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Deal of the Week: Staying In Germany On The Cheap (8/02/2002)

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While it takes nearly 99 cents U.S. to buy a euro these days -- which is better than the $1.15 U.S. exchange rate when the euro was introduced -- there still seems to be a shortage of tourists, including Americans, in Europe.

So, anything we can throw your way to convince you it's a good time to cross the Atlantic? Sure, that's where our Travel-Expert-in-Residence, Rudy Maxa, comes in. Rudy called us from Berlin...

Well, there's a European airfare sale announced this past week by British Airways. You can fly BA from 20 gateway cities in the U.S., and if you book by August 8th, you can pick up fares through the middle of December as low as $358 between London and New York. Other cities on the Continent are a bit more expensive. Taxes will take the cost to just over $400, and you'll find the lowest fares if you travel mid-week. You'll also get $20 off if you book on the airline's Web site, and you can change your travel dates up until the time you travel with no penalty. And, if you're going elsewhere in Europe, British Airways will let you have two free stopovers in London at no extra charge. Recently, travelers have been paying $600 to $800 for the same ticket.

Once you get to Europe, and Berlin in particular -- where Rudy is -- you'll find deals all over the city.

One of Berlin's best hotels, the Hotel Adlon, offers packages that include room, breakfast, dinner and an evening at the opera, theater or cabaret at a price that's less than if you bought those individual pieces separately.

And, while Berlin is a thriving cultural Mecca, with terrific museums and a lively arts scene, paying "top shelf" for everything might not be everyone's plate of bratwurst. So, you might want to consider renting a private apartment. On berlinzimmer.com (zimmer means "room" in German), some well-located apartments go for $70 a night for two people.

The text is German on the site, but here's the trick: There are photos of the apartments and the prices are certainly understandable, since the euro basically equals one U.S. dollar. To read the descriptions, just copy the words and paste them in the right place at paralink.com, which performs instant translation from German to English, among other languages. Then, you can then write in English and e-mail back to the apartment owner, as if you are fluent in German.

Savvy Resources:

British Airways' tickets-to-Europe sale through August 8: http://www.britishairways.com/summerextend

Hotel Adlon in Berlin: http://www.hotel-adlon.de

Discount hotel rooms and apartments in Berlin: http://www.berlinzimmer.com

Web site that instantly translates German into English, and vice versa: http://www.paralink.com. Click on "Online Translation."

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