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Americans cash in on strong dollar in Europe: "Now is the best time to come"

·2 min read

Drivers nationwide may have noticed: average gas prices are dropping after hitting a record of $5.02 in June. Six weeks later, the average is $4.36 for a gallon of regular gas, according to AAA.

That's still very high, of course, but the price drop is not the only thing helping travelers. Americans traveling to Europe this summer are also benefiting from a weakened euro and British pound.

The U.S. dollar is now the strongest it's been against the euro for two decades — now $1 just about equals 1 euro.

"Now is the best time to come to Europe," said Emma Haslett, a business journalist at the U.K.'s New Statesman.

"It's just cheaper to buy stuff over here," she told CBS News foreign correspondent Ramy Inocencio. "So if you're going to come to the U.K., you can visit our amazing restaurants… and we have a hospitality sector that was absolutely destroyed by the pandemic. So they are desperate to welcome you in."

Over the past year, the dollar is about 15% stronger than the British pound and the euro. In Paris, that means your morning croissant and espresso for 3.50 euro would cost you $3.50. Last year, you would have paid a buck more.

In Rome, your double scoop gelato for 5 euro will run you five bucks. Last year, it would have cost $6.50. And in London's West End, a ticket to "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" costs an average of 85 pounds. That was $110 a year ago — and about $100 today.

To be sure, you have to get to Europe first, and airfares are soaring because of higher fuel costs.

Prices between New York and Paris, for example, have tripled since March 2019. And average hotel prices in Europe are up 44% in the past year.

But if you can't get away just yet, you have time.

"Some people are saying it's going to hold fairly steady, but there's others that are saying that it's really going to drop," Haslett said.

That means you still have time to plan your summer trip and buy your plane tickets — if you can get over those higher prices.