Euro pinchers share strategies

These 10 tips might provide tourists a bit of relief from an unfavorable exchange rate

The Smart Traveler

September 02, 2007|By Michelle Higgins | Michelle Higgins,New York Times News Service

Beating the euro is a hot topic among travelers these days. Here are 10 suggestions, gleaned from New York Times readers, for saving money on a European vacation.

1. Take the least expensive route to Europe you can find, even if the destination wasn't in your plans. Then use a low-cost carrier like Ryanair to fly on to a city on your list.

AFGHANISTAN Lonely Planet / $18.19

Lonely Planet has issued its first guide to Afghanistan. This is not the typical guidebook for the typical tourist; it is meant for those visiting the country on business, as well as for the few independent ones who are up for the challenge. The book includes an essay about women in Afghanistan and several chapters on history and culture, along with a feature on the 1960s and '70s, when Afghanistan was a popular spot on the "Hippie Trail." But the most important section, according to the author, Paul Clammer, is the chapter on safety. "It's the absolute key to the book," he said, stressing the importance of staying on top of the news.

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[NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE]

CYCLING

Pedal to Pittsburgh

Here's a way to kiss summer goodbye: Bicycle from Washington to Pittsburgh using more than 300 miles of off-road trails through retired railway corridors. The Great Allegheny Passage, a 132-mile path from suburban Pittsburgh to Cumberland, links to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath to Washington. The Allegheny trail has an average grade of less than 2 percent, so the average cyclist should be able to complete the route in about a week (two weeks for hikers), trail authorities say. Lodging options include campsites and hotels. For more information, go to atatrail.org.

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[NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE]

ITALY

Rome's present-day gladiators

"I will endure to be burned, to be bound, to be beaten and to be killed by the sword" is not the typical oath uttered by tourists visiting Rome. But the Rome Cavalieri Hilton (cavalieri-hilton.it) aims to change that with its gladiator training program. The hotel has joined with the Roman Historical Society to offer a two-hour fitness session. Participants don full gladiator garb, then learn combat moves with a rudis, or wooden training sword. Afterward, gladiators forgo death in favor of a massage in the spa. The program costs 500 euros, or about $690, plus 200 euros for the massage.

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[NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE]

10 FOR THE ROAD

Best hotels in the world

The best hotels in the world, from Travel + Leisure's 2007 readers' poll:

1. Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India

2. Singita Sabi Sand / Kruger National Park, South Africa

3. The Oriental, Bangkok, Thailand

4. Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet, Turkey

5. The Milestone, London

6. Relais Il Falconiere, Cortona, Italy

7. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sands, South Africa

8. Mandarin Oriental, Munich, Germany

9. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Hawaii

10. Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur, India

AIRLINES

Delta enlists top chefs

Delta seems to be getting more serious about the food it is serving to passengers -- at least to those willing to pay for it. Starting Sept. 13, the airline will feature entrees created by Miami chef Michelle Bernstein for first-class passengers on flights from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. Choices include short ribs in a red wine sauce. In November, celebrity chef Todd English will introduce a for-sale menu for coach passengers on the same routes, as well as flights to cities like Atlanta and Las Vegas. Items under consideration are spinach salad and hummus. Prices are expected to range from $3 to $10.

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[NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE]

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