Until very recently, a summertime vacation in Europe required big bucks. For years, a peak season flight across the Atlantic Ocean could be considered “cheap” if it wasn’t much over $1,000. Exchange rates made Americans feel extra poor once they landed; a decade ago, each $1 was worth a measly 63 euro cents.
All that has changed, however—and just in time for the 2017 summer season. The U.S. dollar has strengthened significantly against both the euro and pound; $1 is now worth 94 euro cents, and the cost of a week for two in Paris is now $3,523, down more than $1,000 from last year. Meanwhile, the transatlantic flight market has been utterly upended, to the point that airfare to Europe is the cheapest it’s been since the bleak post-9/11 doldrums, or perhaps ever. Recent promotional fares have been as low as $65 from Hartford, Conn., to Edinburgh or $149 from Los Angeles to Barcelona, but even everyday airfares have sunk to well within reach.
Here’s why Europe flight prices have cratered—and why, if you haven’t started making your summertime travel plans, now is the time.