Save your euros on holiday

Save your euros on holiday
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First Published: Fri, Aug 24 2007. 12 50 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Aug 24 2007. 12 50 AM IST
Beating the euro is a hot topic among travellers these days. Here are some ways to get the best deal out of the euro while travelling in Europe:
Find the cheapest European flight you can. That is, take the least expensive route to Europe you can find, even if the destination wasn’t in your initial plans. Stay a night there to rest and explore. And then use a low-cost carrier to fly to a city on your list, suggests Shannon, a traveller. “It can end up being cheaper than flying directly to the city your originally planned to go to, and you might discover a new place you like on the way,” she adds.
Go to non-euro Europe. Another traveller who took a two-week trip in May to Sweden found the exchange rate of the Swedish krona to the dollar favourable and found some deals on accommodation, food and clothing.
Go camping. You can keep the costs down by taking a tent and camping along the way. If you are lucky, the average lodging costs would hover around $42 (about Rs1,720) a night. A lot of middle-class European families travel this way. You don’t need a reservation at any of the campgrounds.
Avoid restaurants by hitting the supermarket. Take your purchases back to the hotel, and if there’s a refrigerator in your room, ask the housekeeping staff to bring the bowls, plates and utensils for your meal.
Take your own bike. You can check-in your bicycle as a second piece of luggage. You can use the bikes to go to museums and other destinations within the city and places nearby. Pedalling also works well for money-saving trips to the grocery store.
Look for passes that include admission to several tourist sites. These passes are typically cheaper than separate tickets to cover all the same places, and they often allow you to skip long ticket lines at the most popular museums, leaving more time to sightsee. Don’t neglect second-tier museums, either.
Buy the multi-day or multi-trip passes for public transportation. If you are going to be staying in London for more than four or five days and plan to use the Underground several times a day, buy a one-week TravelCard on your pay-as-you-go Oyster Card. This one-week pass costs less than individual day passes, and you don’t have to wait until after 9.30am to use it. In Paris, tickets for Les Cars Rouges, the red city tourist buses, cost €22 (about Rs1,200) per adult, but because they let you hop on and off all day for two consecutive days, they can be a good buy. They can be used to reach major tourist attractions, and the buses often pass through the most beautiful areas of the city.
Book a cruise. Because your lodging is also your transportation, a European cruise often costs less than touring by land. Buying your cruise in American dollars and paying for most onboard purchases, such as spa treatments or shore excursions, in American dollars can definitely be a saving.
Discover less known European destinations. Not only will you get better value for money, the experience may also feel more authentic, since you won’t be in tourist-dominated spots. If you combine this strategy with travelling outside peak season, you can avoid the tourist hordes.
Read “Budget Holiday in Europe” (3 Aug) on www.livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Aug 24 2007. 12 50 AM IST