The Value of Your Dollar

The Value of Your Dollar

Over the past 12 months, the euro and other European currencies have weakened against the dollar, making Europe more affordable for Americans. Below, the dollar's value and the percentage it has risen (or fallen) since last year.

euro*

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 0.8435
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 11.69%

Albanian lek

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 108.25
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 7.82%

Belarusan ruble

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 2149.08
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: -0.23%

Bosnian-Herzegovinian convertible mark

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 1.64
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 12.32%

British pound

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 0.57
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 10.38%

Bulgarian lev

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 1.65
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 11.60%

Croatian kuna

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 6.17
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 6.96%

Cypriot pound

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 0.49
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 8.59%

Czech koruna

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 23.94
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 6.76%

Danish krone

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 6.29
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 11.97%

Estonian kroon

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 13.20
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 11.69%

Hungarian forint

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 213.28
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 16.54%

Icelandic krona

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 66.41
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 9.48%

Latvian lats

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 0.59
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 11.88%

Lithuanian litas

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 2.91
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 11.69%

Maltese lira

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 0.36
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 11.18%

Moldovan leu

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 13.06
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 3.98%

Norwegian krone

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 6.79
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 9.23%


Polish zloty

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 3.18
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 8.26%

Romanian leu

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 2.96
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 3.63%

Russian ruble

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 28.13
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 1.64%

Serbian dinar

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 74.23
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 21.41%

Slovakian koruna

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 31.48
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 9.97%

Slovenian tolar

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 202.29
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 10.50%

Swedish krona

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 7.97
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 16.41%

Swiss franc

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 1.32
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 13.61%

Turkish lira

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 1.32
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: 2.75%

Ukrainian hryvnia

Conversion Rate Against $1 (as of 2/28/06): 5.06
Change in Dollar's Value versus one year earlier: -7.88%

*Euro countries are: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. (Andorra, Kosovo, and Montenegro use the euro unofficially.) Slovenia, Estonia, and Lithuania have applied for euro status for 2007.


Though American travelers are exempt from paying the Value-Added Tax (VAT) that is built into merchandise prices in Europe, few apply for a refund. But they should, since the tax can add anywhere from 7.6 percent (in Switzerland) to 20 percent or more (in Austria, Belgium, Finland, and Italy) to the bill. Reclaiming VAT is straightforward, especially if you shop at stores that are partners with Global Refund—one of the largest VAT refund companies (look for a tax free shopping sign).

Instant Refunds

Present your passport and the store will give you a tax-free shopping check that you must get stamped by customs at the airport. Most airports have a VAT refund service desk where you can then redeem your check (for Global Refund locations, see www.globalrefund.com). If you are making purchases that need to be shipped home, try asking the store to deduct the VAT on the spot.

Refunds by Mail

If your departure airport doesn't have a refund desk, send your form via snail mail. Because the wait can be up to a few weeks, speed things up by requesting that the funds be deposited in your credit-card account. (The cost of cashing a foreign-currency check could diminish your savings.) — A. B.

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