Traveling can be a fun experience for someone at any age, whether right out of college or after retirement. There are several ways to see Europe as well, such as backpacking through the continent, traveling around on the train or staying in four-star hotels. You can get an expensive gift for that European traveler or something that is inexpensive but useful.
- Buy a neck or waist pouch for someone traveling to Europe. These pouches sit close to the body and are hidden under clothing. They can deter thieves who pray on tourists by holding valuables like a passport, money and other small items. The pouches are available at most large retailers.
A combo lock is also a good idea especially if the traveler isn’t going to be around his things the whole time. Get a combo lock that’s good in quality but is still lightweight. You can also purchase plug converters because plugs aren’t the same in all countries. The last thing a traveler wants is to plug in her phone and have it ruined because she didn’t have the right plug converter.
- A Eurail pass is something that the traveler can use for one country or all of Europe. The Eurail pass allows the traveler to take as many trains as they want depending on the exact package they get. If the traveler is going all over Europe, this gift will be incredibly useful, but it can be a little pricey.
Travel books like those from Frommer’s or Lonely Planet are also good gift ideas. If the traveler has a smart phone, you could purchase them applications like maps and other items. Give the traveler a notebook or journal for her to record everything that happens while on her trip. Be sure the notebook is small and lightweight yet sturdy.
Or, buy a toiletries kit, rolling luggage or a backpack made for backpacking. Just be sure you know what type of travel the person you’re getting a gift for is doing. If the traveler is a student, a backpack is a good idea but if the traveler is staying in nice hotels, rolling luggage might be the way to go.
- If you have a little bit of money to spend, give the traveler a small, portable camera with a good zoom lens. Set up a photo site online for your traveler. That way, he can upload his pictures to a secure place without having to carry around several memory cards.
Western United States
- Departing to Hawaii from a city on the West Coast of the United States will give you the greatest flexibility in finding a direct flight. Some travelers may opt to spend a few days in California to break up the travel time. Most major airlines offer direct flights from cities including Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Anchorage, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego and San Jose.
Central United States
- The larger airline carriers such as American Airlines and Delta offer several nonstop options for people traveling from the central United States. Cities offering nonstop flights include: Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Detroit, and Cincinnati. To ensure you get the best deal, try to fly from a major airline hub such as Dallas or Chicago.
Eastern United States
- While there are considerably fewer options when flying nonstop from the east coast to Hawaii, getting a flight should not be too much of a problem especially if you plan well in advance. Continental offers nonstop service from New York. Atlanta is another popular city you can get a direct flight to Hawaii from. Some flights may also be available from Miami, but these are much more limited.
- There are many international departures that fly nonstop to Hawaii. Some of the more popular departure cities include Cancun, Mexico City, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Sydney, Vancouver, London and many more. Depending on where you plan to depart from, you should conduct a flight search to determine whether any flights are currently being offered from your departure city of choice.
- Create a business plan. Determine the specifics of what you plan to rent out as part of your beach rental company since some people choose to rent out beach houses while others opt for surfing and snorkeling gear. Set the days and hours of operation as well as what seasons you’re open. Decide what it will cost to start the beach rental company as well as how long you’ll need to sustain your business on your start-up funds before you make a profit. Include all this information, plus plans for marketing and staffing your company in your business plan.
- Get funded. Seek out a small business loan by visiting with a bank or credit union representative in your community. Find out if you qualify for the loan based on your business plan and your personal credit history. To get low-interest loans specifically designed for small business owners just starting out, check with the Small Business Administration to learn if you qualify. Take on a partner with access to capital to start your beach rental company if you can’t qualify for loans on your own.
- Register your business. Complete the form from the website of the Internal Revenue Service or contact them by phone at 800-829-4933 to register your business at the federal level by obtaining an Employer Identification Number. Talk to a representative from the department of revenue at your state and local level to learn what sales tax laws are applicable to your beach rental company. Fill out any forms to register with these departments and collect and pay sales tax if charged on the rentals you provide to beach goers. Obtain a local business license from your city hall to operate in your physical location, and ensure you get a food license later if you add on offering food and drinks to people at the beach as part of your business.
- Obtain insurance. Contact local insurance representatives to discuss business insurance to protect your beach rental company. Get liability insurance to protect you in the event someone is injured in or around your facility while also obtaining property insurance to protect your facility in the event a hurricane, tsunami, fire or other natural disaster damages or destroys your business.
- Find a facility. Look for a facility on or near the beach since this allows beach goers easy access to your business. If your company offers beach rental houses, buy different sizes as this allows your customers to choose the one that’s right for their needs. Rent or purchase a separate office space to house your records and from which to work on a daily basis if renting beach homes. If operating a business that rents beach equipment and supplies, find a location with enough space to display and store your products as well as manage your records and the financial aspects of your business.
- Hire staff. Seek out employees who enjoy interacting with people and have great customer service skills to work in your beach rental company. Encourage them to become knowledgeable about the products and services you provide as this helps them rent the right equipment and keep earnings high. Consider hiring only temporary or seasonal staff to help you operate your beach rental company if you are only open during the summer season.
- Promote your company. Create a website to highlight your beach rental company, and incorporate an online or phone booking system that provides customers an easy way to rent a beach house or beach equipment. Hang fliers in popular restaurants and hotels on and near the beach since tourists frequent these places during their stay. Make sure all rental equipment such as surfboards, beach umbrellas and snorkeling equipment has your company name and phone number on it in large type since this allows other beach goers to know where to go to rent the same equipment.
- Grow your business. Consider expanding your beach rental company to offer food and drinks, since not all beach-goers bring their own with them. Include souvenirs and T-shirts if you are in a location frequented by tourists. Find instructors willing to teach surfing or snorkeling to people who are interested since this encourages them to rent the equipment for these activities from your business. Add additional beach rental properties to your business as it grows if renting houses or condos to individuals and families on vacation.
What do kids and Italians share? Passion–for pizza, ice cream, soccer and spaghetti, plus a passion for adventure that is reflected in the country’s wonderful history. Given all this, it’s easy for families to share the fun during an Italian vacation.
Singapore is known for its thriving business economy. According to the WEF Global Competitiveness Report, Singapore is the most competitive economy in Asia, ranking third in the world and following only Switzerland and the United States. According to the World Bank, Singapore is the world’s easiest place to do business and is a top location to invest in Asia. If you are considering doing business in Singapore, an understanding of the labor laws of Singapore as outlined in the Singapore Employment Act is crucial.
- Hawaiian Airlines was founded in 1929 under the name of Inter-Island Airways Ltd. and offers weekly island-to-island roundtrip routes. Eighty years later, Hawaiian Airlines is Hawaii’s largest airline and serves 20 destinations with emphasis on western U.S. coastal airport service, South Pacific and Pacific Rim international destinations and inter-island shuttle travel. All of Hawaiian Airlines’ employees try to ensure that the airline’s No. 1 ranking in on-time performance is upheld.
- Hawaiian Airlines is Hawaii’s award-winning airline for customer service satisfaction and has an employee force of more than 3,800, with 18 percent of those jobs being held by flight attendants. With expanding route structure and tourism growth in the Hawaiian islands, Hawaiian Airlines recruits candidates to replace retiring or career-changing flight attendants occasionally during each year. Any interested candidate should monitor the “Employment Opportunities” section of Hawaiian Airline’s website for openings and flight attendant recruitment open houses.
- A desirable candidate for flight attendant training will be able to attend a six-week unpaid intensive training course in Honolulu. The ability to lift 50 pounds, pass a qualifying physical, have open availability and be able to relocate are ideal attributes. Fluency in a second language is one of the most valuable assets a flight attendant candidate can possess; an educational or experiential background in hospitality/tourism-related occupations or study is preferred but not mandatory. Excellent communication skills and minimum/maximum height requirements are also considerations.
Application Process and Interview
- Hawaiian Airlines recruits flight attendants as dictated necessary by its company’s economic standing and growth. The best opportunity to receive an offer of training as a flight attendant is to attend a flight attendant recruitment event or open house as they are scheduled. Recruiters will be there already in the process of looking to hire so you do not have to cold contact any human resource office with your resume, which only will be accepted for open positions. Group interviews are held, followed by individual first interviews on the spot by selection after the group session. If successful, candidates will be asked to a second interview or to submit to a pre-employment physical.
Hawaiian Airlines Flight Attendant Training
- If a candidate is offered an invitation to attend flight attendant training with Hawaiian Airlines, it will last for a six-week period with five weeks of in-flight customer service procedures training specific to Hawaiian Airlines and one week of Federal Aviation Administration-mandated emergency and safety training certification. A flight attendant trainee must pass satisfactorily all aspects of training before becoming an actively employed flight attendant with Hawaiian Airlines. Upon completion a base will be assigned to operate from and a mandatory employment probationary period will begin for the new flight attendant.
- Purchase Garmin’s MapSource Metro Guide Europe software package. If you have a 16, 32, 64 or 128 MB data card on your existing Garmin device, you may be eligible to download the software information directly for a lower cost.
- Load your computer with your newly purchased MapSource Metro Guide Europe software.
- Plug your Garmin-supported USB cord into your PC or laptop computer. Connect the USB cord from your computer to your Garmin GPS device.
- Open your new software program on the computer and select the regions in Europe you plan to visit.
- Select detailed maps within these regions and click “File” for each region along the upper-left tab. Under “File” you’ll see an option allowing you to download the geographic information directly to your Garmin.
- Remove your Garmin device once you have successfully downloaded all necessary maps for your upcoming trip. Once in Europe, turn on your device as you would in the United States.
Italy is a particularly popular tourist destination in Europe for its historical and cultural significance, as well as dining and other fun activities. Your first time in Italy will likely be a culture shock. Fortunately, you need not be fatigued or disoriented by the culture shock if you are well prepared for the trip. Preparing yourself will not only relieve you of panic, but will also help you gain more appreciation for Italy and its offerings.
- Make sure your passport is up to date and in good standing. If you do not have a passport, apply for one at least three months in advance of your trip. Be aware that first-time applicants, as well as minors, must apply in person at a passport agency or acceptance facility. If you’re from the United States or Canada and plan to stay for fewer than 90 days, you do not need a visa.
- Look up the exchange rate for the euro and U.S. dollar. The U.S. dollar is weak in Europe as of 2011, so traveling through Italy can be expensive. Be prepared to prove that you have enough money to travel through Italy in order to be allowed to enter the country. Check Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the latest monetary requirements at www.esteri.it.
- Learn Italian history. Study the political and cultural changes that took place throughout its history, from Roman civilization to modern times. Find out which part of Italian history interests you, as this will inform what you will see and where to take tours. Knowing the history will help you better appreciate the famous historical landmarks, such as the Coliseum and the statue of David.
- Learn the basics of the Italian language, such as numbers, weight measurements and basic greetings. Even in larger Italian cities, the language barrier could be a problem, particularly when buying things.
- Bring a camera, preferably one with a telephoto lens. The architecture and landscape of Italy are grand and colorful, so a telephoto lens does well to capture them. Although a camera with a telephoto lens may be heavier and bulkier than, say, a disposable camera, the results will be worth the extra effort.
- Adjust your expectations for amenities at hotels. Many of Italy’s old buildings cannot accommodate hotel rooms of the size you may be used to in North America, nor do they use air conditioning as much as North Americans. Beds may be firmer than you are used to, as well.
- Investigate accessability at hotels and other venues if you or anyone in your party is disabled or needs extra help getting around. Old buildings mean old infrastructure that may not accommodate elevators or wheelchair ramps. Get in shape by walking and climbing stairs before you go.
- When you arrive at any European airport on an international flight, you will be required to pass through customs. At this time your passport will be required.
Traveling on land between countries used to be more of a random check process. For the most part, travel between European Union countries is mainly void of the previous border check points. However, at any time, for heightened security or other policies, you may be asked to produce your passport while within the EU.
Traveling by rail is not only popular, economical and efficient, it also carries a breath of romantic air. Again, while traveling within the EU you may not be asked to produce your passport at any check points. However, it is always prudent to have it with you in case of any change in policies, a random check or security issue.
While a passport is necessary, a visa may not be. Check online for the visa requirements of the countries you plan to visit.
Most important of all, your passport is mandatory to gain entry back into your home country, i.e. the U.S., after landing at the airport from your European destination.
- Used by travelers in Europe, as far back as the Middle Ages, personal identification documents have been issued by local authorities. These documents were to ease the passage of travel through cities and towns where gates, or towers, with local security agents, where built. Passports, or personal identification documents, weren’t mandatory at all border crossings or ports in Europe. Coverage of the borders and difficulty in enforcement proved overwhelming until the start of World War I. Europe was in the middle of a crisis happening mainly on European soil. It was then that borders began to close, border crossings and check points were implemented and the modern passport, with photograph, began. However, the passport system was still openly interpreted by the countries involved in issuing them. It wasn’t until 1980 that the standardized passport, in the format that is universally prescribed and adopted, came into existence.
- Applying for a passport is straightforward. Check your country’s guidelines and instructions on your national government’s website or search for the name of your country to find the applicable site. Be sure to check on the site for your actual government. There are many companies that will do the legwork for you, which means that you still produce the application but have a third party deal with an intermediary with any questions or concerns that arise.
A passport is issued by your local government to certify your identity and your nationality. When traveling internationally, it is indispensable for ease of moving through the customs maze.
- Passports come in many types. The standardization of passports in 1980 makes this list universal internationally.
A tourist passport: issued to most citizens.
Official or Service passport: issued to government employees for work-related travel.
Diplomatic passport: issued to consuls or diplomats, and their immediate families, for work-related travel.
Temporary or emergency passport: issued in the event of a lost or stolen passport while outside of your home country.
Collective passport: issued to a traveling group of people that can be identified together, i.e. a Scout troop or school class.
Family passport: issued to the main traveler with children listed on it. Note: Many countries have moved or are moving away from this.
- Before you leave home take a couple photocopies of the inside (photo) page of your passport. Carry one copy with you but never store it in the same place as your passport, and leave another copy with a family member that you feel you can reach easily from overseas. You want to have these photocopies in the event that your passport is lost or stolen. You will not be able to board a plane in Europe without your passport nor re-enter your country of origin without your passport. If the unthinkable happens, and you and your passport part company, contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate Office of your home country right away.
Before leaving home go online and print out the addresses of the Embassies or Consulate Offices in the areas where you will be traveling. If you will be traveling to the area for a long time it’s always advisable that you check in with those offices upon your arrival. But most important, if you are suddenly without your passport, you will want to be able to find the building that is basically your home country’s “home” away from home, as this is where you will submit your paperwork to receive your new passport. Having your photocopy or a faxed copy from your family/friend back home will be invaluable in expediting the replacement of your passport or issuance of a temporary passport that will be in effect until you return home and you can apply for a new one. Most people do not take this precaution, or even write down their passport number, so if they have to replace it while on vacation it is a much more stressful experience.
Passports are not considered the property of the individual but, in fact, are the property of the individual’s government. As such, governments reserve the right to limit or revoke any individual’s passport at any time, based on specific criteria being met. More information on this will be specific to each issuing country and should be researched on the government’s website.
- The soaring red dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is probably the first thing you’ll see as you near Florence. It’s also a good first stop on an architectural tour of the city, especially if you take the small staircase to the top of the dome for a panoramic view of Florence. By the church, take a walk by Florence’s baptistery, paying special attention to the brass doors designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti or the Donatello-designed tomb of Antipope John XXIII inside. For a full day of museum-going, head to the Palazzo Pitti, the monumental former residence of the Medici family that now is filled with museums and galleries. Pick a sunny day to walk across the Arno River on the medieval Ponte Vecchio and, on the other side, head to the beautifully landscaped and sculpture-filled Boboli Gardens for some rest.
- You don’t have to go to a museum to see beautiful art in Florence. Some of the city’s best-known works can be found in Florence’s churches and palaces, like Giotto’s frescoes of the life of Christ in the church of Santa Maria Novella. If you choose to go to a museum, the Galleria dell’Accademia holds priceless works. such as Michelangelo’s David, while the Uffizi Gallery has a spectacular collection of Renaissance masters. Be prepared to spend several hours in either. For a glimpse of contemporary Florentine art and new talent, head to galleries like For Gallery or Galleria Alessandro Bagnai. The Oltrarno district across the Arno is rapidly becoming a hub for young designers and stylish boutiques, reports The New York Times.
La Dolce Vita
- To indulge in the earthly pleasures that inspired Renaissance humanism, sit down to a three-hour Tuscan meal in a trattoria along the narrow streets of Oltrarno. Regional specialties include charcoal-grilled steak and bean stews, all washed down with locally produced wines. You can walk off the meal with some window shopping along the fashion-filled Via Tornabuoni or head to the San Lorenzo Market for handcrafted leather goods. At dusk, the bars around the Piazza del Duomo fill with performers and revelers, and you can finish off the night with opera at the Teatro Comunale or an open-air summer concert at the Piazza di Sant’Ambrogio.
Getting Outside the City
- The green hills of Tuscany are just outside Florence. You can hike up to Fiesole — the walk featured in the movie version of E.M. Forster’s “A Room With a View” — directly from the city. For more fresh air, the hills of San Miniato and Bellosguardo are just south of the Arno River, and both offer stunning views of the city and surrounding countryside. In Tuscany, Frommer’s recommends renting a car and taking a tour through the back roads of the province, stopping at tiny villages not found on any tourist map and at “vendita direttas” (direct sales) in the countryside to buy fresh cheese, home-pressed olive oil, local wines and herb-scented honeys directly from farmers
- Compare prices and check flight times on the websites of the interisland airline companies. If you are in Hawaii already, someone at your hotel or at a local touring company can help you look into flights. Round trip flights range from $80 up to $300, depending upon the type of ticket, the day and time of the flight, and seating.
- Make reservations and purchase your tickets. It is important to book your flight in advance. Most airlines do not offer standby tickets and last minute tickets can be costly.
- Arrive at the airline at least 90 minutes before your flight is scheduled to depart, as it often takes this long to go through security. Make sure you have a passport or other form of identification to show the airline clerk when you check in.
- Go to www.hawaiianair.com.
- Click on the tab “Change Flight or Seats”. It’s located to the top left of your screen.
- Type in your confirmation code and last name into the boxes where it asks. Then click “View My Trip.”
- Select which flight you would like to change by checking the box next to the flight details. Then click “See New Flights.”
- Choose a flight you would like to switch too. It will then send you to a billing screen. Fill out the necessary information if you are required to pay extra. Confirmation of the changes you’ve made will be emailed to you.
Over the Phone
- Have your reservation confirmation code ready.
- Call the Reservations Department at 1-800-367-5320. The hours are between 3:00 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time.
- Tell the representative on the phone that you would like to change your flight. You may be billed extra fees.
Book Very Early
- Hawaii is one of the most popular destinations for travelers. Because of this, last-minute deals are near nonexistent. The best strategy for booking flights to Hawaii is to book early, especially if you’re planning a trip during summer or Christmas vacation. Airfare typically becomes available 11 months in advance, with the optimal time to book being nine to 10 months in advance.
- Booking flights on Tuesdays or Wednesdays can save you money no matter how far in advance you’re purchasing tickets. If your schedule allows, avoid departing on Fridays to get the cheapest fares.
- Purchasing airfare between nine and 10 months in advance presents an ideal way to get the cheapest rates. You can save even more money by departing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
- Europe’s travel industry is the world’s largest regional tourism industry. Its success is primarily attributed to the strong army of travel agencies, tour operations and national tourism agencies. Separate these professionals, however, from the online support provided by Internet travel companies geared toward net-savvy people. It is helpful to know how to benefit from the services of a travel agent in Europe to ensure getting around is a breeze.
- Due to Europe’s daunting size, travelers need help in making their trip as smooth and worry-free as possible. Travel agents in Europe assist tourists in their vacation plans in the whole continent–from visas to itinerary, from hotel bookings to transport arrangements. These travel agencies are part of organizations like the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations (ECTAA) or the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) and work closely with national tourism agencies in each country.
Online travel occupies a market of its own. There are Internet-based companies through which travelers can book hotels, transfers and tours. At the end of 2008, online bookings earned 29 percent of the total revenue of the European travel industry.
- Tourism accounts for a big chunk of Europe’s income. In 2005, almost £280 billion in revenue was reported to the EU. The top destinations in the world for the last few years can be found in Europe, namely France, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain and Austria.
- Using the services of travel agents brings a world of convenience to anyone wishing to take on Europe’s enormity. First-time visitors to the continent can benefit from a travel agent in order to prevent costly mishaps. Repeat tourists, on the other hand, look to travel agents for an even better experience over their last visit. Aside from their inherent travel expertise, agents can advise quick solutions should problems during during travel.
- Travel in Europe has become more accessible ever since the Schengen Agreement. Travel agents offering tour packages in Europe mainly rely on the Schengen Visa, which makes entering the 24 member countries easier using one travel document. This handy system has helped Europe tourism considerably. For one, there is a continued interest in other modes of public transport like train and bus.
When planning a trip to Europe (or anywhere for that matter), research your destination. Weather conditions and crowds can influence your overall trip, and if you are unprepared for what you will encounter, your pleasure could be diminished. By knowing the best time to travel to various places in Europe, you will spend more time sightseeing and less time in line or held captive by inclement weather.
- European travel is busiest from late June through the end of August and from December through January, typically coinciding with school holidays. During peak seasons, expect to pay top dollar for flights and hotels. Also prepare for crowded tour buses and long lines at points of interest.
To avoid the crowds, visit Europe in the spring. The days are still long and sunny, but you won’t have to hassle with the summer crush. Spring and autumn are also the best times to find great deals on flights to and accommodations in Europe.
France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Austria
- If you are heading to France, the best time to visit Paris is spring. The cherry trees are in full bloom and the warm days make for comfortable travel. However, if the beaches of south France are more your scene, wait for the summer months. For snow bunnies, January and February offer great conditions in the French Alps and Pyrenees.
If your travels will take you to Spain or Greece, the best months are May through June and September through October. Avoid Spain and Greece during the summer months when the heat and crowds can become overwhelming.
Italy’s major cities are best visited in spring when the temperatures are mild. But Italy becomes a skier’s haven in the winter, with ski season stretching from December to March.
Austria has the same ski season as Italy, making it a popular winter destination as well. Unlike Italy, winter is also a great time to visit Austrian cities because the draw of the ski slopes makes them much less crowded.
Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Finland
- The best time to visit Germany is from May to September. Spring and autumn months offer pleasant temperatures; summers can be hot and dry. Traveling late spring through early autumn also keeps you away from the big crowds at Oktoberfest.
If you are a flower connoisseur, plan to visit the Netherlands in spring. At this time the days are longer, the weather is enjoyable and the tulips are in full bloom.
Late June through September is the best time to travel to Sweden or Norway. The summer months offer longer, sunny days and because of their location, temperatures are moderate throughout the year. August is the slowest travel season here, but beware: late summer can be quite humid.
If you plan to visit Finland, the weather cooperates from May through September. However, if you enjoy snow activities, Finland offers a much earlier ski season in October and November. After that, the weather may get too cold for many travelers.
- For families with children, finding an affordable hotel in many European cities can pose a phenomenal challenge. Resist the temptation to let travel agents pick up the task, though, as their room finder services are rarely geared towards returning competitive prices. In most countries, a one-star hotel will be acceptable, because hotels have to clear rigorous safety and cleanliness standards to receive any rating in the first place. For those traveling alone or with more flexibility, hostels are the key to savings, with more than 2,000 hostels across the continent, usually right in the city center, offering discounts for students and the over 55s. Alternatively, Rick Steve recommends family-run bed-and-breakfast accommodation, not just for the price but also for the chance to get to know the country.
- Other than traveling during low season, there are plenty of smart ploys to save money on transport. Buy a Rail Europe pass — which must be booked before you get to Europe — for discounted travel covering more than 50 train companies across the continent. You can buy a pass to cover either a single country or a region. Otherwise, booking tickets in advance online can be considerably cheaper, especially in the UK, but tickets are not flexible. Renting a car is rarely a cost-saving measure in Europe, with tolls, high parking fees, and exorbitant gas prices in countries such as Italy and the UK. Air travel, on the other hand, is sometimes ludicrously cheap, with budget airlines such as RyanAir and EasyJet covering all the major cities. Bear in mind, though, that these are no-frills airlines fly to secondary airfields outside their advertised cities.
- The best time topick up the cheapest deals in Europe is between October and April, according to “Rick Steve’s Europe,” with shoulder seasons from April to June and September to October. Visiting most European cities during this period usually guarantees cheaper flights and accommodations, albeit with notable exceptions. You wouldn’t have much luck finding a cheap, last-minute room in Munich in late September and October, for example, as the city is in the throes of Oktoberfest. The most expensive time to visit Europe is June to August. However, this is rarely the time to see many cities at their best. Paris and Rome, for example, wind down considerably over the searing summer months. For other cities, such as London and Berlin, activity is vibrant year-round.
- In general, Eastern Europe is cheaper to visit than Western Europe, although the difference between the Euro zone countries and the rest is less defined than in the past. Lonely Planet recommends the Albanian Riviera for deserted Mediterranean beaches on a budget, with Berlin and Lisbon among the most affordable city breaks. Even in countries often perceived as expensive, savings are there for the taking. Museums and galleries in London, for example, are usually free, while buying a Paris Pass secures savings on admission to more than 60 museums and cultural sites, fast track entry and public transport. Rick Steve recommends staying away from restaurants in tourist areas, particularly those near famous tourist sites. If possible, look for local restaurants with a set menu, or buy groceries and take a picnic with you each day.