Tuesday, March 18, 2008

News: Sticker Shock

The economic woes of the U.S. dominate the headlines, and part of that downturn is the sinking value of the U.S. dollar. While I was in Spain, the dollar plummeted literally right before my eyes versus other currencies, and the price of goods shot up for me as a result. It sucks to pay for a 5 euro meal at a fast food restaurant when in the back of your head you know it cost you 8 bucks, and it sucks even more when you start to buy expensive items and services.

But even more so than that, prices in Spain (or at least in Madrid, Barcelona, and Toledo) are just high. I'm not sure how much money the average Spaniard makes, but it'd have to be quite a bit to justify the kind of prices I was seeing. Then again, since Spain is pretty socialist, they probably don't have to pay for a lot of things we pay for over here...well, they don't have to pay directly, anyway. (TANSTAAFL)

I have seen way more American tourists visiting European cities than I have seen European tourists visiting American cities, which probably means that the demand for travel to Europe is just plain higher. It might also mean that richer countries, like the U.S. or Japan, are able to field more tourists than poorer ones. In fact, I doubt there's many places where you won't find a Japanese tourist or two.


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