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Practical Information and Travel Tips

Group Travel

Europe on Your Own
Should you see Europe with a group tour or independently? Our article discusses the pros and cons of each.

Rick Steves on Group Travel (Interview)
The guidebook author and TV travel host gives an insider's perspective (with warnings) on escorted tours. Also see our related review of his book, Postcards from Europe.

Internet access

Cellular Abroad's MiFi Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot
Rent a pocket-size device that includes unlimited Wi-Fi bandwidth for up to five smartphones, tablets, computers, etc. at once. (Unfortunately, it's available only to residents of the U.S. and Canada.) From Venice for Visitors.


Languages for Travelers
Before heading off to Europe, get acquainted with the local lingo. Our article includes practical language-learning tips and links to related sites.

Learn a Language in Europe
A language vacation can be a life-enriching experience. Read our advice on how to find a language school, what to expect, and what Durant experienced as a middle-aged language student in Siena, Italy.

Hide This French Book 101
Hide This Spanish Book 101

Berlitz has published "a countdown of the 101 hottest expressions" in two languages. The inexpensive books make great bon voyage or buen viaje gifts for hip travelers and semester- or year-abroad students.


Europe for Pets 
Know the facts about European pet travel before bringing Fido or Fifi.


The Ultimate Camera Bag for Travelers
Martin Billingham of England has designed a nearly perfect hybrid of a camera bag and travel tote.

The Ultimate Travel Camera?
Archived article: A low-end photographer takes a high-end 35mm camera to Europe.


Tax-Free Shopping
Spend enough money in a European shop, and you may be entitled to a refund of Value-Added Tax (VAT). Here's how it works.

Paris Shopping
An illustrated review of Through The Windows of Paris: Fifty Unique Shops, by Michael Webb.

The Riches of Paris
A review of Meribeth Clemente's The Riches of Paris: A Shopping and Touring Guide, with excerpts and links to other resources on Paris and shopping in Europe.


Smoking in Europe  
The stereotype of ubiquitous Gitanes and Gauloises is fading, thanks to indoor smoking bans in an increasing number of Western European countries.


Talk Abroad
If you're visiting from abroad and touring more than one country, Talk Abroad is a convenient way to bring and use a cellular phone.

National Geographic "Duet" D888 Travel Phone
Cellular Abroad now offers a second-generation "Duet Talk Abroad" package with a National Geographic phone that holds two SIM cards for greater economy and calling flexibility.

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Need a car in Europe?

If you live outside the EU, a tax-free Renault or Peugeot tourist car lease can be cheaper than renting for visits of 21+ days. Minimum driver age is 18, there' s no upper age limit, and rates include insurance.

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