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Dollar Stretching Strategies

  1. Book as much of your trip in US dollars as possible. Search the Web, make some calls, ask your travel agent, ask me. There are a lot of travel providers that allow you to reserve air, hotel, and car all in one transaction using US dollars. Look at Expedia and Travelocity. We have some great options on our Travel Links pages as well.
  2. Explore Europe on a group tour. Many tour companies (including Exploring Europe) offer all-inclusive group tours. These tours typically include meals, lodging, transportation, guided tours, and attractions all at one fixed price. You’ll pay for your tour in US dollars and not worry about the exchange rate at all.
  3. Watch the fine print. Many tour companies (NOT Exploring Europe) have a clause buried in the fine print of their contract allow for an increase in the tour cost should the dollar’s value drop.
  4. Choose a hotel with fewer “stars.” Almost all hotels in Europe are rated by the number of “stars” their government hotel inspection agency gives. Don’t be fooled, in most cases the “stars” have no relationship to the quality of the hotel. Hotels are given “stars” for such things as trouser presses, big elevators, hair-dryers, cafes, a bar, restaurants, bathtubs, and many rooms. Most often this has nothing to do with the cleanliness, location, safety, and atmosphere of a hotel. Shop around before squandering your Euro needlessly.
  5. Consider a small town as opposed to a big city. Hotels are usually less expensive outside big metropolitan areas.
  6. Eat out less often. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save by cutting down on your food budget. Consider picnicking, eating only one big meal a day, and visiting fast-food markets.
  7. Take the train or bus. For a small group public transportation is always cheaper than a taxi or rental car.
  8. Consider fly on Europe’s cheap and efficient budget airlines.
  9. Purchase water or soda in bulk. Buying bottled water near tourist sights can cost $2 or more for a pint. Plan ahead and stock up at a grocery store in your hotel neighborhood where 2-liters of water can be purchased for $1 or less.
  10. Pay with local cash, not credit cards. Credit card companies charge merchants up to 3% or more for their use. The cost has got to be passed on to someone, usually the consumer.
  11. Uses your ATM card. Don’t use expensive fee-loaded credit cards. Your ATM card from your hometown bank will spit out the local currency in almost any country in the world. It is safe, convenient, and offers the very best exchange rates. 

We’ve got a lot of tours going to Europe this year. Why don’t you consider saving your dollars and stretching your budget. Let us show you around Europe at an affordable price.

About the Author

David McGuffin established David McGuffin’s Exploring Europe, Inc. in 2001 to formally offer European tours. Since then, he has taken several thousand satisfied customers on memorable and educational tours to Europe.

  1. Cora Bartholomew Reply

    Saving money is hard. Changing spending habits are hard. But if you can, start early. Prior to any big trip, forget about Starbucks… buy non name brand items… buy necessities, not luxuries… It’s easier said than done, but try to remember where that extra money could go. You could EXPLORE EUROPE!!

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