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Originally published Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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How long will the dollar stay strong?

Dollar could weaken under Obama, some report, but for now, travel is on sale around much of the world.

Seattle Times travel writer

Travel's on sale throughout much of the world as the U.S. dollar gains strength, but how long will it last?

Some believe that Barak Obama's presidential victory could put an end to the gains if a Democratic government allows the dollar to drop in order to stimulate exports.

Others say a darkening world economy will continue to push down the value of currencies such as the euro and British pound.

The Royal Bank of Canada predicts the euro will hit a low of $1.23 against the dollar by year's end, down from $1.60 earlier this year, and could drop to as low as $1.15 by the end of 2010.

The dollar hit $1.30 to the euro on Wednesday. Prices in Western Europe still tend to be high. But for now at least, travelers thinking of planning trips to countries such as Canada, Brazil, Chile, Australia, Turkey and India will find everything less expensive due to 20-40 percent drops in the values of some of those currencies in the past few weeks.

"We've seen a dramatic increase in the number of travelers searching for better international deals in the past few months," said Andre Hesselink, CEO for vayama.com, an online international flight booker.

Carol Pucci: cpucci@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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