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Europe Tips

Europe Tips

Mar 27, 2011

When, where and how much to tip is a common question.  Here are some suggestions for a few European countries.   FRANCE At Restaurants: The words service compris on your bill mean no tip is required, but most locals leave up to 10 percent in coins. Tipping at bars is not expected. At Hotels: One euro per bag; 1–2 euros for a housekeeper; 10–15 euros per restaurant reservation made by a concierge—half on arrival at the hotel, half at the end. Guides and Drivers: About 25 euros per person per day for guides, and up to 50 euros for one who’s nationally certified; a separate driver should get about half of that. Give 10–20 euros for private airport transfers, depending on the driver’s wait time and the in-car amenities, and a euro or two for taxi drivers, depending on how helpful they are. GERMANY At Restaurants: Ten to 15 percent to the waiter or bartender—just add it to the bill. At Hotels: Three euros per bag for the porter; 5 euros per night for the housekeeper; 20 euros for a helpful concierge. Dollars Accepted?: Yes, but euros are recommended. P.S. Despite its reputation for precision, Germany has no hang-ups about generous tipping. ITALY At Restaurants: Leave as close to 10 percent as is convenient, but no more. At Hotels: Porters, 5 euros; housekeepers, 1–2 euros per night, more for extra service. (or 15–20 percent of the tab). Who Else?: Despite the old-world romance of a ride on the canal, tipping gondoliers and vaporettos isn’t customary. Dollars Accepted?: Yes, but euros are much preferred. SPAIN At Restaurants: If the service is good, round up the bill to anywhere from 7 to 13 percent and leave it in cash, not on a credit card, says Virginia Irurita of Madrid’s Made for Spain travel agency. If the service isn’t good, she says, “you can leave the table without giving a tip and nobody will say a word. Americans are coming here and leaving 20 percent, so some waiters are getting spoiled.” At Hotels: Tip concierges who do you a special favor 5 to 10 euros, cleaning staff about 5 euros a day (up front if you want...

Avoid Long Lines

Avoid Long Lines

Mar 17, 2011

While visiting Europe the long lines at tourist sites can sometimes take hours to purchase an entry ticket…and can lead to short tempers and missed opportunities. However…did you know you can often purchase advance or special entry passes through a website affiliated with the attraction or city.  Dodge the queue at more than fifty English sites including the Tower of London and Windsor Castle with London Pass.  Likewise, Paris Museum Pass allows you to jump to the front of the line at the Louvre and sixty other monuments in the City of Light. For Berlin’s Neues Museum, book online for timed admission.  Avoid the long wait at the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum by prebooking your visit through Museum Rome (two-hour private tours for around $70 per person). And the Museo del Prado in Madrid offers discounted advance admission on its website. Kevin Gragg Travel Consultant Dancing Moon Travel kevin@dancingmoontravel.com      ...

Pack Like a Pro – Part 2

The Luggage Packing Tips below will help you do everything from reducing wrinkles in your clothes to lightening your travel load. Part 1 of “Pack Like a Pro” (02/21/2011) was about the preparation stage …now it’s time to actually start packing!! • Put socks, rolled belts and other small items inside shoes to save space and keep shoes from being crushed. • Use the Overlapping Method for longer items like pants and dresses. For example, when packing long pants in a suitcase, drape the pants lengthwise allowing the bottom ends to hang over one edge of the case. Next, pack other soft items on top of the pants. Then, gently fold the bottom end of the pants back over on top. The idea is to wrap the pants around softer items to avoid sharp creases and reduce wrinkles. • Roll T-shirts, pajamas, undergarments and other casual wear to fit in the corners of your suitcase. • Pack underwear last since it can be stuffed in any available spaces. • Pack hanging clothes in plastic dry cleaner bags to greatly reduce wrinkling. • When using a garment bag, use wire hangers whenever possible instead of larger wooden hangers in order to save packing space. • Double-up pants, ties and scarves under each jacket to reduce bulk. • Pack shoes in fabric shoe mittens to avoid soiling your clothes. • If you need a hat on your trip, pack one that can be folded up in your suitcase and pop back into great shape. • Don’t pack your case so full that you have to force it shut. Even the best hinges and zippers can be damaged by overstuffing a bag. Now that you are packed…“Why not go somewhere?”...

Pack Like a Pro

Pack Like a Pro

Feb 21, 2011

The Luggage Packing Tips below will help you do everything from reducing wrinkles in your clothes to lightening your travel load.

Win A European Vacation

Win A European Vacation

Feb 15, 2011

Here is a chance for a once in a lifetime European vacation. You’ll travel throughout the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France, with excursions to major cities, quaint towns and historic sites.

European Wine River Cruise

European Wine River Cruise

Feb 11, 2011

Expand your horizons on a marvelous wine-themed river cruise