Travel is at a record high in Europe, with many destinations welcoming more visitors than at any other time, and the trend shows no signs of stopping any time soon. Travel experts are now advising tourists to book European hotels and flights for summer 2023 soon, or they could end up paying more AND face limited or no availability. Below, we’ll outline several reasons why you should book your travel now.
The U.S. Dollar Is Strong
As Travel Off Path recently reported, the U.S. dollar is incredibly strong right now. Historically, the exchange rates for the U.S. Dollar have been in favor of the Euro and British Pound. But now the tables have turned, and the current strength of the dollar and the weakened Euro and Pound are making travel much cheaper for American tourists.
Currently, $1.00 USD is equal to £0.84 GBP, whereas this time last year, $1.00 USD was equal to £0.75 GBP. The Euro is currently trading at $1.00 USD = €0.97 EUR and last November, $1.00 USD was equal to €0.87 EUR. This all means that the U.S. dollar goes further than it has in the past when traveling in the U.K. and Europe.
Travel To Europe Is Back In A BIG Way
Many destinations are seeing record-breaking increases in foreign tourists, with no signs of slowing down. A recent study from Allianz Partners USA shows that holiday travel this year by American tourists is drastically on the rise. When looking at departures originating in the U.S. between November 23 and January 5, travel is up from 2019 levels in 15 of the top 20 European destinations, and some cities are seeing massive growth.
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U.S.-based travel to Lisbon is up an astonishing 173% over its 2019 numbers. Most other major European cities are seeing big increases as well, Stockholm saw a 160% increase, Athens is up 154%, and travel to Copenhagen has grown 144%. These trends are likely to continue in 2023, potentially setting Europe up for a record-breaking year. Waiting too long to book hotels, flights, and activities could lead to disappointment as demand rises and capacity gets maxed out.
Book Early For The Best Deals And Availability
Travel Off Path recently reported on how and when to find the best flight deals, revealing that the cheapest flights to Europe are typically found between 4-6 months prior to departure, with 129 days prior being the sweet spot for best fares.
But given the current travel trends and global climate, travelers might want to consider looking a bit earlier this year. Waiting too long could leave many travelers priced out of their preferred destinations, especially trending cities like Lisbon and Copenhagen.
That being said, if you aren’t quite ready to book but know you plan to travel to Europe next summer, consider visiting cities that aren’t seeing such a huge increase in visitor numbers. Allianz’s survey pointed out five cities whose 2022 holiday travel numbers have not increased.
Barcelona, Munich, Brussels, Manchester, and Vienna have seen their numbers decline compared to 2019, so if you are leaving your summer planning until later, these destinations might be less likely to sell out.
So Much Uncertainty
Finally, there is an incredible amount of uncertainty in the world today, and that ultimately has an impact on travel and tourism, amongst many other things. Inflation and the cost of living are on the rise, we are still under the influence of an ongoing pandemic that keeps throwing out surprises, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to an energy crisis and an influx of Ukrainian refugees in Europe. Nothing is certain anymore.
That is why we recommend that if you see a good deal, you should book it now. But, if you don’t see a good deal, you might want to consider booking it regardless, given all that is going on right now. Prices will likely go up, and favorite routes, hotels, and attractions could soon sell out. Lock in the good deals and favorable rates while you can and before things begin to book up and you are left behind
Top Travel Tip
When booking flights this far in advance, make sure you book fully refundable airfares and accommodations. Keep an eye on the exchange rates and flight prices so that you can quickly cancel and then rebook if you can get an even better price.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com