Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Europe for cheap...well, cheaper

Experts predicted it, and here it comes: Fixed-dollar rates.

European hotels aching for U.S. business are starting to promise rates fixed in U.S. dollars at a substantial discount over what you'd pay at today's eggregious dollar-euro exchange rate. And British Airways is offering discounts for travelers who book in its World Traveller Plus class (that's Premium Economy, with more leg-room but not all the other biz-class frills.)

A few examples:

  • The Stafford in London promises a fixed rate of $1.80 per 1 pound if you book directly with the hotel by calling 011 44 20 7493 0111. That offer is good throughout 2008.

  • Worldhotels is offering a $1 to 1 euro rate for its European hotels booked from the U.S. through June 30. That means a hotel whose rate is 150 euros will charge only $150 during this period when booked in advance from the U.S.

Travel agent Nancy McLemore at Coral Gables-based TraveLeaders is telling us she's seeing more and more dollar-fixed rates offered to travel agents. Word to the wise: If you're looking for a Europe hotel this year, you might want to call an agent first.

7 comments:

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The simple act of locking in rates before departure by prebooking certain arrangements — like day trips or even package deals that include hotel stays — will protect you from a falling dollar while on the road, says Leffel, whose new book, "Make Your Travel Dollars Worth a Fortune: The Contrarian Traveler's Guide to Getting More for Less," comes out in July. Some overseas lodging operators will guarantee rates in U.S. dollars rather than local currency. For example, 2 months ago I booked a room in one of the Prague hotels and bought tickets from New York to Prague in US dollars, and honestly speaking prices were really affordable.

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