Stronger us dollar in europe for summer 2018 travelers – loyalty traveler electricity prices by country


U.S. travelers to Europe have good news that the U.S. Dollar is at its strongest currency exchange rate today for 2018 after the Euro drops to 1.176 USD. The rate was over $1.24 for 1 euro during my most recent Feb 2018 trip to Amsterdam. A stronger dollar today means a 5% savings for every euro spent on a trip this week compared to three months ago.

The reason I looked into the currency exchange issue are my potential plans to return to Oslo, Norway this summer. My first trip to Norway was a single overnight in Oslo in March 2013. When I went out to find dinner in Oslo, I saw a Big Mac at McDonald’s priced at $19 USD and an Oslo pub burrito priced at $30. Add another $13 for a glass of beer.

The main point with regard to currency exchange is the exchange rate in March 2013 was 1 USD = 5.79 NOK Norwegian Krone. In September 2014 I went to Norway for two weeks when the exchange rate had shifted in favor of the USD to 1.00 USD = 6.40 NOK. My dollars were worth 10% more. When I returned to Norway the next time in Sep 2015 the exchange rate was 1 USD = 8.12 NOK. Dollars were worth 40% more 30 months after my first visit in 2013.

3.30 EUR was $3.75 USD in April 2016 when I snapped this photo of the price for a Big Mac meal in Vilnius. A bargain compared to the $19 Big Mac meal in Oslo, Norway in March 2013. Disclosure: I have only eaten McDonald’s one time in Europe in past 5 years. One December cold winter night at Quality Inn Arlanda Airport offered the dining option of a McDonald’s located five minutes walk across the shopping mall parking lot or a gas station counter oven hot dog. I purposely booked the hotel for its location in a mall with a large supermarket. The market store had relocated from the mall the month before our stay. I recall our McDonald’s meal in Sweden was only about $2 or $3 more than what I figured it would likely have cost in California.

I spent nearly three months in Europe over the course of the year from January 2017 to December 2017. Throughout the year I experienced currency fluctuations, primarily in the downward trend. The US Dollar weakened in currency exchange against eight different currencies, over the course of seven trips to Denmark, Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Iceland, Bulgaria, Greece, France, United Kingdom, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Netherlands.

This meant my travel purchases for trips to Europe in 2017 were made in eight different currencies and with the exception of Iceland and Sweden, where all my transactions were electronic payments using credit cards, I also needed ATM cash withdrawals in all these countries.

Poland is one of the countries that saw its Polish zloty strengthen greatly against the US Dollar over the past two years. In December 2016 the US Dollar exchanged at 1 USD = 4.25 PLN. In Feb 2018 the exchange rate was down to 1USD = 3.33 PLN.

Euros cost 2% more in USD today than July 2017 for your travel purchases, but Euro costs are nearly 8% more compared to one year ago May 15, 2017. The big currency exchange shift between May 2017 and July 2017 shows how quickly currency values can adjust.

Czech Republic is a place I find $50 per day for two people to drink and dine out is adequate. A pint of beer at 45 CZK that was $2.01 USD last summer might price around $2.06 USD this summer. Not exactly a budget buster change in trip expenses.

Iceland is the most expensive of these four countries for a US tourist. I will be in Iceland for 24 hours in October. That will likely be a $100 layover to take the bus into Reykjavik ($50rt) and buy some food in the market and maybe a beer or two. Fortunately, I was able to book a hotel with points and avoid the $150+ room rates. I checked Airbnb, as I did last year when in Reykjavik and a hotel looks better to me than the $100 local room nights.

I seem to land in Copenhagen a couple of times a year due to cheap flights to and from California. Our first trip to Copenhagen in July 2015 blew me away with high food and drink prices, however, familiarity with the city over multiple trips have shown me Copenhagen is affordable if you know where to shop for food and beer. I paid an average $2.00 per bottle of beer in the store on our first and second trips and $40 per day for grocery store food. On subsequent trips I found neighborhood markets where beer is 60 cents a bottle and daily food is about $25 USD for two. Fortunately, breakfast is provided for free at many hotels.