Afraid You Can’t Afford Europe This Year?
Afraid You Can’t Afford Europe This Year?
With the dismal reports on the rising Euro and British pound, many Americans are re-thinking their European vacation plans this year. While “Europe on $5 a Day” is indeed an ancient memory, these past few years have proved challenging for Americans looking London ts escorts to explore not only Europe’s rich treasure trove of art and history, but its contemporary and vibrant city life.
Friends returning from Europe will be quick to share tales of frightening expenses, from $40 ice creams for two in Venice to the $10 bottles of water in Greece. Every day Europeans are flocking to the U.S., almost gleefully taking advantage of the buying power of the Euro, snapping up designer bags and New York City condos alike. Does this mean that your dream European vacation is not an option this year?
Absolutely not. With careful research and planning, you can start packing for that trip to London, Estonia, Budapest, Sicily or Algarve. One way to make a European trip affordable is to consider a group tour or vacation packages. A group tour is usually an escorted tour with a host or leader with many inclusive features, from air and hotel, to meals and local tours. You can find some good deals and a key benefit is that all travel logistics are handled for you.
If you are averse to traveling en-masse -stuffy motor coach rides through European cities, anonymous fluorescent-lit rest stops and 6:00AM wake up calls -you can find other options that provide the savings that group travel offers, combined with flexibility to create your own itinerary. A number of hotel and airlines have joined forces to create vacation packages that may even include some meals and entertainment. Both tour and vacation package options take advantage of the supplier or operator’s buying power by pre-purchasing large blocks of hotel rooms, airline seats and other travel related amenities in advance.
Member-based travel clubs can be an especially good value as they also purchase large blocks of hotels and airline seats, but their overhead and marketing costs are relatively smaller than mass-market tour operations, thereby passing a larger savings to their members. A good club offers a variety of destinations ranging from fully escorted tours to independent travel options. These clubs usually require an annual membership fee, but if you can find a vacation package that meets your interests and offers great savings, it may be well worth the fee of about $50 or so per year. If you belong to a discount warehouse store, check out their member travel discounts.
How do you know if you found a good deal? While a price comparison is helpful, it is important to research thoroughly so that you make a fair comparison on what’s included and what’s not included. Make sure to also factor in value. Only you know what is most important on your vacation. You can go online and find out more information about many hotel location, ratings and amenities. Bear in mind that opinions on hotels, like restaurants, are very subjective, so it is worth reading examples of best and worst opinions so see where your tastes fit in.
Features to compare:
Airfare: Is airfare included? Is it from a convenient gateway or do you need to spend additional travel dollars to get there from your home? If air isn’t included, can you cash in your mileage points and avoid any blackout restrictions? This may be the year to cash in your airline miles to help offset at least a portion of your travel expenses. Many airlines offer good travel bargains through mid-spring, and sometimes even beyond. Competition for those seats will be fierce this year, so plan early.
Hotel: What level of accommodations would you be most comfortable in? If three stars are fine, you’ll find a good number of affordable packages. Bear in mind that hotel room sizes in most European hotels are considerably smaller. Location is also important. Is the hotel close to any of the things you want to visit or do in your destination? Weigh the time and cost of traveling from your hotel into the city center each day. Try to find out exactly how far or how easy it is to reach the city center if your hotel is located outside of the city limits.
Meals: While it is usually more cost-effective to have meals included, you may not like to be limited your hotel dining room.