Got Your Room? 9 More Ways to Save
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Even with the weak dollar, there are ways to save when traveling abroad. Here are nine.
1. Check airline deals. Europe's low-fare carriers are good for more than cheap airfares -- many also sell packages (air and hotel) for a bargain price and offer hotel and car-rental specials. EasyJet has hundreds of packages in dozens of European cities, many departing out of London ( http:/
2. Buy train tickets in advance. Train travel is sometimes more expensive than flying, but you can save by buying tickets online in advance and traveling during off-peak hours. In Germany, weekday, round-trip Deutsche Bahn tickets purchased at http:/
3. Dig deep on tourism Web sites. Tourism bureau Web sites are often loaded with overly rosy descriptions of a place, but some also have good deals. Click on the People Like You tab on Visit London's site ( http:/
4. Evaluate city passes. Many tourism bureaus sell city cards that cover the costs of mass transit and admission to museums and provide discounts to other attractions. To determine whether they're worth it, however, do the math: Sometimes you'll have to go to four or five museums just to break even. For a list of cities with the cards, go to http:/
5. Don't buy single rides. Multi-ride subway cards are almost always a better value than individual tickets. In London, a single tube journey costs a whopping $8, but a one-day unlimited-ride Travelcard runs you just $13.25. An even better value is the Oyster card, which starts at $16 (a $6 refundable deposit for the card itself and $10 worth of credits toward subway and bus rides). With the Oyster card, a single ride on the tube is $3 to $4, and a day of unlimited transport is $12.25. When you run out of credits, you can reload the card.
6. Use a bike to get around. In Paris, about 20,000 bikes are available for short-term rentals at hundreds of pickup and drop-off spots. You buy a Velib card for $1.50 per day or $7 per week; each bike is then free for the first half-hour, $1.50 for the second half-hour, $3 for the third half-hour, and $6 for every half-hour after that. The bike-rental machines accept only credit cards with smart chips, such as certain American Express cards. Other cities with bike programs: Brussels, Vienna and Helsinki.
7. Skip the train, take a bus. Long-distance bus travel may not be as glamorous as riding the rails, but some bus lines, such as Busabout ( http:/
8. Rent a super-cheap car. If you really need a car, check the prices of rentals at European chains such as EasyCar ( http:/
9. Find the freebies. Scour the Internet before your trip for free museums, concerts, cultural events and activities -- you may be surprised by what's out there. The Visit Oslo Web site, for instance, has an extensive list of free festivals and museums ( http:/