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Old 12-10-2009, 02:06 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,822 posts, read 56,000,461 times
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Even on those tour group visits to a city, when they let you out to get lunch "on your own", walk away from the main street that is for tourists! Look for smaller places on side streets - follow your nose. I've done that in many cities and found good local places w/reasonably priced meals. Sometimes they don't speak much English or the menu ian't translated, but they also have pictures. It's much more fun than sticking to the tourist traps.
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:31 AM
 
Location: CLT native
4,280 posts, read 10,052,375 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthernBelleInUtah View Post
Even on those tour group visits to a city, when they let you out to get lunch "on your own", walk away from the main street that is for tourists! Look for smaller places on side streets - follow your nose. I've done that in many cities and found good local places w/reasonably priced meals. Sometimes they don't speak much English or the menu ian't translated, but they also have pictures. It's much more fun than sticking to the tourist traps.
+1

Our usual rule is that if a menu has an english translation, we avoid it.
It is more fun to wing it.

If nothing else, just learn the basic words of the foods where you will be visiting.
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:36 AM
 
Location: southern california
55,665 posts, read 74,612,986 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneyear View Post
Euro's and Europe{aka amsterdam} will rip you off!!

Just ask this Canadian that had a son and daughter travel for 1 week. Watch your baggage!! Water is 7 euros??? what?? Beer is cheaper than water? I don' t get it. It"s amazing the cost to visit the UK. If you are going to go, check everything online.
i guess its a matter of perspective-- i think paying for the kids to go to europe is ripoff and its usually not papa's idea.
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:27 AM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,331,065 times
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It really depends where you go. London, Paris & Amsterdam are expensive .... but not more so than New York. The Loire Valley in France or Andalucia in Spain are much less expensive and, IMHO, much more fun.

Being just a little bit street smart helps too. If you want water, go to the local supermarket and buy a 6 pack or a couple of big bottles. Don't eat breakfast at the hotel (usually a rip-off) unless it is included, go to the cafe next door and get a coffee & croissant. In the UK (yep even in London) you can usually find a cafe that will do a full cooked breakfast for around £5 - £7. In the UK, pub lunches are great value and decent quality. You will find the pub is full of Brits doing the same. If the weather is nice, go to the supermarket and buy bread, cheese ham, etc. and have a picnic. In France, most restaurants will do a fixed price dinner. The menu and the price is usually displayed outside the restaurant so you can "window shop". If you want to enjoy a glass of wine in the evening, you can always buy a bottle at the local supermarket and take it back to your room.

Look for transportation deal like the "carnet" for the Paris metro or the day passes on the London Underground. In Paris you can also buy a museum card which is pretty good value and also allows you to jump the line at the entrance.

For hotels, check the main business chains like Hilton or Novotel. You can often get a deal by paying up-front with no refund on cancellation. They are also much cheaper on the weekends when the businessmen are not there. It can be a lot cheaper to get a hotel for the weekend in a business district like La Defense in Paris and then get the metro into the tourist areas. In London, I have often stayed at the Novotel in Hammersmith which is cheaper than trying to stay right in the centre (30 mins on the tube). Hammersmith is also cheaper for restaurants and pubs.

One of the main problems at the moment is the dollar/Euro exchange rate. Not a lot we can do about this unfortunately.
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:47 PM
 
Location: Beautiful New England
2,412 posts, read 6,466,896 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggy001 View Post
It really depends where you go. London, Paris & Amsterdam are expensive .... but not more so than New York.
EXACTLY! People go to NYC and eat at delis near Times Square (i.e. in the heart of midtown, mid 40's and 6th/7th...aka tourist central) and are shocked at the prices. If they would only walk about 4 blocks east or west, however, they would find prices that are about half of Touron-ville.

The moral of the story is that if you only go where the tourists go, you will pay tourist (i.e. high) prices. The fewer locals that are near you the more you know you're probably getting ripped off.
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:24 PM
 
4,805 posts, read 20,234,907 times
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Quote:
Euro's and Europe{aka amsterdam} will rip you off!!

Just ask this Canadian that had a son and daughter travel for 1 week. Watch your baggage!! Water is 7 euros??? what?? Beer is cheaper than water? I don' t get it. It"s amazing the cost to visit the UK. If you are going to go, check everything online.
Why do I get the sneaking suspicion that anyone reading this thread doesn't need this advice?

How does someone even manage to buy a plane ticket, fly thousands of miles, get a hotel room, and navigate a city without ever having done any research, internet or otherwise?
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Old 12-12-2009, 10:09 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 19,348,200 times
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Originally Posted by decafdave View Post
It's expensive only if you make it so. If you want to go to the poshest place then you can expect ridiculous prices! You could easily have had a laid back and filling meal of Belgian cuisine for under 10 Euro.
Absolutely, Decaf Dave! I was DUMBFOUNDED by my fellow Americans that would pay obscene prices for a hotel instead of getting a room in a pension and (gasp!) sharing a bathroom down the hall. For me, the best part of a German pension was the great breakfast (included) with those tasty Brötchen rolls!
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Old 12-12-2009, 10:18 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 19,348,200 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kodaka View Post
Why do I get the sneaking suspicion that anyone reading this thread doesn't need this advice?

How does someone even manage to buy a plane ticket, fly thousands of miles, get a hotel room, and navigate a city without ever having done any research, internet or otherwise?

While I was stationed in Germany, I was always amazed at the number of Americans who booked those "see every country in Western Europe in 7 days" tours. Granted, for someone who has never traveled overseas, they're a great way to get an orientation. But having some latitude to get out on your own makes a visit SO much more interesting. But I guess not everyone is comfortable doing that. Unfortunately, it's many of those that will retun home and complain about how expensive things are and so on. I encountered more than a few American servicemembers and their family members that complained the whole time they were stationed overseas. Instead of getting out and truly seeing the country they were stationed in and understanding it like nobody on a guided tour ever could...
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Old 12-12-2009, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Fairfax
2,880 posts, read 6,167,875 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post
Absolutely, Decaf Dave! I was DUMBFOUNDED by my fellow Americans that would pay obscene prices for a hotel instead of getting a room in a pension and (gasp!) sharing a bathroom down the hall. For me, the best part of a German pension was the great breakfast (included) with those tasty Brötchen rolls!
Well, I suppose if you're on some kind of corporate expense account than sure, go for the best, but it's ridiculous to then complain of prices! Besides, what kind of experience is staying at a hotel with other rich foreigners like you said? When I backpacked through Europe I stayed in hostels ranging from 6/room to 24/room! Occasionally, I splurged and got my own room at a pension but meeting both locals and fellow travelers were absolutely the highlight of my trip.

Even if I wasn't a poor student I'd only stay at a nice hotel maybe once a week.

Some of the hostels had decent breakfasts with meat. And how I miss a leisurely breakfast of bread with Nutella, fruit, and a cappuccino!
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Old 12-12-2009, 01:52 PM
 
26,589 posts, read 52,286,267 times
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No doubt is easy to spend money in Europe...

To blame a continent for instead of poor planning isn't useful.

When I travel I still find I can do it quite reasonably...

Air fare has never been less expensive to start.

Staying in local family owned bed and breakfasts is extremely reasonable and my preferred way... big city hotels are very much the same anywhere in the world and I prefer to avoid them...

One night in a Five Star can easily pay for 7 days in very nice Bed and Breakfasts in Austria and Germany.

Food has tremendous variety and a meal can cost a couple of dollars or hundreds... the choice is yours.

My major expense is traveling by car... it's a choice I make ahead of time and I know what it will cost before I ever leave home.

Sorry about your bad experiences... I hope you didn't leave the Europeans with a bad impression of Americans...

Generally, being respectful and aware that you are a guest in another country will help you have an enjoyable experience...
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