questions or comments on my bio page. My next article will be out shortly.
Jim Fortune - the BellaOnline Budget Travel Guy
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