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Dollar's drop falls both ways

Euros and dollars

TEXT OF STORY

TESS VIGELAND: Here's one side effect of the Fed's interest rate cut: The U.S. dollar hit new lows against the euro this week. And the for the first time in 30 years, the Canadian dollar is equal to the greenback. That means vacations north of the border aren't the bargains they once were. And trips across the pond could get even crazier-expensive than they already were. We asked Alisa Roth if she might be able to find some folks who are feeling the currency pinch right now.


Alisa Roth: My parents -- the lucky dogs -- happen to be at a conference in Amsterdam this week. So I called my dad and asked him what's up:

DAD: What's up is the Euro!

He's not kidding. Everything they buy there, from hotel rooms to coffee and presents for their kids is crazy expensive. My dad says he knew it would be bad even before they took off.

DAD: We got on the plane from New York to Amsterdam and the Dutch people returning home from a weekend or week in New York had suitcases that were overflowing.

They're staying in the cheapest hotel they could find. And that's still costing more than $300 a night. The hotel is part of my dad's idea for dealing with how expensive everything is.

DAD: The breakfast is included so we sit down and have a long, slow breakfast. And you hardly eat any lunch.

But he has another strategy, too:

DAD: I just basically make believe that the prices are in dollars. Because if I convert it into dollars, I wouldn't buy anything and I wouldn't do anything. So I'm only here for a week and it would be a miserable time if I did otherwise.

As for my mom? The $5 coffee was sort of a shock.

But the falling dollar has been good news to some people. (They just don't happen to be in my family.)

Trevor Swanson manages a shoe store in Thief Falls, Minnesota. About 75 miles from the Canadian border. He says he's been seeing a lot more Canadians in his store lately.

Trevor Swanson: They don't really say a whole lot about the exchange. But you can tell just by how many more people are coming in compared to what it was.

Canadians are still only about 5 percent of his store's business. But he says every bit counts. In fact, he says, if the loonie keeps holding its own against the dollar, he'll start advertising on their side of the border.

In New York, I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace Money.

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