Tourists ride a sightseeing bus past the Basilica de San Francisco el Grande on July 7, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. The euro crisis has weakened the currency -- and strengthened Europe's appeal to American tourists.
Tourists ride a sightseeing bus past the Basilica de San Francisco el Grande on July 7, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. The euro crisis has weakened the currency -- and strengthened Europe's appeal to American tourists. - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

Jeremy Hobson: Today the ratings agency Moody's downgraded Italy's credit rating. The move immediately sent Italian borrowing costs up, and the euro currency down against the dollar. It's hovering at a two year low of a $1.22 -- which means it might be time to take that trip to Europe you've been putting off.

Marketplace's Mark Garrison reports.


Mark Garrison: Decades ago, summer in Western Europe used to be easily doable for middle-class Americans. But in recent years, the strong common currency jacked up the price, putting Paris and Rome out of reach for many.

Beth Jenkins at McCabe World Travel says her clients went elsewhere.

Beth Jenkins: Eastern Europe, South America, places where our currency is stronger.

Now, that the euro is weaker...

Jenkins: We've seen people interested in Europe because they realize that their dollar can go farther.

Exchange rates like these have Jenkins ready to take off.

Jenkins: Well it certainly makes me excited. It makes me wanna go.

It’s like a 13 percent discount from last summer. Frommers.com editorial director David Lytle says that savings can really enhance your trip.

David Lytle: You can jump to another city. You can splurge on a meal or you can buy some luxury goods.

Or upgrade from hostel to hotel. So Europe's woes may save you from sharing a bathroom with a backpacker reeking of patchouli.

I'm Mark Garrison for Marketplace.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Mark Garrison at @GarrisonMark