It may be time for U.S. tourists to pack their bags for destinations abroad—and they have the dollar to thank.
On Friday, the U.S. Dollar Index hit its highest level since March 2009. The greenback's strength against other major currencies has presented opportunities for American travelers to jet off to more exotic places. The dollar's bull run, especially against European and Asian currencies, has made buying goods and leisure travel more affordable in those countries.
As a turbulent year draws to a close, the might dollar is holding the top. With other currencies battered by sluggish growth and volatile oil prices, analysts at Goldman Sachs this past week predicted the greenback's surge would extend through 2018.
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To be certain, the dollar's strength is problematic for places like the euro zone and Japan. A swooning currency can stir inflationary pressure at a time when Europe is trying to re-inflate its economy with a flood of cheap money. Currency weakness also makes it tougher to repay dollar-denominated debt. In addition, U.S.-based multinational companies take a hit when translating their earnings from foreign currencies back into dollars.
Still, the bright side of the global turmoil is that for Americans at least, it makes traveling abroad more affordable. Because of this, it's an opportune time to wine, dine and shop in locations such as Tokyo, Paris and Beijing.