Europe as a budget-friendly travel option? This will be true in 2022

Flying to Europe this year may seem absurd as opting for premium fuel. With such high prices, is this really the right time to brag?

“As a result of labor shortages and all these things happening, travel is more expensive than in the past,” said travel journalist Oneika Raymond. “Flights are really expensive. The accommodation is really expensive. And the journey to revenge is one thing. “

Even travel prices continue to rise generally due to limited supply and rising demand, pockets of affordability remain.

Europe represents one of these pockets, where the weakening of currency exchange rates against the dollar and hot demand have left prices relatively unscathed. In fact, flights within the US have become so expensive this year that some international destinations, including many in Europe, are offering a relative bargain.

“If you’re willing to pay to fly within the country, check out international destinations,” suggests Hayley Berg, top economist at Hopper, a travel booking app. “Because there’s a good chance there’s a flight to another place in the world at about the same price.”

AIRFARE IS LOWLY INCREASED IN EUROPE

Domestic airfare was 30% higher at the end of May 2022 compared to May 2019, according to data from Hopper.

“Airfare this summer within the U.S. costs $ 600 to $ 800,” Berg said. “At those prices you can get to Reykjavik, Iceland, or Dublin, Ireland.”

In fact, flights from the U.S. to Europe rose only 13% at the end of May 2022 compared to the same period in 2019, according to Hopper. That trend is square with tourist demand, which remains below pre-pandemic levels: Approximately 19% fewer U.S. travelers left for Europe in May 2022 compared to May 2019, before the pandemic. , according to data from the International Trade Administration.

In other words, prices and demand for flights to Europe are rising, but not as fast as they are elsewhere.

“Because of how high domestic airfare is, you can get more money for your money on longer trips,” Berg explains.

THE DOLLAR IS STRONG

While 2022 may come down as a bear market for everything from stocks to cryptocurrency, the US dollar has gained ground in many foreign currencies. The dollar was 15% stronger against the euro in May 2022 compared to May 2021, according to data from the Federal Reserve.

“Now what we’re seeing is that a dollar can buy more euros than it has been able to essentially since the euro launched,” Berg said.

This means that anything purchased while traveling to euro -using countries is at a 15% discount, if currency exchange rates remain stable. US travelers can enjoy this benefit in everything from food and lodging to events and transportation.

Of course, the pressures of global inflationary continue to drive up prices everywhere, including Europe. Annual consumer prices in Germany rose 7.9% in May, according to the Financial Times, just shy of the 8.6% increase in the U.S. But, while prices may remain high almost everywhere, the relative strength of dollars can help soften the blow.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION CAN HELP YOU

Inflation does not hit any aspect of travel more directly and dramatically than the cost of renting and operating a vehicle. The price of rental cars rose 69% in May 2022 compared to May 2019, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And everyone knows how high the price of gasoline is.

These factors should make it the summer of public transportation for money-conscious travelers. However the US offers several tourist destinations that can be explored by train.

Not so in Europe, where most popular cities offer safe, affordable and reliable transit. Cities like Amsterdam, London and Copenhagen can be explored for just a few euros, which is only equivalent to a few US dollars with a favorable exchange rate.

Visiting national parks in the US became significant in 2020 and 2021 for many reasons. But saving money in 2022 means skipping vehicles outright when possible.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH?

We are in a strange time indeed when travel to Europe represents an un-beaten-path, budget-friendly option. But the facts speak for themselves. Fares in Europe are rising faster than domestic tickets, and fewer travelers are visiting the continent. The dollar was strong, and the U.S. lowered its test requirement for incoming travelers, making it difficult to leave the country.

All of this combined to make Europe a great choice for travelers in an upside down year. It may be cheaper to ride the train in Zurich than to rent a car in Cleveland.

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This article was provided to The Associated Press by personal finance website NerdWallet. Sam Kemmis is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: skemmis@nerdwallet.com.

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NerdWallet: How to account for inflation in your 2022 travel budget https://bit.ly/nerdwallet-travel-inflation-how-it-will-affect-your-2022