How to Travel for Less

A B&B offers double the warmth and cultural intimacy for half the price of a hotel. You'll find them in most countries if you know the local word: Husrom is Norwegian for sobe which is Slovenian for Gästezimmer which is German for rooms in a private home.

Avoid touristy restaurants with "We speak English" signs and multilingual menus. Those that are filled with locals serve better food for less money. I look for a short, handwritten menu in the local language only. Go with the daily specials.

Fly open-jaws — that's into one city and out of another. Save time and money by avoiding a needless costly return to your starting point. When considering the beginning and end points of a long trip, try to start in mild countries (such as England) and work into the places with greater culture shock (such as Turkey). This way you'll minimize stress, and save countries offering the cheapest shopping — and greatest health risks — for the end of your trip.

Travel off-season — generally October through April in Europe. You'll get cheaper airfare, find more budget rooms, spend less time in lines, and meet more Europeans than tourists. Big cities such as London, Paris and Rome are interesting any time of year.

Family-run businesses offer the best values because they employ family members to get around Europe's costly labor regulations. In mom-and-pop shops you're more likely to be served by people who care about their reputation and their customers.