Europe this Summer: Mixed Bag of News
If you're one of millions of Americans considering a visit to
The Euro -- about the same.
The Euro ended last week
What you can do: You can't affect the currency rate, but you can minimize losses by using a credit card that doesn't add a surcharge to foreign transactions, such as Capital One, and use an ATM card with a minimum charge for local currency.
Airfares -- the big question.
As usual, the toughest part of looking ahead is in trying to outguess the airfares. For most of the winter and spring, posted airfares have been sharply higher than last summer. Currently, for example, the round-trip fare from
What you can do: Watch the sales carefully for short-term promotions on European routes, and pounce on anything that looks good.
Hotels -- up.
A recent report from the UK-based
What you can do: Head for low-cost countries; minimize your time in the expensive cities and head instead for some of the smaller cities or tour the countryside.
Rental cars -- up big.
Yet another European-based site, Holidaycars.com, reported sharply higher rental car rates. Customers who rent last minute, says a spokesperson, can look for price increases as high as 65 percent. As in
What you can do: Shop carefully among lots of suppliers, and lock in any good deal you find. Include AutoEurope.com in your search, as well as Priceline and a few European discounters such as Novacarhire and Tigercarrental. But be careful with offshore discount sites: Many quote low-ball supposedly "inclusive" prices that include minimal CDW but with a huge deductible, and charge a fortune for full CDW.
Hotels -- look for some discounts.
What you can do. Book early if you need to lock in an itinerary, but don't pay in advance, then keep checking for better deals until close to departure time.
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(c) 2010 Ed Perkins
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