A strong U.S. dollar and low flight prices are making travel to many countries more affordable, new research shows
Indeed, a recent analysis released by travel app Hopper found that a combination of a strong dollar (driven by a strong U.S. economy) and low international airfares (some are down 6%-20% from last summer, depending on the destination) may make this the time to travel for deal hunters. That all means this: “Travelers can stretch their travel budgets further while on vacation,” the report revealed.
So where should you go this summer? Flight prices to Spain, Luxembourg and Portugal are down about 21% compared to 2018, Hopper reveals. Other spots with significant drops in airfare include France and Malta, the report found.
“One factor affecting many markets in Europe is the expansion of low-cost carriers serving transatlantic routes between the U.S. and Europe. In many cases they are creating lower fares and more price competition,” explains Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir.com.
Hopper’s economist Hayley Berg tells MarketWatch that airlines like Norwegian NWARF, -0.95% , WOW (prior to their bankruptcy), Turkish Air TKHVY, +2.66% IcelandAir ICEAIR, -2.73% and JetBlue JBLU, +1.69% all entered international routes and drove down prices. Sometimes the effect was dramatic, as in the case of JetBlue: “When it launched flights from Fort Lauderdale and JFK to Trinidad and Tobago, prices dropped on the route up to 26%,” she says, citing Hopper’s data.
Furthermore, adds Klee: “Many of the lowest airfares to European destinations require one connection, but that connection can save you $200+ per ticket.”
Another factor that may make travel relatively more affordable this year: The strength of the dollar. One place where that’s particularly true is Argentina, notes Hopper. “The best value this year is Argentina, where the dollar buys 80% more Argentinian pesos than in summer 2018. Flight prices are also down almost 11% compared to last year.” The fall of the peso, Hopper’s economist Hayley Berg tells MarketWatch, is partially due to the fact that Argentina has been struggling through a recession over the past couple of years.
Other good-value spots where the dollar is very strong relative to the local currency: Uruguay, Australia, Sweden and Norway, “where the dollar buys 8%-15% more of the local currency than last summer,” the report reveals. (It’s important to note, though, that Sweden and Norway, in particular, are still quite expensive for U.S. travelers, though they are more affordable than in past years.)