Subject: Re: The falling dollar
Hi Carol & Other Ziners --

Good topic; I'll be interested in reading your newpaper article. I've got tickets to go to Europe in both January and February. Going off season is one way I'm dealing with the rising Euro. I'd really rather be in Europe in the spring, but airfares increase then and hotels seem to offer fewer deals. In January, I'm flying into Brussels and returning from London. I'm taking advantage of weekend rates at the RadissonSAS in Brussels to get 2 nights for 109 euro per night and only staying one night, Monday, at the full rate. Although I'm spending all day Tuesday in Brussels, I'm going to catch a late EuroStar to Lille, where I'll spend 2 nights (at 105 euro/night) but only one day. Then there's London, where nothing is inexpensive. I did lock in rates of 145 GBP per night for 3 nights by prepaying, but of course there's no refund should I want to cancel. (Although I could take one of the discount carriers that offer great rates between BRU and Stanstead, I'm taking the EuroStar because I've never done the Chunnel before and have always wanted to.) Another way I plan to try to keep costs down is by making lunch my main meal, looking for pubs or cafes for dinner -- I've always found small neighborhood Italian places offer excellent value for money. When I go to Copenhagen in February, I'm again taking advantage of weekend rates at the hotel. Also, instead of going for an entire week, I'm just staying 5 nights. Where breakfast isn't included in my room rate, I avoid the hotel restaurant and instead pick up something at a patisserie or the like, which is always MUCH more reasonable. I'll try to take advantage of discounted rates for museums where possible -- often, if they stay open late one night a week, they have a discounted rate for admissions after the normal closing time. During both trips, I'll be doing more browsing than shopping, though as I should be in Lille and London during sale season, I'm sure I'll do a little buying.

Greg Arlington, VA