Tripologist: Euro shifts the million-dollar question

I'm interested in travelling to either Greece, Portugal or Spain some time early next year. Is it reasonable to expect that because each of these countries is experiencing significant fiscal issues — ones that appear long-term — my travel and accommodation will be more affordable and attractive? In short, is there any advantage to getting in early?

- H. Rieck, Bendigo.

If you travel to southern Europe early next year, you can take advantage of off-season rates but should you book ahead to take advantage of Europe's financial woes? Probably not.

These destinations attract millions of visitors each year from cooler parts of Europe. Unless there's a European meltdown that causes northerners to stay home, accommodation and tour prices aren't going to fall. On the other hand, the three countries in your sights are all within the eurozone and the Australian dollar is riding high against the euro now.

If you think the dollar is going to decline, you could book and pay now. If, however, Europe's problems linger and the dollar continues to muscle up against the euro, you would lose by locking yourself in. If it were my call, I would wait.

If you have travel questions, we'd love to hear from you. Write to travelshd@fairfaxmedia.com.au. Personal correspondence cannot be entered into. Only questions appearing in print will be answered. One published letter each week will win a Lonely Planet guidebook.

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