NEW YORK (MainStreet) — A stronger U.S. dollar against foreign currencies is making it easier and less expensive for Americans traveling abroad of late (especially in Europe), with economists expecting that trend to continue this summer.
Take the dollar versus the euro, where Americans wandering around Europe are getting 22.39% more euros per dollar this year relative to 2014, thanks to the dollar's recent strength, according to CardHub's most recent Currency Exchange Study.
That currency gap can make a big difference on your summer trip to Paris or Brussels. CardHub notes that saving 15% on a weeklong European vacation, which runs the average family of four around $4,000, will equate to an extra $600 in your pocket. "That's the equivalent of staying an extra night, or perhaps even opting to fly first class," the report says.
Even with the favorable rates, where you convert currencies can make or break savings overseas. For example, CardHub reports that while the overall cost of converting currency at a national bank has decreased 13% on average from last year, and currency services provider Travelex has also seen an 11% price drop, credit unions are now charging 10% more than in 2014.
While currency exchange options (and rates) are all over the map, there are savings out there once you look.
One of the best ways to save on currency exchanges is via a no-foreign-transaction-fee credit (Visa and MasterCard offer them to U.S. consumers). As the average bank fee for converting the dollar to foreign currencies stands at 5.88% (and 9.05% at Travelex locations), paying for goods and services on a no-fee credit card is a good deal for overseas travelers.