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Chapter 4: American Travel Habits
Eye on Europe
Even with the European Union and European Central Bank in debates over the debt bailout crisis and France’s credit rating downgrade, Europe can still be expensive for Americans. This year the region’s prices as a whole rose by 2%. However there are still chic cities and destinations where bargains abound for U.S. travelers.
Travelers should head to Eastern Europe for deals before the region becomes too popular and prices start to mirror its Western neighbors. Prices rose in these destinations yet many are still less expensive than their Western counterparts.
Here are some of our picks if you’re headed to Eastern Europe:
Bucharest, Romania – $120
Looking for some French influence but don’t want to pay Paris hotel prices? Bucharest, Romania, once known as “Little Paris” or “Paris of the East” for its influence of French architecture possesses average hotel prices around $120.
Bratislava, Slovakia - $123
Looking for less expensive destinations in the same region as Austria and the Czech Republic? Look at regional neighbor Bratislava, Slovakia. Perched on the banks of the Danube River and foothills of the Little Carpathians, Bratislava, the cultural heart of Slovakia is a booming tourist destination. Prices rose 8% over last year but still remain lower than neighboring Vienna ($166) or Prague ($139).
Turkey - $159
As the confluence of Europe and Asia, Turkey continues to climb in popularity as an international destination for Americans. Istanbul in particular rose five spots to rank 28th in the overall list of most visited destinations by Americans. Hotel prices reflected this surge in demand as hotel prices paid rose 7% to $159 but still remain lower than London ($242), Paris ($229) and Rome ($205). Journey outside of Istanbul to Ankara ($117), the capital of Turkey, or Izmir ($127), an international port on the Mediterranean Sea, and travelers will find less expensive hotel prices and tons of Turkish culture. Ankara and Izmir experienced small hotel price declines at 3% and 6%, respectively.
Travelers looking to enjoy Western Europe can also find hotel deals with some careful research. France saw hotel prices rise 7% yet several towns saw prices decline including the French Alps resort town Annecy, France which saw prices drop 5% to $145, and Lyon saw prices drop 3% to $153. The popular Mediterranean beach resorts of Valencia, Spain offer savings, as prices dropped 4%. Many Italian cities saw prices drop as well including Bologna (down 3% - $161) and Trieste (down 2% to $169).