Why Europe Is One of Fall's Top Deal Destinations

Hotel prices in many European cities are dropping as much as 37 percent, according to information gathered by Hotwire, one of the top online travel agencies. The report cites three main factors:

  • Excess hotel capacity everywhere. Europe's weak local economy is depressing both business and leisure local travel, and London is suffering a post-Olympic accommodations glut.
  • A stronger dollar. Although the euro has recently climbed from $1.22 to $1.28, it's still well below last fall's rates, which were as high as $1.40.
  • Shoulder-season airfares. There's nothing new here; economy airfares go down every fall, and shoulder season has always been a good deal.

I've always liked Hotwire's data on hotel rates. Unlike many other sources, which tend to report average prices across a wide range of price categories, Hotwire shows data on typical prices travelers are actually paying for the sorts of hotels real-world people use. Hotwire's report shows generally lower prices than those recently reported from Cheaphotels.org, with rates lowest in Budapest ($61), Seville ($70), Valencia ($74), Prague ($77), and Lisbon ($78). Hotwire's most expensive cities—no surprises here—are Paris ($162) and Venice ($148).

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