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What the low dollar means for your summer vacation

Is the low Canadian dollar affecting international travel plans for Canadians?


Has currency killed U.S.-bound vacations this summer? My wife and are finally going to Newfoundland in August and currency is one of the reasons. By one exchange dealer's calculation at mid-week, $1,000 Canadian bought you $783.90 in U.S. dollars. There's an expectation that many other Canadians will vacation domestically this summer, but now I'm starting to wonder.

In a new poll from the Royal Bank of Canada, half of participants said the low dollar won't stop them from travelling to the United States, and just 13 per cent said they have decided to cancel plans entirely because of the low dollar. Honestly, I've hardly visited a U.S. city I didn't love. But if you're trying to vacation economically this summer, stay in Canada and avoid the cost of U.S. dollars.

Lots won't listen, so here's some supplementary advice. RBC says you get a better exchange rate if you convert a big whack of Canadian dollars at once rather than buying bits here and there. RBC also suggests a U.S.-dollar credit card, which according to the bank will allow you to avoid foreign transaction fees in the United States. If you use your regular credit card, you'll typically pay a 2.5 to 3 per cent fee when buying things in foreign currencies. Note: RBC's U.S. Dollar Visa Gold costs $65 (U.S.) per year – there are cheaper options. Also, there are a few Canadian credit cards that don't charge foreign transaction fees.

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