The exchange rate stings, but some stuff is still actually cheaper abroad


The exchange rate with the pound is slowly turning back, against our favor. It's still nowhere near the scalding $2-per-pound rate that kept us out of London in droves last year, but it still hurts to pay $1.65 to get a single pound.

As someone who often spends chunks of time abroad, I've learned that even though the exchange rate hurts, there are in fact some things that are cheaper abroad, even with bad rates. I wrote about the phenomenon for our sister site in the United Kingdom (did you know there was one?) in May. Because so many Americans are about to jet off on their summer vacations in Europe -- Visit Britain, the official tourism office of the U.K., says nearly 3 million of us head over each year -- I thought I'd re-export my British import and serve my findings up here, where Americans can use them.

I love buying homewares when I'm abroad. I keep important papers in box files that I can only find inexpensively at Ryman in Britain, and friends rave about the ornate stationery I bought them in Florence. I don't need more knick-knacks and souvenirs that take up space, but when I sleep on sheets I bought abroad, I re-live my travels again. I consider them to be enhanced souvenirs.

Stuff like this is cheaper in London than at home: