Looking for ways to make European travel more affordable? Here, some ways to stretch your travel dollars.
Select a lesser known destination
More budget-conscious Canadian travellers may be bypassing Paris and Rome for lesser known European destinations that offer similar culture and attractions but are more affordable.
A recent Expedia.ca/Angus Reid poll found that 70 per cent of Canadians are likely to skip some of Europe's longstanding hot spots for an "off the beaten path" destination if the cost is lower and the cultural interest is high.
Cities such as Dubrovnik, Valencia, Tallinn and Budapest, for example, have experienced double and triple growth over the past two years, according to Expedia.ca. These cities offer food, sights, nightlife and old world charm that rival other traditionally popular European destinations.
Save on lodging
Rick Steves, television host and author of European travel guidebooks, gives these tips for the budget-minded traveller.*
• Book a B&B. In many instances, a B&B offers a sense of warmth and character -- and at up to half the price of a hotel.
• Don't automatically dismiss a hostel. Europe's 2,000 hostels have countless cheap dorm beds. And if you think hostels are only for youths and backpacking university students, think again. More families and older adults are taking advantage of the huge savings. Many hostels also include use of a kitchen. (For more information, visit Hostels of Europe.)
• Check out the budget-chain hotels. Throughout Europe, budget hotels offer efficient (if unforgettable) rooms at near B&B prices. This can be an attractive cost-savings option for families since many budget hotels offer the same room rate for a family of four as for a couple or a single traveller.
• Think simple. A three-star hotel with perks such as room service and a 24-hour reservation desk isn't good value for a budget traveller who's satisfied with a one-star place without these perks. If you're looking to save even more, some one-star hotels still offer rooms without a private bath (albeit most do have a sink). Walking down the hall to use the shower and toilet can knock 20 per cent off the cost.
• Ask for extra beds. European hoteliers are often happy to pack in extra beds -- which means a reduced cost per person.
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