101 ways to save in europe

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Heading to Europe, but don't want to spend a lot of money?

EuroCheapo.com's travel editors have produced this excellent guide to traveling the Continent for less. This helpful guide covers everything from booking your flight and train tickets, to finding the perfect budget hotel and saving on sightseeing in Amsterdam, London, Paris, Rome and Venice.

Read it while you’re planning your trip, and take it with you on the road!

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101 ways to save in europe

  1. 1.  Hi there and welcome, fellow Cheapo! We launchedEuroCheapo.com in 2001 with the goal of making travelthrough Europe affordable and memorable. In the yearssince, our editors have visited thousands of hotels, takeninnumerable train trips, spent nights in airports, run out ofgas in rental cars, and eaten our fair share of currywurst.During this time, weʼve picked up money-saving tips of allshapes and sizes -- lessons occasionally learned the hardway. The list that follows is a compilation of some of our besttricks to help you save on the big ticket essentials (airfare,car rental, train tickets and hotel rooms) and help lower yourbudget in five of Europeʼs priciest cities.We hope these tips will help you experience more whilespending less. And thanks for using EuroCheapo.com!About these tips: The travel information contained in thisbooklet was written by the editors and correspondents ofEuroCheapo.com. For more detailed information about thesesubjects, consult the URLs at the end of each section.All information contained herein is © 2012 by Over ThereInteractive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  2. 2.  First the essentials: Before you hop on that flight, hereʼs a list ofplanning tips that are sure to help you get off on the right foot. Fromunderstanding bank charges and accessing money on the road, tocalling to say “hi” to mom for less, these simple steps will help stretchyour trip budget.Tip #1: Tell your bank about your trip.Call your bank and credit card companies to tell them that youʼll betraveling abroad. This is important for them to know, as foreigncharges and ATM withdrawals may signal an internal “red-flag” andcould result in your account being frozen. Thatʼs really not somethingyou want to deal with from, say, the cobblestoned streets of Florence.Tip #2: Know if your bank charges a foreign ATMwithdrawal fee. Also, do they charge a percentageof the withdrawal? Both?This will vary widely among banks, however many banks charge$1.50 to $5 per withdrawal AND some add a foreign transaction feeof 1-3%. However, some banks will only charge a flat fee and othersmay only charge a percentage. Know before you go.Tip #3: Know if your bank charges a foreigntransaction fee for debit card charges.Just as ATM fees vary widely, debit card charges are all over theplace. For the most part, however, the bank will assess a foreigntransaction fee, and most hover around 3%. In some cases, itʼsslightly less. Weʼve also heard of banks charging both a foreigntransaction percentage AND a flat-fee for debit charges.Tip #4: Know if your credit card charges a foreigntransaction fee.For most credit cards, the answer will be yes. Itʼs often around 3%,
  3. 3.  but, like everything else, it varies from card to card. Notably, theCapital One credit card does not charge any foreign transaction feesfor purchases abroad, which has made it quite popular with travelers.Also, if you have multiple credit cards, chances are theyʼll chargedifferently - use the one with the lower rates, Cheapos!Tip #5: What does your credit card charge forcash advances?Most cards will charge a percentage of the cash advance, plus anyother fees that your card would normally charge for an advance.Some banks also set a minimum cash advance fee. Know your creditcardʼs policy before you make that withdrawal!Tip #6: Pack lightly.Most transatlantic airlines allow one checked bag for free, but haveintroduced ridiculous fees for checking a second, third or overweightbag. For flights from the US to Europe, these fees can be as high as$200 per bag. One way. (Ouch.)Tip #7: Be careful when using American iPhonesin Europe.Americans heading to Europe should be careful before powering uptheir iPhones abroad. AT&T and other carriers offer various dataplans for European travel, and almost all of them are too expensive tobe a serious option for budget travelers. The easiest tip: Switch yoursettings to “Airplane mode” and turn on your Wi-Fi. Youʼll only be ableto access email when you have a Wi-Fi connection, but freeconnections are increasingly easy to find. Which brings us to...Tip #8: Nab free Wi-Fi at McDonaldʼs.Many McDonaldʼs (and other large fast food restaurants) throughoutEurope offer free Wi-Fi. If you have a smartphone, head to one to usetheir free Wi-Fi, check your emails and make Skype calls back home.
  4. 4.  If you can “bundle” your calls into one or two sneaky McDonaldʼsvisits each week, youʼll save a bundle on international phonecharges.Additional information: • ATMs, Debit cards, and questions for your bank: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/atms-debit-cards-credit-cards- fees-in-europe-questions-for-your-bank.html • iPhones in Europe: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/using-an- american-iphone-in-europe…-without-going-broke.html
  5. 5.  Havenʼt bought your tickets yet? No problem. We have plenty ofsuggestions for snagging great deals on flights, knowing when it is(and isnʼt) worth it to rent a car, saving money on transportationaround cities, and making the most of train travel. All aboard!Tip #9: Set up airfare alerts.Havenʼt booked your airline tickets yet? Set up airfare alerts to benotified of flight deals on Web sites like Kayak.com andAirfarewatchdog.com.Tip #10: Know when to snag international airfaredeals.According to a recent study by the airline experts at Kayak.com,booking 34 days prior to departure is approximately 4% cheaper thanbooking six months in advance.Tip #11: Take public transportation to and fromthe airport.Every one of the major European cities we cover on EuroCheapooffers public transportation from the airport to the center of town, andthe majority offer both train and bus options. For more informationabout these, check out the “Getting In” articles in each of our cityguides.Tip #12: Think twice before booking a rail pass.Itʼs easy to forget that European rail passes purchased outside ofEurope, such as the Eurailpass, are not always a good deal. Sure,they offer some convenience and peace of mind, but they often donʼtsave you money over simply buying individual point-to-point railtickets (like the millions of Europeans who take trains daily). Theexception here is if you plan to fill your trip with numerous long-distance trips by train. Plot it out and compare the prices.
  6. 6.  Tip #13: Book major train tickets in advance.We recommend booking long-distance train tickets in advance,directly with the European railways themselves, like the SNCF(France), Deutsche Bahn (Germany), Trenitalia (Italy) and Renfe(Spain). For long-distance train travel, ticket prices climb as the traveldate approaches, so advance booking is essential to getting a deal.Furthermore, most of these railways offer discounted “saver” ticketsthat sell out quickly.Tip #14: Know the real cost of renting a car.How much will that rental car really cost you? When you do a quickrental car search online, the rates you see will most likely not includetaxes or insurance, and certainly wonʼt include the price of gas or thetolls that youʼll pay on major highways. And what about parking? Addit all up in advance to know what the total cost will likely be.Tip #15: When traveling within Europe, knowwhether it makes more sense to fly or take a train.Decide carefully between flying and taking the train around Europe.Calculate the real travel time of the trip, adding in time to and from theairport and time for security. Also add up the real cost of the flight,including baggage fees and transportation to the airport. And mostimportantly, if the cost and time is equal, which way do you prefer totravel?Tip #16: Also consider taking the “slow train.”When booking train tickets, think outside the high-speed rail network.Every journey deserves time, and in our recent meanderings by railaround Europe weʼve made some engaging slow diversions, favoringrural branch lines that really tap into the spirit of local landscapes.Plus, slowing it down is a great way to also spend less.
  7. 7.  Additional information: • Saving on airfare, rail passes and more. http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/cheapo-basics-10-ways-to- save-on-the-big-items-in-your-travel-budget.html • Considerations before booking rail tickets: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/european-train-travel-some- important-considerations-before-booking-train-tickets.html • Read this before you buy European rail passes: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/what-kind-of-rail-pass.html • Calculating the “real cost” of renting a car in Europe: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/renting-a-car-how-to- calculate-the-real-cost-of-car-rentals-in-europe.html
  8. 8.  Whether youʼre planning to travel for two days or 20 days, where youstay can have a big impact on both your budget and your tripexperience. Here are some tips for booking the right hotels for yourtrip.Tip #17: Think about location before price.We often hear from travelers who book the cheapest hotel they canfind, only to realize itʼs located far outside the center, and isnʼt easilyaccessible to areas they want to visit. This can cause an undueexpenditure of both time and money, but fortunately it can be avoidedwith advance planning. Consider paying just a bit more for somethingmore central or closer to public transportation.Tip #18: Be flexible with your travel schedule.If you plan to visit more than one city during your trip, flexibility withyour itinerary can help save money. For example, if youʼre visitingBrussels and Bruges, know that hotel rates in Brussels are alwayslower on the weekends (because there are fewer business travelers),so why not visit Bruges from Wednesday to Friday and Brussels onSaturday and Sunday?Tip #19: Try to avoid school holidays whenchoosing travel dates.Having a sense of local travel patterns is a smart way of seeingEurope at its best while trimming costs. For example, beware of thelast week of October and first week in November, when two-thirds ofschoolchildren in the European Union have a fall break, and many ofthem hit the road.Tip #20: Shop around for your hotel rates.Once youʼve narrowed your list down to a handful of hotels that lookgood, always compare rates across several reservation websites.Hotel owners frequently use more than one reservation agency to
  9. 9.  manage their bookings, but can charge different room ratesdepending on the commercial terms of their contracts. So shoparound, Cheapos, and compare prices to make sure youʼre gettingthe best deal. (Luckily, when you search on EuroCheapo, wecompare rates from around the web for you. Done!)Tip #21: Consider which amenities you reallyneed, and skip the ones that are just nice to have.When is the last time you had a truly delicious breakfast at a hotel?While they do exist, if it isnʼt included in your room rate, weʼdrecommend skipping it altogether and starting your day at the cutecafé down the street. Itʼll be cheaper. Also, think about the roomamenities that you really need to enjoy your visit. Is a satellite TV anecessity? Do you need air conditioning in Vienna in early June? Thedifference between a one-star and a three-star hotel might be morenoticeable in your wallet than in your room.Tip #22: Donʼt forget about hostels.Consider booking a private room in a youth hostel to save money.Most hostels offer both private and dorm-style rooms, and many havegone to great lengths to shed their image as a lair exclusively forround-the-world backpackers (not that thereʼs anything at all wrongwith RTW backpacking, of course).Tip #23: More stars do not always make a betterhotel.You can be certain that a four-star hotel offers elevators, roomservice, private baths, cable TV, Internet, air conditioning and soforth. But it doesnʼt say anything about the room décor, the hotelʼslocation or the helpfulness of the staff. A four-star hotel may actuallybe far less charming than a two-star hotel.Weʼve visited many hotels that are stuck, for reasons outside theircontrol, with a low star rating. A two-star hotel located in a historic
  10. 10.  neighborhood in Paris, for example, will probably have restrictionsplaced upon its ability to do renovations. This might make adding anelevator impossible, which would prevent the hotel from achievingthree-star status, no matter how lovely the rooms or how cordial themanagement.Also, note that one-star hotels will often offer things for free (likeInternet access) that four-star hotels tend to charge for.Tip #24: Be clear when making your hotelreservation.What exactly are you looking for in a room? Do you prefer one on ahigh floor overlooking the street? Do you like lower floors withwindows opening to the courtyard? Do you want a room with abalcony? Do you need a bathtub instead of a shower?Mention these preferences in your correspondence with the hotelwhen reserving (but keep in mind that youʼre requesting them, notdemanding them). Your requests will almost always be considered.Tip #25: Show up to your hotel early.Although rooms are usually assigned in advance, thereʼs often a bit ofjuggling that goes on during the check-in process. Maybe anotherguest checked in and had an issue with the room. (For example,perhaps two friends had been given a double instead of a twin room.It happens all the time.) Check-in is never flawless, and problemssurface. People switch rooms. Get to the hotel as early as possible tominimize your chances of falling into the last place of a chainreaction.Tip #26: Arriving early? Donʼt necessarily take theonly room available.Your flight arrives early in the morning and you get to the hotel beforecheck in begins. Youʼre tired and want to rest up. The room you were
  11. 11.  originally assigned hasnʼt yet been cleaned, but there is one roomavailable that you could move into now. Beware of that free room!Ask if itʼs the same size and about any other preferences you mayhave. It could very well be the dreaded “worst room in the hotel” (or itcould be perfectly fine). You might be better off leaving your luggageand coming back later to a better room, even if you are a bit tired.Tip #27: Come back early enough to inspect yourhotel room.Say youʼve arrived early, checked in, left your luggage in a luggageroom, and hit the town. Now what? Weʼd recommend, if possible,returning to the hotel early in the afternoon to move into your room.(This isnʼt just about making sure your room is adequate. Itʼs alsoabout leaving your possessions in a luggage room thatʼs shared bycountless others.)Tip #28: If the room isnʼt satisfactory—act quickly.Upon entering the room, look around. Does it work? Be fair.Remember that most European hotel rooms (and especiallybathrooms) are small. However, if the room doesnʼt work for you andyou get the impression that a better room may be available, actquickly.Very important: Do not open your luggage, flop onto the bed, or(especially) use the bathroom. If, for some reason, you want tochange rooms, youʼll need to act quickly, without disrupting anything.In many small hotels, after all, the cleaning staff leaves during theafternoon. In the case of a “sold out” hotel, you will only be able toswap rooms if you havenʼt touched anything.Tip #29: If asking for another room, be nice andoffer a good explanation.This is rather obvious, but if you return right away to the receptionand ask to switch rooms, be as courteous as possible. The
  12. 12.  receptionist, after all, has all the power in this situation.Explain why youʼd like to switch rooms. Had you requestedsomething else when reserving? Are you afraid of bathtubs and needa shower? Do you prefer a quieter room on the courtyard? Offersome sort of explanation—and smile.Tip #30: Regardless of the outcome, thank thereceptionist.Perhaps the receptionist will bump some things around and offer youanother room in the house. Or, perhaps heʼll sigh and apologize, andyouʼll be stuck with your room. Either way, youʼll be seeing thatperson for the rest of your stay, so be nice and thank him for hiseffort.Tip #31: Stuck? Offer to switch the next day.If youʼre stuck in your room and staying for multiple nights, ask if itmight be possible to switch rooms the next day. This often works,although it requires that you re-pack your bags after your first night.(Often the cleaning staff will move your luggage to the new room foryou. Thank them with a tip upon departure.)
  13. 13.  Additional information: • Five tips for finding cheap hotels during the summer. http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/travel-planning-five-tips-for- finding-a-cheap-hotel-during-the-summer.html • What do hotel stars mean? http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/hotel-star-ratings-in-europe- whats-in-the-stars.html • Navigating school holidays when choosing travel dates. http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/planning-tip-navigating- school-holidays-when-picking-travel-dates.html • How NOT to get stuck with the worst room in the hotel. http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/strategy-how-to-not-get-stuck- with-the-worst-room-in-the-hotel.html
  14. 14.  Think the City of Light is going to leave your wallet, um, “light”? Thinkagain, Cheapos. Here are a handful of tips to help make your nextvisit to Paris more affordable - without sacrificing any of the fun!Tip #32: Get thee to the tourist office.We always recommend heading straight to the tourist office as soonas possible. Tourist offices are loaded with information on discountedand cost-free events, free maps, coupons and guides to the city.The Bureau dAccueil Central, or Office de Tourisme et des Congresde Paris, is located at 25 Rue des Pyramides in the 1stArrondissement. It is open daily from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. fromNovember 1 through April 30, and from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. May 2through October 31 (closed on May 1).Tip #33: Invest in the “Paris Museum Pass.”The "Paris Museum Pass," a discount museum card, offersadmission to more than 60 museums, churches and sights in Parisand the surrounding region (including Versailles). The card pays foritself if youre planning to pack your days full with museums andtourist activities. A two-day pass is €39, a pass for four consecutivedays is €54, and a six-day pass costs €69. Another perk: You canskip all those lines and head straight for the museum entrance.Tip #34: Timing is everything.The best time to take advantage of Paris cheap deals is during the"off-season," which is basically the period between November andApril. Lines to museums and shows are shorter, hotels are easier tobook (and much less expensive), and airfares are likely to be much,much cheaper than during the peak season.Tip #35: Know the pros and cons of visiting inAugust.
  15. 15.  Whereʼd everyone go? While the Louvre and Notre Dame are floodedwith tourists from around the world, one piece of Paris is curiouslylacking in August: the Parisians. Neighborhoods around town haveseemingly emptied out and the usually crowded parks and picnicspots have a surplus of vacant space for those left behind. This alsomakes shopping difficult as clothing boutiques, chocolate shops andfromageries all shut their doors for several weeks.Tip #36: Save at the cafés.Cafés in Paris, like much of Europe, charge less for coffee (and otherdrinks) ordered and consumed at the bar. Sure, you could drink thatsame coffee sitting down, but be aware that it might cost you twice asmuch, and even more out on the sidewalk terrace.Tip #37: “Soldes” are your friends."Soldes," a sign youll see in shop windows, means "Sale!" Frenchmerchants are allowed to sell their wares at steep discounts twice ayear - in January and July. This is the perfect time to pick up theauthentic French fashions youve always wanted, without goingunfashionably broke.Tip #38: Take in a free concert or a free movie.Enjoy the free Sunday afternoon concerts in churches around Paris.Pick up the “Pariscope” listings magazine at any newsstand for timesand addresses. During the summer, for example, head to the 19tharrondissement to enjoy an open-air movie (“Cinema en Plein Air”)every night of the week (except Monday). Youʼll get to hang out withlocals AND itʼs free!Tip #39: Stay hydrated for less.Buy your water at the supermarket, never from a sidewalk vendor orthe hotel, where youʼll pay several times the supermarket price. Andwhen your water bottle runs dry, fill it up with cool spring water at any
  16. 16.  of the cityʼs 108 historic “Wallace Fountains.”Tip #40: Get the most out of Versailles.Visiting Versailles? Get the “Passport” in advance and save moneywhen visiting the palace, smaller buildings and gardens. Plus, you getto jump the line, saving loads of time! And when you visit, pack apicnic lunch and enjoy it outside the gates, along the canal.Tip #41: Donʼt forget other nearby day trips.When in Paris, youʼre surrounded by other wonderful day trip options,including Giverny, Rouen, Chartres and Reims—all reachable by trainin under 1 hour 15 minutes, and all very affordable.Tip #42: Keep an eye on that restaurant tab.Donʼt get ripped off in touristy restaurants. Know what is “normal” topay for everyday items, from coffee (€1-2) to a glass of wine (€4).Donʼt pay for “flat” water in restaurants, as all restaurants are legallyobliged to bring a carafe of water to your table. Bread, too, is alwaysfree.Tip #43: Remember the outdoor food markets!Shop in Parisʼ outdoor markets for fresh produce, snacks and lunch.Swing by before they close (usually in the afternoon) to find the realdeals. Ask at the hotel for your neighborhood marketʼs location andtimes.Tip #44: Supermarket wine is not taboo.With aisles devoted to all sorts of regional French wines, Parisiansupermarkets like Monoprix and Franprix are acceptable places tobuy a bottle (or several) for dinner or a picnic. If you want to askquestions or are looking for something specific, however, head to awine shop, or caviste. Nicolas or Le Repaire de Bacchus are two
  17. 17.  such chains found all over the city.Tip #45: Bike it!Step off the Metro and hop on a bike for (nearly) free using ParisʼVélibʼ bike-share program, now accessible to tourists with Americancredit cards. Sign up first online using your credit card, and thenaccess bikes by using your ID number and PIN code. Youʼll spendjust a few euros to join (€1.70 for 1 day, €8 for 7 days), and then getunlimited 30-minute bike rentals for free!Tip #46: Forget about cars and taxis in Paris.Taxis are a hassle: Theyʼre expensive and can be very hard to hail atnight. Youʼll have to wait at a taxi stand, along with everyone else. Beprepared to walk—or choose a central hotel. And never take a taxifrom the airport (unless youʼve got an expense account).Lastly, renting a car in Paris is expensive. Youʼll have to keep itparked, and garages are not cheap. Rent a car only for leaving town,and pick it up on your way out of town, after checking out of yourhotel.Additional information: • EuroCheapoʼs recommended hotels in Paris: http://www.eurocheapo.com/paris/ • Getting around Paris - Metro, buses, airport transportation: http://www.eurocheapo.com/paris/features/getting-around- paris.html • Budget tips for Paris: http://www.eurocheapo.com/paris/features/budget-tips- paris.html • 20 things to consider when choosing a hotel in Paris: http://www.eurocheapo.com/paris/features/considerations- when-choosing-hotel-in-paris.html
  18. 18.   • 55 ways to save on your trip to Paris: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/paris-55-ways-to-save-on- your-trip-to-paris-in-2012.html • 10 ways to save time and see more in Paris: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/paris-10-ways-to-save-time- and-see-more-in-paris.html • 7 ways to avoid crowds in Paris: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/paris-7-ways-to-avoid-crowds- at-sights-stores-and-more.html • 7 things that are always free in Paris: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/paris-7-things-that-are- always-free-in-paris.html • All Paris articles: http://www.eurocheapo.com/paris/features/
  19. 19.  If youre nervous that your Roman Holiday will leave your budget inruins, take a deep breath and read on. Rome is an expensive city, butremember that many of the sights youll want to see are free. Foreverything else, we have a few Cheapo suggestions for surviving theEternal City.Tip #47: Get thee to the tourist office (yep, again)Romes main tourist office is located off Piazza della Repubblica atVia Parigi 5, behind the Baths of Diocletian. It is open Mondaythrough Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.Tip #48: Donʼt worry about getting a museumpass.Museum passes (special tickets allowing for discounted or freeadmission to many museums) are not as well organized in Rome asthey are in other cities. Be sure to check in with a tourist office to seeif there are any new deals, and study which museums are includedbefore making a purchase.Tip #49: Consider picking up an ArcheologiaCard.The Archeologia Card is a great deal for history-crazed visitors toRome. It provides admission to the Colosseum, Palatinum andPalatinum Museum, National Roman Museum, Terme Di Caracalla,Cecilia Metella and Villa dei Quintili. It costs €27.50 for adults. ForEU citizens between 18 and 25 years of age, the Archeologia Cardcosts just €17.50 (however, there may be a surcharge of €2 duringexhibitions).Tip #50: When shopping at a Roman grocerystore, abide by the rules.Heading to the grocery store? Put on the protective gloves before you
  20. 20.  touch fruits or produce. Weigh and label the fruit and vegetables youplan to buy. Bag your own groceries. Bags arenʼt free and will costyou 4 - 10 cents per bag.Tip #51: Canʼt take the Roman heat? Take a dip ina city pool!Take a plunge in one of our favorites: RivaNord (Transport: Tram 2from Piazzale Flaminio to Pinturicchio). La Piscina delle Rose(Transport: Metro A to Termini, transfer to Metro B to EUR Palasport).Blue Wave Team – Sporting Club Ostiense (Transport: Metro B toMarconi).Tip #52: Best of the free - Attend a Papal Mass.On Sundays at noon, the Pope gives a prayer (the “Angelus”) andblesses the crowd of pilgrims in St. Peterʼs Square. Tickets are notrequired to attend this event, so if you want a good spot, be sure toarrive early.Tip #53: Best of the free - ChurchesSome of Romeʼs finest artwork and architectural designs arenʼt foundin museums. Many of the creative masterpieces of Michelangelo,Bernini, Borromini and many others, are actually found in Romeʼschurches. Some real gems include the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva,SantʼIgnazio, Santa Maria del Popolo and, of course, St. PeterʼsBasilica.Tip #54: Best of the free - FountainsThere are an endless supply of fountains in Rome, and seeing themwill cost you nothing (excepting the pennies you toss into them!).Some favorites are the Fontana di Trevi, the Fontana di Quattro Fiumi(Piazza Navona), Fontana delle Tartarughe (Piazza Mattei), Fontanadel Tritone (Piazza Barberini) and Fontana delle Api (Via Veneto).
  21. 21.  A special note about the Trevi Fountain: No one comes to Romewithout making a stop at the grandiose Fontana di Trevi. Whether itbe day or night, itʼs hard not to admire the sheer beauty of thefountain that Federico Fellini chose as his backdrop for his classic,“La Dolce Vita.” Tourists flock in herds to the fountain to throw in acoin. Legend has it that it ensures that youʼll come back to Rome oneday soon.Tip #55: Best of the free - PiazzasWeʼre talking “piazzas,” as in “squares,” not to be confused with thatpopular street food consisting of melted mozzarella cheese andtomato sauce. A favorite Italian pastime is to meet up with yourfriends in the piazza and shoot the breeze. Some of the most popularpiazzas with both tourists and locals alike also happen to be verypicturesque. These should be at the top of your must-see list: Piazzadi Spagna, Santa Maria in Trastevere, Piazza Venezia, Piazza delPopolo and Piazza della Repubblica.Tip #56: Best of the free - RuinsWander up the Via dei Fori Imperiali and see Trajanʼs Market (Mercatidi Traiano), Arch of Constantine (Arco di Costantino), Roman Forum(Foro Romano) and the Palatine Hill (Palatino). This is the heart ofwhat is left of Ancient Rome. You have to pay to get inside theRoman Forum and Palatine Hill, but taking a snap from outside wonʼtcost a thing. You canʼt miss ʻem.Tip #57: Best of the free - Villa BorgheseDubbed the “Central Park of Rome,” the Villa Borghese is one of thefew green spaces in the Eternal City where you can truly relax, take astroll and plan a picnic away from the cityʼs hustle and bustle. Hike upto the spot called the “Pincio” for a birdʼs eye view of Piazza delPopolo and the Roman skyline. Paradiso!Tip #58: Best of the free - St. Peterʼs Basilica
  22. 22.  Thereʼs no structure quite as remarkable as St. Peterʼs Basilica. Theroad and square leading up to the church is just as magnificent.Although thereʼs no cost to get inside, there is a dress code that isstrictly enforced. No shorts and skirts above the knees and no bareshoulders.Make sure to check out the Vatican Grottoes underneath the church,where several Popes (including Pope John Paul II and St. Peter) areburied. And donʼt forget to snap a picture with one of the SwissGuards standing outside!The attached Vatican Museum houses the Vaticanʼs impressive artcollection. This includes no shortage of masterpieces, most notablyMichelangeloʼs painted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. At €15 per adultticket, the museum is not cheap, but itʼs certainly worth it.Additional information: • EuroCheapoʼs recommended hotels in Rome: http://www.eurocheapo.com/rome/ • Getting around Rome - Metro, buses, taxis: http://www.eurocheapo.com/rome/features/getting-around-rome.html • Budget tips for Rome: http://www.eurocheapo.com/rome/features/budget- tips-rome.html • Types of hotels in Rome: http://www.eurocheapo.com/rome/features/types-of-hotels-rome.html • 10 things to do for less than 10 euros in Rome: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/rome-10-things-to-do-for-less-than- 10.html • 5 rules for shopping in a Roman grocery store: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/rome-5-things-to-know-before-shopping- in-a-roman-supermarket.html • 25 free things to do in Rome: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/rome-25- free-things-to-do.html
  23. 23.  Planning a trip to Amsterdam? Here are some suggestions formaximizing your budget, including information on museums, freesights and getting around this curvy city of canals.Tip #59: Get thee to the tourist office (yep, again)The VVV, the official Dutch tourism board, has three offices in townand one at the airport.All VVV tourist offices offer brochures, maps, and tickets to events.The main office in Amsterdam is outside the front doors of CentraalStation. It is open from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily.Tip #60: Consider buying the Museumjaarkaart.The Museumjaarkaart is a good investment for anyone interested intaking advantage of what locals term "Museum Land." The cardcovers admission to more than 400 museums throughout theNetherlands, including biggies like the Rijksmuseum, Van GoghMuseum, and Anne Frank Huis. The museum card is valid for oneyear and costs €39.95 for adults and €19.95 for those under 25.Tip #61: Pay in cash.Forget paying with a credit card in grocery stores, as they only acceptcash or Dutch debit cards. And many authentic Amsterdam cafés(and coffeeshops) only take cash. Save time by always having cashon hand, and use your credit cards for the shops and ATMs.Tip #62: Buy day tickets on public transportation.Yes, you can buy your ticket on the trams and buses, but save time(and annoying people behind you) and buy a day ticket if youʼretaking public transport. This way, you can simply “punch” your ticketwhen getting on and off the tram or bus like everyone else. (Look forthe round pads on the side of the doors that say “OV”.)Tip #63: Go to Anne Frank House... late.
  24. 24.  During high tourist season the Anne Frank House Museum is openuntil 9 p.m. (10 p.m. on Saturdays); and during the off season until 7p.m. (9 p.m. on Saturday). In fact, during July and August themuseum doesnʼt close until 10 p.m. daily. So save time and avoidthat long line by coming later, about an hour before close.Tip #64: Make dinner reservations.Since Amsterdamʼs old city center is well preserved, it also meanscafes and restaurants have a small capacity for patrons. Save timesearching for an open table by simply reserving a place at a café orrestaurant. Call ahead (or stop by) during the afternoon and youshould be fine.Tip #65: Bike around.Waiting around for trams and buses gets old fast – and Amsterdamʼspublic transportation doesnʼt pass by as frequently as in otherEuropean capitals, especially on weekends. Save time (and money)by renting a bike during your stay. Itʼs fun and healthy, and once youlearn the rules of the bike paths, itʼs a breeze!Tip #66: Party outside the center.On weekends the city center is packed with people, mostly foreignersand Dutch people coming to the Dam for a big weekend. Save timeand stay away from the bars and clubs at the big party squares –youʼll spend ages waiting for a drink or club entry. Instead, hit thesurrounding ʻhoods like De Pijp, Jordaan, Oost or Westerpark. Theseareas are more fun, authentic and popular with locals.Tip #67: Book train tickets in advance and usekiosks.It might sound obvious, but itʼs worth repeating: Book train tickets
  25. 25.  from Amsterdam in advance online. Whether you have a print-out onhand or you have to use a kiosk computer at the station, bothmethods are so much faster than waiting in line to buy tickets at thestation. (Of course, checking in for flights in advance and using self-service check in at the airport will also save you loads of time.)Tip #68: Get Dutch-y.Although everyone in Amsterdam speaks English and things arerather international, donʼt spend time searching for your favoriteStarbucks or smoothie chain. Suppress your cravings for tacos andhot dogs – you wonʼt find the real deal here, and youʼll waste valuabletime. Instead, get Dutch. Head for the fries stands, falafel shops andfresh orange juice. Want to taste something exotic? Try Indonesian orSurinamese cuisine, the Mexican and Chinese food of theNetherlands.Tip #69: Donʼt bother getting to the airport tooearly.Be early for your flight, but donʼt overdo it: It takes about 20 minutesto get from Amsterdam Centraal Station to Schiphol Airport. If youʼreflying on a low-cost carrier to another EU destination, gateassignments donʼt even appear on the departure screens until 40minutes before takeoff, so if you only have a carry on, donʼt overdo it.Two hours is just too long for an easyJet flight; 60 to 90 minutes isfine.Tip #70: Best of the free - Ferry rides.All ferries behind Centraal Station are free; pick one and see where ittakes you (the average travel time is just five to 15 minutes).Tip #71: Best of the free - See street art.A walk down Spuistraat will make you feel like youʼve entered a grittyand colorful street art exhibition. Art pieces can scale entire building
  26. 26.  faces, and much of the street is lined with different works side-by-side.Tip #72: Best of the free - Cross the Jordaan.Walking the streets of the Jordaan district is a must for every visitor inAmsterdam. It was once an area for blue-collar workers during the1600s, but now the quaint and cute streets and alleys have beengentrified and host a number of small art galleries.Tip #73: Best of the free - Nieuwmarkt is neat-o.The giant weigh station in the center of Nieuwmarktʼs square, DeWaag, is often mistaken for a castle. However, this was the mainentrance to old Amsterdam before the Golden Ages, and it continuedto attract locals interested in its main 17th-century attraction: publicbeheadings.Tip #74: Best of the free - Free internet (and greatviews) at the library.The public library (OBA) is right next to Centraal Station. Itʼs new andboasts a sleek modern look, with seven floors and the latestcomputers with free internet, free wireless, and even a free piano fortickling the ivory. And if youʼre at the library, youʼll also have to “checkout” one of the best views of the Dam. Head to the top floor wherecafé La Place is located, and outside youʼll find a roof terraceoverlooking the entire city.Additional information: • EuroCheapoʼs recommended hotels in Amsterdam: http://www.eurocheapo.com/amsterdam/ • Getting around Amsterdam - trams, buses, bikes: http://www.eurocheapo.com/amsterdam/features/getting- around-amsterdam.html
  27. 27.   • Budget tips for Amsterdam: http://www.eurocheapo.com/amsterdam/features/budget-tips- amsterdam.html • Types of hotels in Amsterdam: http://www.eurocheapo.com/amsterdam/features/about- amsterdam-budget-hotels.html • 10 ways to save time when visiting Amsterdam: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/amsterdam-10-ways-to-save- time-when-visiting-amsterdam.html • 20 free things to do in Amsterdam: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/20-free-things-to-do-in- amsterdam.html • Favorite late-night snacks: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/amsterdam-5-late-night- snacks-for-cheapos-on-the-prowl.html • Amsterdamʼs museum pass options: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/amsterdams-museum-pass- options-which-is-a-better-deal.html • When to visit Amsterdam (and which dates to avoid): http://www.eurocheapo.com/amsterdam/features/when-to-visit- amsterdam.html
  28. 28.  Although undeniably pricey, London is full of budget-friendly bits.Weve staked out some of the best deals, including a few choicefreebies. Take note of these tips and you, too, can be a Cheapo inHer Majestyʼs city.Tip #75: Get thee to the tourist office (yep, again).London boasts more than its share of tourist offices; perhaps theeasiest and most central is the Piccadilly Circus Information Centre,located in the Piccadilly Circus Underground station. Itʼs open dailyfrom 9:15 a.m. until 7 p.m. and offers information on seasonal deals,events and free activities.Tip #76: No need to fret about a museum pass.Most national museums in London are completely free, a fact thatmakes visiting this most expensive of cities just a bit less daunting forCheapos. Cultural freebies include the Tate, Tate Modern, NationalGallery, British Library, London Cartoon Gallery, RIBA ArchitectureGallery, British Museum, Imperial War Museum,Victoria and AlbertMuseum, Museum of Childhood and Science Museum.Tip #77: Donʼt rely on your walking shoes.If youʼre planning to really explore all that London has to offer, donʼtmake the common mistake of assuming that the city is easilytraversed on foot alone. Itʼs not and never will be. With the exceptionof a few Tube stops clustered between Piccadilly Circus and Holborn,it would take a very long time to walk between most stations. Whichbrings us to...Tip #78: Make sure you have an Oyster card.The Oyster Card is a small plastic card that you “top off” with yourcredit card and swipe to get around town, just like the locals. Itʼs thecheapest way to pay for single trips on the London Underground (TheTube), bus, tram, Docklands Light Railway (DLR), National Rail
  29. 29.  Service and London Overground. You can get your Oyster card atTube stops and Travel Information Centres by paying a £5 deposit.Tip #79: Ditch the tourist bus and take the RV1.When youʼre out and about in London, you may be tempted to giveone of those open-top sightseeing buses a go. Well, theyʼll set youback a whopping £23. So hereʼs an idea for Cheapos: One of centralLondonʼs public transport bus routes, the RV1, takes in an incrediblenumber of sights and is a whole lot cheaper. Pay with your Oystercard (max £1.35) and bag a seat next to the window. This is a greatoption in the winter, as shivering in the rain on an open top bus iscertainly not our idea of fun!Tip #80: Cruise down the Thames with yourOyster.Another perk to using your Oyster card is that it includes discounts onThames riverboat routes, meaning that you can opt for publictransport and forgo the overpriced tourist boats along the Thames.Oyster Travelcards will get you 1/3 off any of the public boat serviceson the Thames, while Oyster “pay as you go” will get you a 10%discount on KPMG Thames Clippers riverboats.Tip #81: Take an easy day trip to Cambridge.Once youʼve pounded the streets of London visiting museums andemptying your wallet at the shops, youʼll likely be in need of somefresh air. Cambridge makes for an ideal getaway from the hectic buzzof London, and best of all, itʼs easily doable in a day. Fast trains leavefrom London Kings Cross to Cambridge twice an hour, and thejourney takes just 45 minutes. You can also catch the (somewhatslower) train from Liverpool Street Station, which takes 1 hour 10minutes.
  30. 30.  Tip #82: Best of the free - Sample your waythrough Borough Market.Situated in an immense open-air space under a Victorian-stylewarehouse roof, Borough Market is Londonʼs oldest food market.Serving up fine artisan cured meats, French cheeses, fresh oysters,cider, organic fruit and vegetables, homemade cakes, mushroompate and everything in between, the market is one of the best of itskind. Ask for free samples!Tip #83: Best of the free - Spend an afternoon onHampstead Heath.Escape to more than 800 acres of parkland to the north of the city.The heath offers bags of space to run around, hills to roll down, pluspools, ponds and signposted walks. Thereʼs a wealth of family-friendly pubs around the edges; better still, pack a picnic and havelunch perched on a hill overlooking the city.Tip #84: Best of the free - Childʼs play at theNatural History Museum.Keep little ones and teenagers intrigued on a shoestring budget witha day trip to the Natural History Museum. The impressive cathedral-like structure plays host to one of the largest natural historycollections in the world. It includes everything from microscopic slidesto mammoth skeletons, a dinosaur gallery, and a life-size model of ablue whale.Tip #85: Best of the free - Cultural pursuits at theBritish Library.If you love reading, especially in the confines of a tranquil space, atrip to the worldʼs largest library is a worthwhile (and free) way tospend an afternoon. The British Library holds more than 150 million
  31. 31.  items, from The Beatles manuscripts and the notebooks of Leonardoda Vinci to works by Karl Marx, Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens andGeorge Bernard Shaw. Grab a coffee and one of your favorite reads,and camp out in one of the many comfortable reading rooms.Tip #86: Best of the free - An urban walk along theSouthbank.Entertain yourself without opening your wallet by taking a blissful walkalong the Southbank of the River Thames. There are always freeevents (live music, dance, theatre, book readings, workshops andmore) going on day and night, and even when there is a dry spot,there are plenty of other attractions in the area.Tip #87: Best of the free - Take in the view fromWaterloo Bridge.Of Londonʼs 33 bridges that cross the River Thames, Waterloodefinitely offers the most impressive views. Looking east you can takein St. Paulʼs Cathedral, the Gherkin, the Oxo Tower, Somerset Houseand the National Theatre. Look westward and you can take in thebustle of busy shoppers and street performers along the South Bank,as well as the London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.Visit during the day to take photos and in the evening to admire it alllit up.Additional information: • EuroCheapoʼs recommended hotels in London: http://www.eurocheapo.com/london/ • Getting around London - Tube, buses, Oysters: http://www.eurocheapo.com/london/features/getting-around- london.html • Budget tips for London: http://www.eurocheapo.com/london/features/budget-tips- london.html
  32. 32.   • Types of hotels in London: http://www.eurocheapo.com/london/features/about-london- hotels.html • Best views in London for free: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/london-the-best-views-in-the- city-for-free.html • Day trip from London, Cambridge: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/cambridge-an-easy-and- affordable-day-trip-from-london.html • 20 free museums in London: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/london-budget-survival-guide- 20-free-museums.html
  33. 33.  Why is it that the most charming cities are always so expensive? Ifthe thought of having to sell your car to finance a trip to Venice wakesyou out of your romantic reverie, donʼt despair. Follow our lead forways to enjoy the floating city without drifting away in debt.Tip #88: Get thee to the tourist office (yep, again).One convenient APT tourist office is located at Piazza San Marco,directly opposite the Basilica; doors are open daily from 9:30 a.m.until 3:30 p.m. Check on free and cheap events, including churchconcerts and guided walking tours.Tip #89: Bring your most comfortable walkingshoes.Venice is a car-free city where walking is a real treat. And while itʼs arelatively compact place, youʼll be hoofing it all day over cobblestonesand up and down bridges. Try to minimize the physical challenges bywearing your best walking shoes.Tip #90: Get lost.In this city of astonishingly angled alleyways, more than 100 canals,and innumerable bridges, allow yourself to fold up the map and justwander. Youʼll find your way home eventually.Tip #91: Donʼt sit down for a snack in St. MarkʼsSquare.Venice is notorious for its mediocre and overpriced food. You can findgood food in Venice, but itʼs often still going to be on the expensiveside -- and not in the most popular squares. Nowhere is getting a biteto eat more unnecessarily costly than in the bars and restaurantssurrounding St. Markʼs Square. Beware.
  34. 34.  Tip #92: Try cicchetti.A second cousin to Spanish tapas, “cicchetti” are smallish morsels offood, some served hot and some served cold. They are consumedsitting down, at a bar or on the go. Cicchetti generally start at €1 andrise in price according to ingredients and quality. The options areseemingly endless: tiny salami sandwiches, fancy smoked fishspreads served with fresh bread or crostini toasts, deep-friedmozzarella... anyone hungry?Tip #93: Grab a group for that gondola ride.If youʼve got your heart set on a gondola ride but are (rightfully)scared off by the cost, try going with a group. Gondola rides arepriced by the ride itself, not by the number of passengers in thegondola, so if youʼve got a group willing to split the cost, itʼsimmediately much more budget-friendly.Tip #94: Take a vaporetto ride to San GiorgioIsland.An important Benedictine monastery was built on the small island ofSan Giorgio by Andrea Palladio. It is designed around the church andtwo cloisters. Since 1951, it has been run by the Giorgio CiniFoundation. Take the short vaporetto ride to the island and enjoy theview.Tip #95: Best of the free - Explore the Lista DiSpagna and the Strada Nuova.Every single guidebook in the world tells you to avoid the crowdedLista di Spagna and the Strada Nuova. But we donʼt mind it. If youlike window shopping, walking slowly, and seeing lots of people, youmust give it a stroll.
  35. 35.  Tip #96: Best of the free - La Passeggiata AlleZattere (Walk in Zattere).The Fondamenta delle Zattere is a long promenade in Dorsoduro,overlooking the Canal of the Giudecca and extending for about onekilometer from Stazione Marittima a San Basilio up to Punta dellaDogana, where the Canal enters the Bacino di San Marco. Strollingthe Fondamenta is a favorite pastime of locals, especially on Sundayafternoons.Tip #97: Best of the free - Lido Beach.Take a daytrip to Lido, Veniceʼs beachy island. This is traditionally theplace where Venetians go during the hot and stuffy summer monthsto cool off in the Adriatic Sea. Take line 61/62 to get directly fromPiazzale Roma to the Lido.Tip #98: Best of the free - Visit the cityʼs privateart galleries.There are many museums in Venice, but there are also myriadprivately owned art galleries. These are free to enter and display awide variety of work from both local and international artists. Somegalleries to consider include: the Contini Art Gallery (S. Marcon°2675/2769, Calle dello Spezier), the Galleria dʼArte lʼOcchio(Dorsoduro 181-185 near the Peggy Guggenheim Collection) and theGalleria Ravagnan (Piazza San marco, 50A)Tip #99: Go church-hopping.St. Markʼs Basilica is gorgeous, free to enter, and rightfully the mostfamous religious building in Venice. However, glance around the cityskyline and youʼll see plenty of other buildings topped with crosses.Some of those churches charge a small entry fee, but many arecompletely free to enter–and free is a very good price.
  36. 36.  Tip #100: Best of the free - Tour the Squero SanTrovaso and find out how gondolas are built.This squero (“boatyard”), located along the Rio San Trovaso anddating back to the 17th Century, is one of the few still operating inVenice. Take a tour and see gondolas being built and repaired. Thetour usually lasts 30 minutes and is free.Additional information: • EuroCheapoʼs recommended hotels in Venice: http://www.eurocheapo.com/venice/ • Getting around Venice - Boats, water taxis, gondolas: http://www.eurocheapo.com/venice/features/getting-around- venice.html • Budget tips for Venice: http://www.eurocheapo.com/venice/features/budget-tips- venice.html • 5 simple ways to save in Venice: http://www.eurocheapo.com/venice/features/budget-tips- venice.html • 10 things to do for under 10 euros: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/venice-10-things-to-do-for- less-than-10.html • Lesser-known museums worth visiting in Venice: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/venice-lesser-known- museums-worth-visiting.html • Save on vaporetto tickets with a Tourist Travel Card: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/venice-save-on-vaporetto- tickets-with-a-tourist-travel-card.html • Cicchetti - Cheap Venetian Delights: http://www.eurocheapo.com/venice/features/cheap-eats- venice.html
  37. 37.  We hope these 100 tips have given you plenty of ideas for easy waysto save while youʼre on the road. And while this list represents onlythe tip of the Cheapo-iceberg, there is one last tip thatʼs a cut abovethe rest and deserves its own special mention:Tip #101: Enjoy yourself.Whether youʼre revisiting a favorite cafe in Paris, strolling across ahistoric bridge in Prague or taking your first trip to Berlin, youʼretraveling. What could be better? We hope you have a fun, safe andhappy journey--wherever youʼre headed to next.For many more tips in these (and dozens more) cities in Europe,please join us on http://www.eurocheapo.com.

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