Summer time, and the living is easier than it’s been for a while – and so is taking a vacation abroad.  For anyone hankering for Europe, the good news is that euros are trading at around $1.27, and travel budgets will stretch a little farther than last year.  Hotel prices are averaging $142 per night across 38 countries – a little over $5.00 more than in 2009, when a weak travel season spurred heavy discounting, and $26 lower than in 2008 (STR Global, in  Best of all, tour operators are offering eminently affordable travel deals that go beyond the usual air/hotel combo to offer in-depth experiences of national cultures. 

For those travelers following our SPOTLIGHT ON PORTUGAL this week at our sister site,, here’s a Portugal deal just begging to be seized. 

Portugal is smokin’ hot since the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue was shot in Lisbon.  Prices haven’t risen to match, however, and Portugal remains one of Europe’s most affordable destinations.  Here, even high-end hotels and tours come in at much less than one might think, such as Tours for You’s Elegantly Portugal package.  On this eight-day/ seven-night tour, all hotels are Relais & Chateaux, Design Hotels and Small Luxury Hotels of the World properties, each inaugurated or refurbished in 2009 and 2010.

Prices start from 985 euros per person based in four-star hotels or from 1360 euros in five-star and Relais & Chateaux hotels.  Tour includes three nights in Lisbon, one night in Coimbra and three nights in Porto.  The price also includes daily breakfast, a private transfer by Mercedes from Lisbon¹s Airport to the Hotel; deluxe touring transportation (coach, mini-bus, or tourism van); licensed private English-speaking guide throughout the itinerary; visits and entrance fees; wine tasting at traditional wine estate in the Alentejo, and lunch at Manor House ‘Casa de Juste.’

For information and bookings, visit

photo by JPauloP 

Source: O’Brien & Co, Inc.