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Europe Travel: 10 Money-Saving Tips (PHOTOS)

Posted: 03/29/2012 7:00 am

American travelers were betrayed by their national currency over the past five years, but the dollar is finally taking back some ground. The Dollar's value against the Euro increased 9.2% between January 2010 and January 2012.

Pair a stronger dollar with unsteady European economies -- as well as growing tourist markets and emerging destinations -- and the happy conclusion is this: Europe travel can be affordable again, and not always where you expect it. Follow Travel + Leisure to the European destinations where you'll find the most bang for your buck this year.

Read on for more money-saving tips, such as when to take the plane versus the train, and a breakdown of the best European chain hotels.

--Stirling Kelso

See More Money-Saving Tips for Europe Travel

See More on Travel + Leisure:
Affordable Small Hotels in Paris
How to Buy Car-Rental Insurance in Europe

When to Visit Europe
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Timing is everything. Conventional wisdom has it that summer is the time to visit Europe; according to the Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel & Tourism Industries, June and July are the peak months for U.S. travel there. Though those few extra rays are nice, the best values fall outside these heavily trafficked months. Airfares to Europe start to fall for departures in mid- to late August, just before the school year, and stay low through the end of March (except during the winter holidays and around spring-break time in the U.S.). Though room prices at big-city hotels tend to remain steady year-round, European resorts also have dramatic seasonal rate shifts. For example, at Adronis Luxury Suites, in Santorini, Greece, there’s a 7 percent difference between high- and shoulder-season rates. Shoulder-season travel also means fewer crowds and, more often than not, suitable weather. Spring means more frequent showers, but the flowers are in bloom in the English countryside. In August, temperatures in Paris soar to uncomfortable highs as residents exit en masse. But arrive in mild and sunny May, and you’ll have a greater chance of encountering locals, thanks to an outdoor-café scene in full swing. In some cases, even the off-season may be prime for visits: in Russia, cultural life is at its height in the winter.


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