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Weak Dollar = More Expensive Camino

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by BROWNCOUNTYBOB, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    The average exchange rate during our first camino was 1 euro = $1.14. Yesterday the exchange rate was 1 euro = $1.22. Let's assume a couple walks camino frances in 35 days and averages 70 euros per day (this is the actual amount Cindi and I paid in 2015 excluding plane, train and bus expenses). Comparing the current rate to the rate two years ago, this means the dollar cost has increased almost $196 simply due to the weaker exchange rate. I'm not complaining; it is still a cost effective way to gain a lifetime experience! That said, I hope the dollar strengthens before our next camino in 2019.
     
  2. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    When I got my euros before I left last year it was 1.05 e to $.
     
  3. Martin (Ozzy) Osborne

    Martin (Ozzy) Osborne Member

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    Did you guys stay at hotels? or what. My wife and I are planning on leaving from Phoenix mid May and doing the whole thing to the end of the earth. Could you give me a little more info so I can better plan our expenses. I am retired US Navy and I think we will try and do a military hop to someplace close and a hop back so we would just have the trains etc in country. I think this will add to the neat experience and being as I am off work from May to September we have the time to go our speed. Any additional info would be greatly appreciated.
     
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  4. Martin (Ozzy) Osborne

    Martin (Ozzy) Osborne Member

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    Is it better to have euros or to pay with US dollars on the Camino? Do you get a better exchange rate or do they not want to be bothered with that and only accept dollars? I remember when I was stationed in Spain in the Navy, we always got our Pesetas out in town or paid US money. But that was a long time ago and was probably black market. So I more than likely answered my own question. LOL
     
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  5. MichaelSG

    MichaelSG Active Member

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    On the Camino Frances, if you are staying at albergues, minding your money closely, eating one real meal a day, the majority of people would be able to do it for as little as €25 per person. Some people spend a little less than that too. I think most people who stay in albergues are closer to €35 per day per day because of the sandwiches and snacks during the day, a drink before dinner, occasional laundry services, etc. If you are staying as a couple in private rooms, cheap hotels, pensions, etc., I'd count on about €45-50 per day per person.
     
  6. MichaelSG

    MichaelSG Active Member

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    You did.
     
  7. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    When I was first in Europe, 59-60, it was always best to buy the next countries type of money before you got there and to dump their money before leaving. With the euro generally in use that problem seems to have gone away.

    I bought what I thought I would need at my local US bank before leaving and worrying about getting it stolen the whole time I was there was the result. This way I knew the exchange rate and had a known additional money changer's fee to consider.

    I think I got a good rate at 1.05 per, but you have no real choice of what it is/will be. Some people use their credit cards but those have to be turned into cash before use as only banks will accept them. I don't know what the bank fees would be.

    Note that if you leave Europe with paper money that it can be turned into dollars in the US, but coins can not.
     
  8. Martin (Ozzy) Osborne

    Martin (Ozzy) Osborne Member

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    Thank you. That helps my planning a lot. I believe we are going to try and stay in the municipal's and get the whole experience and enjoy the comradery of the pilgrim's but do not want to be overly concerned about expenses to draw away from the experience.
     
  9. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Ozzy, for our first camino in 2015, we mostly stayed in municipal and private albergues in rooms with some or many bunkbeds. We had a pilgrims meal for dinner every night, trail snacks, and our fair share of beer and wine. We averaged 35 euros per person, per day. We splurged a few times, staying in three paradors. For our recent camino, we went upscale in terms of lodging. We only stayed in a few municipal albergues. We mostly stayed in quad rooms with my brother and his wife, or in private rooms. Our daily cost was 50 euros per person, per day.

    For both caminos, I purchased euros prior to the trip so it was easy and convenient to pay in cash. For the recent camino, I bought $500 worth of euros from Western Union and placed the charge on my visa credit card. In Spain, I watched my euro balance, and looked for ATM machines whenever my euro balance was below 100 since that was about what we spent each day. Many towns have ATMs. Be aware that few albergues or small hotels accept a credit card. The exchange rate using my debit card for ATMs was a reasonable exchange rate. Bob
     
  10. Martin (Ozzy) Osborne

    Martin (Ozzy) Osborne Member

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    Thank you very much for the info. We are so looking forward to this Camino and have presently been doing a lot of day hikes and about 8 to 10 miles a day about every 3d or 4th day. Besides taking the dog for 2 miles every now and then. Mind you our hikes are about 400 to 600 foot elevation gain. So we are in training but I leave for work around the 13th of March and then will be working 6 days a week for about a month 12 to 13 hours each day. My wife will continue walking not hiking, as we will be an hour south of Houston in Bay City Texas working at the South Texas Nuclear Plant. I say walking because everything is flat there. So all the headway I am making now I will lose. But it will make me adjust better for when we leave for Spain sometime mid May. That is if I do not get the job in Belgium. If I get that we will start our Camino from there and let them pay my way to Europe and back home. So that would be about the 4th of July then. 1 good thing is that we live in Phoenix area and are used to hiking in extreme heat to an extent. So a lot going on. Between all the help here on this Forum and U tube and books movies etc I believe we are ready for it just have to put money away for it. So BIEN CAMINO LOL
     
  11. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Martin

    You've got a lot of good advice already. I would just add to what Bob has said by saying that in a lot of shops, restaurants and accommodations in smaller towns they really prefer to take cash. We found that in smaller hotels or B&Bs, even those booked via Booking.com, they wanted payment in cash. So as Bob said you do need to keep a certain amount of cash with you.

    My best advice is that you should not underestimated the impact of walking day after day. Despite being relatively well prepared for the climb over the Pyrenees we were still struggling by the time we reached Pamplona. Try to build in a few rest days (as well as the fact that you will need them the cities of Pamplona, Burgos and Leon are worth taking time over).

    I lived and worked in Belgium for seven years. I absolutely loved it and hope you manage to get that job. It's a fantastic jumping off place for visiting all kinds of places (Amsterdam 2 hours away, Paris 3.5 hours, Frankfurt 4 hours etc). Belgium itself has many lovely places to visit like Brugges, Ghent, Bouillon and so many more. You are also right beside the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and a five hour drive will bring you to the Vosge mountains and the border with Switzerland. So the very best of luck.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
  12. Martin (Ozzy) Osborne

    Martin (Ozzy) Osborne Member

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    Thanks for the extra info for close to Belgium. The only problem is that when working I only get 1 day off. But we can go exploring after the job instead of jumping feet 1st into the Camino.
     
  13. Ginamarie

    Ginamarie Active Member

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    Yes best to have euros.
     
  14. Dennis White

    Dennis White Member

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    I have a travel debit card that allows loading up t 10 different currencies. I transfer money (aud) to the preferred currency when the rates are to my advantage and that rate is locked in at the time of loading whatever currency you choose. Have been progressively doing this for all our O/S travel and in preparation for our June 18 Camino from Leon. Currencies left over can be transferred back into your bank a/c again when the rates are best suited to do so. Much better than leaving it to the last minute. I find using this at least gives you some control over the unpredictability of the money markets.
     
  15. Gerry Vandermaat

    Gerry Vandermaat Donating Member Donating Member

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    It's getting better from an Australian perspective.
     
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  16. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Collect moments, not things Donating Member

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    I probably did the wrong thing at the wrong time....ha. I was just anxious to get some euros in my new silk money belt. Sheesh, I got 500 euros and paid $664. Oh well....my first Camino. I probably should have watched the exchange rate for a while. :C
     
  17. Dennis White

    Dennis White Member

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    No right or wrong. You do what you think is best at the time and if you come across a better alternative go with it. Lucky dealing with 1st world issues hey!
     
  18. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    I set up a new checking account and had just a debit card tied to that account. That limited financial exposure to the amount of money I had in the account. I bought euros at the airport in Madrid. The list from the Pilgrims office in St. John PdP of places to stay in all of the towns also includes a column to indicate whether or not a cash machine is in town. That made it convenient to carry a limited amount of cash, and obtain more as necessary along the way. It may not be the cheapest way to go, but I considered it safer. I did use a credit card in the Farmacia a couple of times and in a couple of hotels that we stayed in. That was it. Our total trip was 49 days including travel to and from Spain and spent about $2000 out of that checking account, roughly 40 euros per day. We did not make any effort to travel as cheaply as possible.
     
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  19. BenL

    BenL The Burghers of Calais

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    For American hikers/pilgrims, Mnuchin's statement today (Jan 24) at Davos confirmed the USD weakening. If you buy Euro currency notes, you will pay a premium over the spot rates that are quoted/found on web sites. This is for the bank's/exchange's costs and margins to procure/store said currency notes. I bought some earlier as I prefer to have one less thing to prepare for prior to travel. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/24/mnu...ts-turns-dollar-decline-into-one-way-bet.html
     
  20. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    The exchange rate for currency is a fact of life we all have to deal with, unless you are from the European Union. Just keep in mind that the exchange rate of the personal experience of doing the Camino is priceless!
     
  21. fraluchi

    fraluchi 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015

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    One currency strengthens, and another weakens: difficult to predict these days. Buying €€€ in a non-€ country is different from exchanging (selling) foreign currency in a € country. When using a foreign debit or credit card in a Spanish bank's ATM, you are buying local currency at the exchange rate of the day, plus probable commission.
    Try not to exchange currencies at airports and check rates at (upscale) hotels. Also note that a limited number of banks (in Spain) exchange $$$cash into €€€.
     
  22. Martin (Ozzy) Osborne

    Martin (Ozzy) Osborne Member

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    Perhaps it will bounce back up by mid May. I hope. But like Bryan said (don't let it take away from doing or experiencing the Camino.)
     
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  23. BenL

    BenL The Burghers of Calais

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    Everyone that is planning to do the Camino is looking forward to it, irregardless of exchange rate. I doubt people will back out of their Camino plans because the exchange rates goes against them. They may have to adjust their plans vis a vis budget.

    If one can optimize one's budget/expenses, be it cheaper flights, hotel deals, etc, it smooth-ens the journey. That's what this thread was originally aimed at. Peace.
     
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  24. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    For both caminos, we learned that the exchange rate (and fee) using a debit card was reasonable and a much better rate than exchanging dollars for euros at a bank, airport, etc. Bob
     
  25. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Bob,
    How true about the weaker $US compared to a year ago. Last year on the Portugués we had such great buying power with the strong dollar. By my calculations, it will be a full 10% more expensive this spring when we walk the Inglés. Still, as you point out in your original post, the cost, I believe, is justified because this really is a unique lifetime experience. Fortunately, if one has the time to plan appropriately, the Camino experience can still be realized on a pretty frugal budget compared to the cost of most other trips or vacations. I think we’re both in agreement that the rewards far outweigh the costs. Buen Camino!
     
  26. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    The Euro closed yesterday at $1.25 so the trend of the weakening dollar continues. Bob
     
  27. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Nice to see that the dollar has rebounded and has a better exchange rate against the euro. Friday, the x-rate was 1 euro = $1.1963. The practical impact is the following. Assume you follow Brierley's guide of 35 days for camino frances. You splurge a bit spending 40 euros per day. The stronger dollar at current rate compared to the recent low of 1.25 means that over 35 days, the camino will cost $75 less or more than $2 / day. Hope this trend continues ! Bob
     
  28. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    The dollar continues to get stronger compared to the euro. Xrate is now 1 euro $1.177. Bob
     
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  29. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Good news. The exchange rate for a euro is currently $1.138 which means if you buy euros with a US debit card to pay for your albergue, food and beverage, you are paying less than the higher rate earlier this year. Hope this continues into next year. Bob
     
  30. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Comments in today's WSJ: "The dollar jumped to its highest level in a year-and-a-half on Monday, propelled by expectations for higher U.S. interest rates and concerns about an uncertain political landscape in Europe. ... the euro fell 1% to $1.1220, its lowest since June 2017".
     
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