Many of our clients, old and new, have expressed concern over the recent dramatic rise in the US dollar vs. their respective local currency. We share this concern and wanted to describe briefly our own relationship with the US dollar.
Our bike tours now cross almost 60 countries on 6 continents. As our reach has expanded we’ve gained first hand knowledge of how pervasive the use of the American dollar is in the world. Even in countries with US led sanctions, such as Sudan, Russia and Iran, the currency most desired and often the currency prices are quoted in, at least for foreigners, is the almighty US dollar. At least one of the countries we travel through, Ecuador, has officially adopted the US dollar as their national currency.
In the last half year, the US dollar has increased dramatically in value against most other currencies. Though we are a Canadian based company, many of the costs we incur are in US dollars. This is the main reason why we price our tours in US dollars, to protect ourselves against international currency fluctuations as best we can. Unfortunately, the recent spike in the value of the US dollar has made our trips more expensive for residents of Europe, Australia, New Zealand and our own country, Canada, as well as many others.
However, before becoming too despondent, it’s important to remember a few facts about the cost of participating in one of our trips. All of your pre-tour costs, such as a bike, camp gear, flights, travel insurance etc., can be purchased in your own local currency. As well, the vast majority of your costs, once on a trip, will be priced in the local currency of the country you are travelling through. So while the entry fee in your own currency may be more expensive than it was 6 months ago, it is the only factor that has increased in terms of your costs. Of course, for Americans there has been no increase at all, and in fact for our trans-European Orient Express tour, there has never been a more affordable time to participate.
Currency markets are hardly stable these days, and it is quite likely that the US dollar will lose some strength, however even the big name macro-economists really don’t have a clue, as the massive devaluation of oil has shown these last months.
In the meantime we suggest, as we ourselves will be doing, that you get on your bike, point it away from the nearest bank/financial institution/media source, and ride until you just don’t care about anything but the road in front of you!