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Hey, thanks for the ideas

October 26, 2008

The Times Travel section asked you to share your tips on saving money while still enjoying vacation. Here are some of your recommendations. For more, go to

Saving money in Europe

Consider attending a language school in a foreign country. Often, such schools will arrange a home stay with a family that can include meals and/or kitchen privileges. I have visited Venice, Italy, four times this way, once staying a month because it was so affordable. I would never be able to afford to spend two to four weeks in Venice otherwise. Of course, you have to attend classes, usually in the morning, but it is a great way to meet other international travelers and learn the language too.

Jill Gluck

West Hollywood


Buy local items in charity shops in Ireland, Wales and England. For example, I picked up a Manchester United footballer shirt (for $10), a Burberry purse ($5) and an Irish wool hat ($4). Others in my tour group laughed until they saw my incredible finds.

Carol Williford

Cedar Creek, Texas


I just came back from France and here are some tips:

If driving, stay in a bed-and-breakfast. The price of the room is for the room, not per person, and breakfast is included. Plus you get the real France.

To save on food, go to a typical French outdoor market and pick up some picnic items; find a glorious spot to sit and take in the countryside without spending lots of euros on a restaurant lunch.

If not driving, stay in a city and make it your home base. Then, immediately go to the tourist office and ask for any passes offered -- bus, train, boat, museum, etc. You can buy them for the amount of time you're in the city.

I recently spent three weeks there and took 600 euros (about $800) out of my checking account and came back with 150 (about $200). So it can be done.

Rosemary Chiaverini

Sherman Oaks


Eating well -- and wisely

To keep under budget abroad, I never eat breakfast in restaurants. The afternoon before, I eat lunch at a busy street vendor in the local open-air market. (In my mind, this lessens the health risk.) I usually chat up the cook and casually ask about who sells the freshest stuff.

I then get fruit, a small bread equivalent and some bottled water for the next morning.

I sometimes also get salad stuff for lunch the same day, placing it all in one of the 50 or so clear, quart-sized plastic bags I've packed (truly an indispensable travel item). It keeps for longer than you might think -- and with my sturdy plastic, camping-gear style fork, knife and spoon, it's all nicely portable. I then walk around and people-watch.

If I do splurge on a restaurant, it's usually at lunchtime; dinners tend to run higher.

Dave Doran

Los Angeles


Using the website is a great way to save money on eating when traveling with children. We used it recently when in San Francisco with our daughter and it worked out very well.

Mimi Schector



Sleeping easy in hostels

Hostels are no longer destination points just for those under 25. They not only provide basic (or better) accommodations for travelers both in the U.S. and abroad, but they also attract folks who are both friendly and willing to generously share a wide variety of information.

Many include breakfast with the cost of an overnight stay. And if you are not too piggish, you can make up your own doggy bag to help sustain you throughout your explorations and excursions. In addition, many offer kitchens, where you will encounter folks who whip up gourmet meals featuring the cuisine of their own countries. It's one more way to explore multicultural cuisines (and tastes) without stressing your budget.

Ruth Kramer Ziony

Los Feliz


Getting around on vacation

I travel frequently to Europe (the Netherlands) and I always rent a car through a nice and cheap agency there. An employee of the company awaits you after customs and walks you to the car, which is just outside the terminal. You can rent a car (automatic, air conditioning) anywhere from about 30 euros ($40) a day. Great company and very friendly.

BB&L Car Rental, 011-31-20-655-7900,

Gerda Jain

Buena Park


This would be a fabulous place for one of your writers to take the two-mile hike and report on the art scene. The free Djerassi Art Tours are out in the middle of a private preserve in San Mateo County, on property used as an artists' retreat. For info, call (650) 747-1250. Check the website for spring and summer tour dates (usually posted in February);

Barbra Nystrom

Diablo, Calif.


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