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Weak euro lures American travelers

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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. 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.

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