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Time for a Roman holiday?

Marketplace Staff May 20, 2010

Time for a Roman holiday?

Marketplace Staff May 20, 2010


Tess Vigeland: So, about that Greek vacation you’ve been putting off for years. We just heard from Mr. Kierkegaard that it might be a good time to make that happen. But just cause you’d get way more bang for your buck, doesn’t mean you can throw caution to the wind.

For some more advice on how to use the euro’s devaluation to your advantage, we turned to David Lytle of Frommers.com. And he offered us some tips on how to make the most out of an opportune moment..

David Lytle: Thank you. How are you?

Vigeland: I’m very well, and I’m thinking, maybe, it might be a good time to go to Europe.

Lytle: Well, you know, it’s looking like it might be with the euro in transition against the dollar, it’s looking like a better place for Americans to go to spend their money and get a little more. Of course, there are some conditions that people need to think about. They have to take into consideration that air fares are more than they were last year, at the same period. You know, they’ve reduced capacity, fuel prices have gone up again, so air fare is higher. And we have this additional problem of, can you or can you not fly, because of the ash plume coming from the Icelandic volcano.

Vigeland: Now, of course, with the euro — as with any currency — there is no guarantee that when you book now, it’s going to stay the way it is. The caution here is that if you are planning travel based on the currency of your destination, aren’t you basically speculating in currency?

Lytle: Slightly. You know, there’s something that we publish once a month, called “Our Global Price Index.” And we look at 10 to 12 destinations around the world and compare it against the dollar, which is our primary audience for our readership on-line, just to let them sort of see where the dollar is doing stronger against others. And people do base their decision upon where they’re going to get more buying power.

Vigeland: Well, actually, I was just going to ask you that, is there a place that you would suggest going right now? I mean, I don’t know, I’ve seen a lot of buildings set on fire in Greece. Would I want to go there?

Lytle: You know, something that is happening at a very particular location in Athens, is not happening across all the islands of Greece.

Vigeland: Ah yes, Santorini is still beautiful, I would assume.

Lytle: Exactly. Rhodes is still beautiful, and unfortunately, what they’re starting to see in the double digits, cancellation for hotels. So now they’re starting to reduce their prices, trying to get travelers to come to them.

Vigeland: We’ve been talking about what the euro’s decline means for Americans traveling abroad, but I wonder about the reverse. Does this mean, also, I would assume that Europeans perhaps won’t be flocking to, say, New York City in the numbers that they have been?

Lytle: Here, where I live, again, in San Francisco, just in the past two years as our economy went bust, I saw a great increase in the number of European travelers. And I might say very happy European travelers, who are walking through the Union Square area, where we have a lot of our high-end shopping with arm loads of bags. Just buying up luxury goods, because their currency was going so much farther. Now, I think we might see a slight inverse, if we can get Americans to Europe, you’re going to see some Americans who have managed their money well and some to spend, maybe buying some jewelry, maybe buying some nicer pieces that they can bring back as souvenirs.

Vigeland: David Lytle is editorial director at Frommers.com. Thanks so much.

Lytle: Thank you.

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