Travel to Canada has become expensive again.
Canada's dollar, nicknamed the loonie for the image of the aquatic bird on the $1 coin, is inching toward parity with the U.S. dollar for the first time in more than two years.
One Canadian dollar bought 99.06 U.S. cents Wednesday, hitting its strongest level since July 2008, then backed off slightly Thursday to 98.78.
For travelers, this means that a hotel room priced at $100 a night Canadian now costs $98.78 U.S. compared to $78.70 a year ago at this time when the Canadian dollar was weaker.
Paying Canadian purchases in U.S. dollars might be the smartest financial move if retailers are willing to take dollars at par value.
Using a credit card, withdrawing cash in Canadian dollars from ATMs, or buying Canadian dollars here all result in foreign currency transaction fees which further add to the pain.
The exceptions are credit cards issued by Capital One (www.capitalone.com) and Charles Schwab (www.schwab.com) which carry no foreign transaction fees.
Canada's dollar rose to par with the greenback in September 2007 for the first time in three decades. It was last at parity on July 22, 2008, and then lost 18 percent that year, according to data tracked by Bloomberg News.