European Vacations on Sale - Top 8 desinations?
What are the Top 8 places you would recommend to visit, in order of preference?
Flights, hotels, etc are super cheap right now:
Thanks to a resurgent dollar and recession-induced price cutting, this will be the best summer in years to head across the Atlantic.
By Donna Rosato, Money Magazine senior writer
Last Updated: April 13, Protected content 3:54 PM ET
(Money Magazine Protected content the dollar sank to a record low against the euro last July, many Americans decided that a trip to Europe would have to wait for another time. That time may have arrived.
It's not just that the greenback is reviving. It's also that the travel industry, hit hard by the recession, is cutting prices like mad to lure customers. Roundtrip flights to Europe, which averaged $1,200 to $1,400 in peak season during the past couple of years, can now be had for half that, says Anne Banas, executive editor of SmarterTravel.com.
You'll pay up to 50% less for hotels, meals, and souvenirs too. Deals are especially enticing on four- and five-star accommodations because of cutbacks on corporate travel.
Yes, a European vacation is still an investment, but it's no longer a ridiculous prospect. Read on for smart strategies to make your dollar go the furthest - and start daydreaming of sipping lattes, lambics, or lambrusco.
When to book: As soon as you can
Used to be, waiting until the last minute to book a summer trip could yield substantial savings. These days that's a risky move. Airlines in the U.S. and Europe cut back on capacity when fuel costs were high last year. Oil prices have fallen, but with the recession dampening travel demand, airlines continue to fly smaller and fewer planes. That means the cheapest seats fill up fast. So book your flight this month.
Sign up for low-fare e-mail alerts at FareCompare.com or Airfarewatchdog.com, which combs through airline websites for unpublished sales. In February, Airfarewatchdog noted that US Airways was offering roundtrip flights to Paris from many U.S. hubs for about $600, compared with an average of about $1,000. Such sales are fleeting - this one lasted two days - so be ready to jump.
Travel packagers and hotels are also offering breaks to those who buy in advance. Trafalgar Tours is discounting the airfare part of its peak-season packages to six European destinations by 56% for those who pay by March. At the luxury Fairmont chain, which has six hotels in Europe, guests who pay three weeks in advance get 30% or more off the best available rates - as low as $138 a night at the Fairmont in St. Andrews, Scotland.
Bottom line: The early booker gets the deal. "If you wait past April, you'll need to be flexible on where and when you go to save," says SmarterTravel's Banas.
But if you can't book by April ... reduce costs by looking for flights with one or more stops. On United, for example, midsummer roundtrips to Paris are about $1,000 nonstop, but as low as $614 if you connect through Frankfurt. Or fly a non-European carrier that stops in Europe. Going with Air Tahiti, which stops in Paris on its way from Los Angeles to Tahiti, can knock several hundred bucks off the fare.