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Weak Dollar = More Expensive Camino

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

  1. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    Essentially, for every penny the Euro goes down in value (or the US dollar goes up in value) you save $10 per 1,000 Euros that you spend. If I remember correctly, when we started our Camino about the beginning of September 2017, the Euro was somewhere about $1.19. I believe that I spent somewhere in the range of 1,500 Euros while on the Camino, not counting the plane ticket. So at this value I would have saved about $102. I figure that my total Camino, including absolutely everything (gear, shoes, clothing, plane ticket, accommodations, travel insurance, etc.) cost me about $4,100 for 49 days total trip for the French Way and to Finnesterre (including flights). A difference of $102 would not have changed my decision in any way, shape, or form. I want to go again! It would be cheaper since I already have much of the gear (I do need new shoes though).
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
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  2. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Bryon - From a timing perspective, I was lucky enough to walk the CF in the spring of 2016 when the $US was very strong against many of the world currencies including the Euro. Buying Euros at around $1.08-1.10 made a huge difference in the cost of my Camino while in Spain. But, as you correctly point out, there are other costs less affected by the strength of the dollar such as the initial outlay for equipment and airfares. Although my daily Camino expenses were a bit less than yours, on the average I walked for about €30/day, it still amounted to about €1000 for my time there. 2016 was also a year when airfares out of North America were a bit more reasonable than I’m finding them to be at the moment. I would suggest to anyone using the dollar to watch the currency markets and buy Euros even well before their Camino if the exchange rate of $/€ is strong. As a AAA member, I regularly purchase Euros and Pesos from them since there is no commission. In the case of the $US again weakening, I’m already set with the currency I need to at least give me some better buying power while traveling. And, as you so rightly point out, other than maybe new shoes from time to time, rest of my equipment is all set for the next adventure. Buen Camino!
     
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  3. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    Wily - We started out on a cheaper budget but after staying at a couple of places my sister did not find appealing, she took over the role of finding places to stay and setting up reservations. Needless to say, the cost went up a bit as the quality improved. We actually stayed in hotels for 6 nights. But it was all fine.
     
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  4. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Yes indeed Bryan, it IS all fine! As has been said so many times on the Forum, we each walk our own Camino. There’s so many “ways” to do this. What’s most important is that each pilgrim finds out what works best for them. I have to say that my wife is a bit more like your sister. Places where I might be comfortable staying aren’t necessary as good for her. As she and I have now walked two Camino together, we’ve been able to find a nice mix of albergues and small hostels/hotels to give us the comfort level for a great Camino together. Buen Camino!
     
  5. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Wily, I am a member of AAA and wasn't aware that you can purchase a foreign currency from them. I just checked today's exchange rate. The official internet on line currency rate is 1 euro = $1.132 , however you cannot trade at that rate. The current rate from AAA is 1.2268, so $1,000 will purchase 815.1 euros. During our camino last year, I purchased eurros from Wells Fargo. I checked out their exchange rate this morning and it was $1.1877 so $1,000 will purchase 841.96 so is a better rate than AAA. Last year I purchased 500 or so euros from Wells Fargo. I made the purchase on my credit card, then they sent the currency to my home via UPS or FedEx. I'll research rates until next spring, then decide how many euros to purchase before our trip. Bob
     
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  6. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    Even if you do go the inexpensive route, it is quite a nice thing to occasionally step up in quality just to remember what privacy is like and to get a full night of peaceful sleep. :) And according to my sister, some nights the peaceful sleep was had by others. :rolleyes:
     
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  7. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    That is about an 8% fee charged by AAA. It seems pretty high to me. I set up a separate bank account with a limited amount of cash, and simply had cash card with a pin number. I would withdraw cash periodically as I needed it and my financial exposure was very limited if I lost the card or had it stolen. I purchased my first 400 Euros in the Madrid Airport and they charged me a 5% fee. I know that I got a lower rate than that when I got away from the airport.
     
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  8. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Wells Fargo added a fee to me. I have forgotten how much it was, but the Bank of America had the same fee.
     
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  9. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Bob - I haven’t checked AAA in awhile but, I completely agree with you that the 1.2268 seems very high in comparison with 1.132 and the Wells Fargo rate. It’s altogether possible that AAA is no longer offering the better currency rates that I once reveived from them. It’s well worth keeping an eye on as you suggest. It was so convenient for me in the past to order my currency from them and then pick it up there a couple days later. But, with that kind of exchange rate difference, I’ll certainly look elsewhere for Euros, pesos, or other currencies when it’s time to travel. Thanks for checking out the rates. Buen Camino!
     
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  10. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Collect moments, not things Donating Member

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    Bryan, it is funny.....after weeks of several meek albergue's, I came across one that seemed very luxurious. All excited we all chanted..."Hey, you guys we each have our own shelf, with our own light and charging station!!" It seemed like such a treat! When I returned from Fisterra, I got back late into Santiago. All of the Albergue's were full, and even most of the hotels. I thought that I would have to sleep on a park bench. I thought that I would try ONE more hotel. I arrived at the San Francisco, just a block from the square. They gave me such a deal. It was like a castle inside. I felt like a princess! ha.....I felt a bit out of my element, but after swimming a dozen laps in their beautiful pool (by myself), wonderful luxurious hot shower, dining, and sprawling out on the perfect linens.....it was a grand finale to my Camino! :D
     
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  11. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    It is interesting how the Camino changes your perception of things in life. You learn to appreciate even simple things at times. We found a place to stay at the very first albergue coming into Bercianos del Real Camino. They did an excellent plan putting that place together, and each bunkbed had three solid walls. There was a curtain that would completely cover the fourth side so you had a bit of privacy (except for sound). Each bunk had a lamp at the head of the bed, an outlet, and a shelf. It was wonderful, although it did get a bit warm in there with the curtain closed even in September. It really helps your attitude and appreciation for the little things.
     
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  12. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Collect moments, not things Donating Member

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    The one thing that stood out for me was, how content I was, walking for over a month with just what I could carry on my back. I LOVE SIMPLICITY!
     
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  13. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Bob - Back in town and I had a chance to stop into AAA. I was told that I could buy Euros today for $1.1933 or €838/$1000. Something more similar to your Wells Fargo rate. It’s possible that the rates improved since you checked with AAA or as they told me, currency rates differ by club. Out of curiosity, I checked on the Mexican peso as well. The best bank rate today is MEX20.24/US$1. AAA will sell me pesos for 19.07/US$ which is better than I could do at a bank in Mexico City right now. In both cases, if I’ve done my math correctly, that’s about a 5-6% exchange fee. If there are AAA club differences, it seems that it really does pay to shop around. For me AAA might still offer a good exchange rate, but that’s not necessarily the case where you live or in other regions. When you figure ATM charges/fees to get Euros while traveling, it seems that it all comes out pretty much the same. The only other caveat regarding AAA is that you have to purchase at least $200 in the currency you desire. Buen Camino!
     
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