If there’s a silver lining in this recession, it comes threefold: the cheaper cost of travel, the abundance of time for unemployed individuals to travel, and the value of the dollar against other currencies.
The last time I was in London (November 2003) the pound was worth $1.75. I ate a ₤9.99 value lunch at TGIF in Heathrow Airport which ended up translating into more than $20 with tax and tip for what should have been $9.99, anywhere around the world.
Today, on checking one of my favorite travel tools, XE.com, the Great Pound of Great Britain came up as… $1.64! While still not the 1:1 ratio I would like (or even more to the U.S.’s favor), and still a little trouble rationalizing spending lots of ₤’s on my niece and nephew at Hamley’s (the British equivalent of FAO Schwartz) or to restock my teas at Fortnum & Mason, it is better than spending $13 on a pint ‘o beer. XE.com uses live mid-market rates, updated every minute so it’s as accurate as you’d like it. Just hope your bank will provide you with the same or better exchange rate.