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5 Ways to Make Europe More Affordable

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If you're a Europhile, as I am, you've probably been cringing as the dollar is again sinking lower and lower against the almighty euro. One euro was worth $1.45 this morning, which has effectively made moderately priced European hotels very expensive and vaulted deluxe hotels into the stratosphere. But here are five ways to make a trip to Europe a bit more affordable this winter.

1. LOCK IN YOUR RATE Lock in your rate by prepaying for hotel rooms and car rentals in dollars before leaving the United States. You can do this, for example, at Best Western Hotels (there are hundreds throughout Europe). In fact, when you book a hotel room via Expedia or Orbitz, you're actually prepaying, not reserving.
 
2. GET A CARD Purchase a city card in Zurich, Stockholm and other places, which gives you discounts on public transportation and museum admission. Go to European City Cards.
 
3. RIDE FOR LESS Multi-ride subway cards are usually a better deal than individual tickets. For example, a one-way fare on the London Underground in the central area (Zones 1-2) is 4 pounds (about $6.38). But the London Travelcard gives you unlimited travel for one day in those same zones for 7.20 pounds ($11.48) peak or 5.60 pounds ($8.92) off peak and covers buses and Docklands Light Railway as well.
 
4.BOOK LATE Use sites such as Late Rooms, which offers dozens of last minute rooms in dozens of locations in Europe. Their simple grid chart is easy to navigate.

5. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Plan your European trip now. The true off-season, November through March (avoiding the Christmas holidays) begins in a few weeks.

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