As the cost of everything from gasoline to airfare surges, it might not seem like an ideal time to travel, but for those who have been itching to get their passport stamped for a European getaway, the time to book might be now. For the first time in two decades, the U.S. dollar and euro are worth nearly the same amount. 
So what does this actually mean for American travelers? Right now, purchases made with the euro are about 15 percent cheaper than they were a year ago. At this time last year, the exchange rate equaled €1.19 to $1. Today it is €1.01 to $1. 
While there are 27 European Union nations, only 19 of them use the euro as their national currency: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. 
Christopher Vecchio, head of commercial integration and senior strategist at DailyFX, called the drop in value of the euro a generational occurrence.
"If you like to import French wine or Italian cheese, things haven't been this good in a generation," he told Cheddar. "When you actually land over in continental Europe, the cost of goods and services hasn't been this cheap in over 20 years. I think the nicest part is that you don't really need to worry about that conversion rate anymore when you're trying to buy dinner or any sort of trinkets while you're traveling across the continent."
Vecchio noted that the European travel advantages are limited to the American consumer, however, as the euro still dominates over much of the world's currencies. Meanwhile, companies with significant business ties to countries using the euro are taking a blow.
Traveling to Europe doesn't come without other concerns, though. A sharp rise in COVID-19 infections stemming from highly-transmissible Omicron subvariants is cause for pause. European health agencies are even advising senior citizens to receive second booster shots. 
Then, there's the cost of a plane ticket. A surge of travelers and soaring airfare continue to be a thorn in the side of not only consumers but major airlines as well.
Delta Airlines reported a less than perfect quarter as earnings came in far under expectations. The report released Wednesday said the company raked in $735 million in the second quarter of 2022 but expected to clear $1 billion during the period. Still, it's Delta's highest earnings report since the onset of the pandemic, and it is being attributed to consumer willingness to pay for higher ticket costs. 

Domestic Travel vs International Travel

With money in mind, Americans have decisions to make when it comes to summer travel. Vecchio noted that while the cost of goods and services in certain European countries has dipped, a European getaway still might not be as affordable as traveling within the U.S.
"The fact of the matter is that you probably need to see at least another, dare I say, 5 or 10 percent dollar appreciation versus the euro before that becomes a serious consideration where it's cheaper to travel abroad than it is for someone from New York to visit California or even Florida," he told Cheddar.
He also said he wasn't very confident in the American consumer taking advantage of the dollar-euro parity, particularly because inflation has driven up the cost of goods and services at home. 
"Will Europe see an increase in foreign travelers as a result of the shift in the exchange rate? I would say no. Even though it's a great time theoretically from the euro/dollar exchange rate perspective, the fact that inflation is so high here in the United States is giving Americans a good reason to pause any significant spending plans moving forward," Vecchio said.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, the travel price index jumped 2.4 percent from April to May. Airfare and motor fuel prices jumped 12.6 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, during the same period. 
If you do opt to take that long-awaited trip overseas, there are a few things you should consider to be cost-conscious. Use a credit card without foreign transaction fees, bring a backup credit card, and book in advance. While Vecchio said he believes there is potential for the euro to drop even more in value compared to the U.S. dollar, it isn't certain.
"The [European Central Bank] has a much more difficult task ahead of it than the Fed does, where they need to somehow simultaneously raise interest rates to combat inflation while also preventing fragmentation of the bond market," Vecchio said. "I do think that further losses here are possible."