The Sunday Best (3/26/2017)

 

the sunday best

The Sunday Best is a collection of articles I’ve curated for your reading pleasure.

Expect most of the writing to be from recent weeks and consistent with the themes presented on this website: investing & taxes, financial independence, early retirement, and physician issues.

We are just getting settled after nine days in Europe (look for a post about our travels on Tuesday), so travel will remain a prominent theme, but I’ve sneaked in a few money articles, as well.

Presenting, this week’s Sunday Best:

 

Doximity has been a quality source of new readers of this site. Future Proof MD interviews Doximity’s Medical Director in Future Proof Docs – Amit Phull, MD.

 

I’ll be sharing our recent travel budget in a couple days. Millionaire blogger Michelle @ Making Sense of Cents shares her tips after life on the road in How to Travel on a Budget.

 

The Mad Fientist shared some tips of his own after two weeks gallivanting around Europe in Travel Hacking and Slow Travel.

 

I recently participated in an interview with Brian of Debt.com. Physician on FIRE Bikes to Work with the subheading “His neighbors don’t like “flashy” and he fits right in.” For the record, I admitted to biking only about half the year.

 

Remember that Proclaimers song, “I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 200 more…” Brian of Get Money, Got Money guest posted on Reach Financial Independence. What Hiking 700 Miles Taught Me About Money and Life.

 

LeverageRx

Vanguard has slipped to 3rd place in terms of lowest cost index funds, and the EM physician known as Some Random Guy Online breaks down the new low cost leaders of the three fund portfolio in Low-Cost Investing: Is There a New Sheriff in Town?

 

Back to some frugal travel tips. Who knows more about travel than a flight attendant? Miss Mazuma shares what she’s learned in Traveling on a Dime… OK, 2!

 

J.D. Roth of Money Boss shared his tale of a year in a motorhome (I wanna do that!) with many fantastic stories and pictures on his personal blog called foldedspace: My 2015 Year in Review.

 

Money Can Buy Me Happiness. That’s the name of New Zealander Emma’s blog, and Emma shared What One Year of Travel Taught Me About Life.

 

Know Your Currency Exchange Rates

 

I’m feeling a bit jet-lagged, although the flight plans to and from Europe did a good job forcing us to get back on schedule right quick.

After being pleasantly surprised by the affordability of Paris and subsequently aghast at the cost of a burger and beer in Reykjavik, I wanted to take a minute to talk about the importance of knowing the relative strength of the dollar, and how that might affect your travel plans.

I’ve been to Europe three times. The first time, in 2002, the US dollar was worth about 10% more than the Euro. The second time, in 2012, the Euro was 34% more valuable than the dollar. The pendulum has swung back towards the dollar, with the Euro being only about 8% more valuable than the dollar.

 

This is what the value of the Euro against the dollar looks like over the last 15 years.

 

In terms of the relative value of currency, this is the best time to visit Europe since 2003. Your dollar gets you at least 25% more Euros than it did just two years ago in 2015.

Iceland is part of Europe.

One might assume their currency, the Iceland Krona, has followed a similar path.

One would be wrong.

 

 

Þingvellir

Þingvellir

Compared to the relative strength of the Euro, Iceland was a pretty good deal from 2003 to 2008, and as recently as 2015, the two currencies paths intersected. In the last two years, the dollar when from buying 135 krona to 109 krona, a difference of about 25%.

So compared to 2015, you get 25% more for your US dollar in countries on the Euro, and 25% less for your dollar in Iceland. For this reason and also for weather-related reasons, I’m glad we spent the majority of our vacation in Paris.

We had a nice enough time, but I’ll be happier to visit Iceland again when the weather is better and the exchange rate is more favorable.
Have a great week!

-Physician on FIRE


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16 comments

  • Nice roundup. I’ve noticed the weakness of the euro ( strength of the dollar) for the past couple years as well. This has made traveling to Europe for us Americans cheaper than it’s been for a while. Let’s take advantage while we can!

  • It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on currency rates even after you’ve decided where to go. It’s very hard otherwise to understand how much your spending on vacation otherwise. We’ve vacationed in a EU country four times in the last two years for this very reason. It won’t last forever. Compartively my last work trip to Australia in 2010 was nightmarishly expensive. Prices were 20 percent higher then the US. That was fine in 2005 when the rate was .80 AUD on the dollar. Five years later at parity it was painful.

    • Currency fluctuations can make a huge difference.

      Right now, it’s $0.76 USD to buy an Australian dollar, and only $0.70 for a New Zealand dollar. Looking at charts, it appears 2009 would have been the most advantageous time to visit Oceania.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • Thanks for including me, PoF! I look forward to digging into these posts later on. We’re heading to Europe in a week thanks to a bargain transatlantic cruise offer. We’ll be skipping Iceland, although I’m seriously tempted as it’s just a short direct flight from my husband’s home city in Ireland – but wow, is it pricy! We’ll see. Currently in Mexico where we’re getting nearly 15 pesos to 1 New Zealand dollar. This is our 4th trip here and we usually get closer to 11 pesos per NZD so it sure feels like a bargain right now.

  • Not exactly sure when it happened, but I love that your trophy is no longer covered in snow. This is really a great time of year!

    My wife and I have four kids and we’re trying to travel hack a vacation to Hawaii. I think we’re nearly there but I could always use a few extra tips and more information to ensure that we are. This round up it’s just what the doctor ordered. Thanks!

    • Yes! I dragged the trophy along with us to Paris. Last week, he was down in the Catacombs. This was was facing the Eiffel Tower from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.

      I sort of hacked a Hawaii trip last November, but it was mainly paid for by my employer as I attended a CME meeting there. My wife’s plane ticket was purchased with credit card bonus points, though. Six round-trip flights will require some planning!

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • When I first started vacationing in Europe I was converting INR to EUR. Everything seemed nightmarishly expensive. My first holiday in Europe when I converted USD to EUR instead was a breath of fresh air.

    The other problem I have with foreign currency is that my brain does this weird thing where it treats that money like monopoly money. It just can’t seem to take foreign notes seriously, and that is a dangerous place to be. Credit/debit cards are a much safer bet for me.

    • Sometimes, it might be best to treat it as monopoly money if you want to enjoy yourself. Set up your budget ahead of time, know you’re going to spend more than you ever would at home, and don’t think about the fact that you just ordered a $22 salad.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • Thanks for the share, PoF! Much appreciated.

    I hope you enjoyed your trip. The last time I was in Europe was 2015 when we went to Spain. Not as cheap as it is today, but definitely more affordable when compared to the previous years. I’ve never been to Iceland… it’s definitely on my list of places to visit.

    • Thanks for the article, SRGO. It was quite popular with readers!

      Spain is high on our list for an extended slow travel stay someday. We’d love to have bilingual children (and be bilingual ourselves) and I can’t imagine a better place to learn the language than the place it originated.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • Thank you for including me and welcome home!! It always takes me a while to adjust from the time difference but it is well worth it when you consider the knowledge that travel brings. Looking forward to reading about your trip! 9 days in Europe sounds amazing right now. I remember going a few years back and the exchange rate was brutal…1 Euro was equal to $1.40! I haven’t been to Iceland yet but would love to see the Northern lights. So many places so little time!!

    • Thanks for the travel tips, Miss M!

      Iceland is definitely cool… a little too cool for our liking on this trip #windchill. I’ve seen northern lights in MN and MI, but we didn’t have any luck in Icelend. I hear late fall is probably the best time of year to see them.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • Great tip with checking the power of the dollar before/during travel. Iceland in general is pretty pricey (you’ll see that more on island nations), but I do think Europe is still expensive to travel, too. I’m a bit Europe’d out, but Mr. Picky Pincher has never been there, so I think we’ll travel there once we pay off our student loans. We will definitely check exchange rates. 😉

  • Great Sunday best PoF! I loved the travel tip links. We’re getting ready to take the kids on an epic vacation to Japan this year, so any and all travel savings tips are appreciated!

    Very interesting about how the Krona and the Euro have moved in opposite directions. I would not have expected that….which I suppose is a very good reason why I don’t make currency bets!

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