How does a weaker dollar affect the value of a tour?
|We can't lock-in what you'll pay for snacks, but booking your tour early can significantly insulate you from a rising euro.|
For the past few years, the U.S. dollar has been getting weaker relative to the euro. One euro now costs about $1.45, compared to $1.28 last fall. So everything an American traveler needs to pay for out-of-pocket that's priced in euros has become 15% more expensive.
The "out-of-pocket" part is the key. Let's assume the price of a euro continues to climb to $1.50 by the time you arrive in Europe. If you lock-in the price of a tour ahead of time (for example, our current 2008 tour prices are based on a $1.35 euro rate), you've just paid for the lion's share of your trip in stronger dollars than an independent traveler who lacks this option. Since your tour price covers most of your European expenses (hotels, transportation, group meals, sightseeing admissions and guide services), you'll only end up paying the higher euro rate for non-group meals, souvenirs and other personal items.
Because our 2008 tours have been priced assuming a $1.35 euro rate, you are already ahead by booking a tour now, even if the euro-dollar rate holds steady.
Aside from the currency situation, every Rick Steves tour has built-in efficiencies that help you get more value out of each day and dollar than if you choose to travel independently — or on a "mainstream" tour. Because we include so much, your out-of-pocket travel budget won't be eaten away by the daily, extra-cost "optional excursions" and tips that other companies use to keep their "sticker prices" artificially low.
Will we raise our 2008 prices if the dollar continues to drop? That's a good question. While we'd rather not, at some point we may need to raise prices — but these changes would only apply to new reservations. They would not affect any existing 2008 tour reservations, because once you pay your deposit, your 2008 tour price is locked-in and guaranteed.
See our other early booking benefits.