Want a great exchange rate in Europe? Go now.

For years, there's been a premium on visits to Eurozone countries. The exchange rate has made everything—from accommodations to a simple cup of coffee—more expensive for American travelers.

But the euro has fallen to 1.20 against the dollar, the lowest since mid-2010. The New York Times has the nitty gritty (including predictions about stimulus plans by the European Central Bank), but for most travelers, the important part is this: Right now, converted U.S. dollars will get you more for less in Europe.

In addition to the favorable exchange rate, winter is the time to go to Europe for cheaper airfare and hotel stays. In fact, you could easily spend half of what you'd expect to pay in summer by braving the cold temperatures. Whether or not this is a smart strategy depends on your travel style. If, when you imagine yourself in Europe, you conjure up images of strolling through museums, cozying up in restaurants, or hitting the slopes, then you can't go wrong. But if city strolls, park-bench picnics, and country rambles are key factors in your European vacation, then you're better off waiting until spring, great exchange rate or no.

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This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title The Surprising Place Where U.S. Dollars Go Further This Year.  Follow Christine Sarkis on Google+ or email her at editor@smartertravel.com.

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