Next month, I'll spend two weeks in Europe, finding out just how expensive everything really is.
Already I'm getting a hint, and I'd say that things aren't as bad as I'd feared.
Granted, winter is Europe's least expensive season; prices typically go up in spring, and by June 1 they go through the roof. But if you want to go to Europe before the end of April, you might be surprised.
An excellent hotel in Rome, the Bettoja, is charging $160 per night on Hotels.com for late February. (I'm staying in cheaper digs at Hotel des Artistes for $105 per night, also booked through Hotels.com) While a rental car through Orbitz is pricing out at $400 per week including the taxes, I'm finding the tab about 40 percent less if I prepay the car through Kemwel, and even less through Economy Car Rentals. (Yes, that's for a manual: Thanks, Daddy, for teaching me to drive stick!)
The U.K. is unbelievably expensive...but not as bad as I'd feared. A rental car for five days costs $100 -- yes, that's in dollars. And though hotel prices seem truly staggering, I snagged a rate of about 40 percent less on the hotel I wanted at Lastminute. (The double room, including tax, will cost $120 per night.)
You can follow the daily tab here on my blog once I start my trip, on Feb. 24. Meanwhile, I'll be keeping my eyes open for deals and passing them along.
Here's one worth considering:
- Tourcrafters is offering a six-night package to Sicily including air from New York or Boston for $929 per person, double occupancy. The package includes airfare, hotel and car rental ... making it a seriously good deal. Prices are good through March 20.
AP Photo/Andrew Medichini