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The U.S. dollar is very strong right now, which makes it a very good time to travel to Europe. With the help of Airfarewatchdog.com President George Hobica, the Tingo team has put together some of our best money-saving tips for traveling to Europe.
- Choose your dates wisely. Airfares to Europe are still high, despite the plunge in oil prices. We've seen some better travel deals for dates before mid-June and after mid-August. However, it's good to know that there is no best time of day or week to find a flight deal.
- Sign up for airfare alerts. You can be the first to know of great airfare deals by signing up for Airfarewatchdog.com airfare alerts by email and by following airlines and other travel sites on Twitter.
- Be flexible and open to connections. Search for flights into alternate airports. Also, be open to connections since they might save you money. Turkish Airlines, for example, has some of the best deals to Europe, but you must connect in Istanbul.
- Get to Europe as cheaply as possible. A high U.S. dollar and low euro might actually increase demand for travel from the United States, which can keep airfares high. Just make sure you do your research! It helps if you concentrate on getting to Europe as cheaply as possible, and then you look at discount airlines for flights between European cities later. You can save money by paying the airfare on discount European airlines in euros instead of U.S. dollars on their websites. Don't worry, it isn't a scam, it's just the way their websites are set up!
- Get money back on Tingo. Make sure you book your hotel on Tingo.com. If the price of your room drops, you'll get a refund automatically!
- Check out a rental property. To save money on longer stays, check out FlipKey.com for apartment and home rentals.
- Keep an eye on flash sales. Sites like Jetsetter.com can help you snag a room at a high-end hotel for less.
- Pay for your hotel in euros. When possible, pay in euros rather than U.S. dollars. Many sites will allow you to do this, and you'll save money if the exchange rate works in your favor.
- Use ATMs and bring multiple cards. When you arrive in Europe, use an ATM to get euros. However, before you leave for your trip, make sure to check that your bank doesn't charge a foreign ATM fee and to alert your bank of travel dates and destinations so that your card doesn't get shut off for suspicious purchases. Consider bringing multiple ATM cards in case one of them becomes defective or gets lost.
- Always choose euros. If a merchant or restaurant says you can pay by credit card in U.S. dollars or euros, always choose euros. If you pay in U.S. dollars, the merchant has the ability to set his own exchange rate, which could end up costing you.
About the Author: To learn more about George Hobica, visit him on Google+.