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The Dollar Diet
By Kregg P. J. Jorgenson 
Posted February 22, 2007


If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to lose more than a few pounds before summer then one fast and easy way is to exchange your dollars for British bank notes.  

 With the dollar at a wallet-thinning low against the British Pound as well as the Euro, trimming down your travel plans could be the key to feeling better about the monetary rate loss workout.

  Think of the exchange rate as a ‘no pain-no gain’ dollar diet and fitness plan and like any effective program you can begin getting into better vacation shape by exercising your travel options.

  If you are planning a trip to Great Britain or Europe then crunch the numbers against your travel itinerary and grunt and groan over some of the results as you scale down some of the fat from your proposed activities.

  How? Well, if you were planning a three week trip then why not trim it to a good looking two weeks instead?

  Why? For any number of practical reasons but one immediate benefit of knocking out the additional week is that you will save seven days of hotel costs, dining and other daily expenses, not to mention holding onto a few of those hard earned vacation days for something or some place else.

  If you like you can put ‘some’ of that immediate savings to work by up-grading your modified holiday schedule, opting for nicer hotels, better food, and shopping for that uglier and even more tacky BUT slightly more expensive impulse buying vacation souvenir!

  Hey, it’s okay to admit it because we all buy them at one time or another; the Eiffel Tower salt shakers, velvet Elvis paintings, 18th century looking Maria Antoinette music boxes that play ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy,’ baby alligators with bright Day-Glo orange greetings of ‘Welcome to Florida’ painted on their backs, or that two-in-one Bavarian Bayernwatch nutcracker and nose hair trimmer that looks like David Hasselhof and Pamela Lee Anderson in Lederhosen!

  Well, okay so maybe we don’t buy them all BUT you have to admit we all buy some of them. If it helps any you can always think of your worst souvenir bargain as your best future white elephant holiday party cheesy exchange gift. Armed with new found savings, shop away.

  As for vacation schedules, if you’re like me then you probably try to cram a little too much into your trip. Let’s face it! Most of us tend to think of vacations as travel buffets where not only do we pick and choose what we want but we try to pack our plates with everything we can in order to get the best bite for our bucks.

  At times our vacations are so busy being busy that we sometimes forget the purpose of the time off is…well, time off! The notion of ‘R&R’- those rest and relaxation stress free vacations are all too often anything but rest or relaxation, especially when we still try to see and do way too much.

  What’s too much? Again that’s a question only you can really answer. But ask yourself this: how much can you really see of any given place, let alone get a real feel or flavor of it if you’re racing to get somewhere else? You control the pace.

  So you might to consider slowing down the velocity of your vacation and opt for an extra day or two at a given city or region. Discounts are sometimes generated by longer stays plus it will allow you to take the time to smell the War of the Roses and get a whiff of why you’re on holiday. 

  It helps if you begin with a little pre-trip planning by going over your vacation schedule. Take the time to write down the list of places you really would like to visit and the things you’d like to do on your trip in the number of days you intend to be gone. Next, weigh those against your overall travel budget.

  Thanks to the internet you can use any number of good sites to get a working idea of what hotels, food, activities and airfares will cost. Tally those numbers and then evaluate that against your allocated funds to see if they balance out.

  Even with the new math if you can’t make the numbers work then go back over your travel list, knock out some days and locations, and trim the itinerary fat down to a more manageable mix.

  Keep in mind what the big-time and best travel experts tell you about not trying to see it all and returning for future visits or getting the most out of your time and money by traveling off-season and searching for flight, train or hotel discounts. Their useful tips and hints gained from years of experience traveling in Europe are like workout partners who can keep you on course.

  Buy their books, consider their advice, and then talk to your friends or relatives who have recently visited the countries or regions you’re going to and listen to their tips and hints as well. Armed with all of that information you can plan accordingly.

  As for currency exchange rates well, it’s a simple fact that currencies fluctuate. They always have and always will. The dollar goes up or down depending on a lot of complicated and sometimes dumb economic and political factors. While that may alter your vacation travel plans somewhat, you shouldn’t let it keep you from going on a trip or having a fun and interesting time if you do your proverbial pre-trip leg work.

  Repeat after me: ‘I don’t need a fat wallet to have a phat trip!’

  Actually, this part you don’t have to repeat. It’s just my attempt at a bad hip pun. Sorry, yo.

  Eh, word.


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