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Is traveling in Europe really THAT much more expensive than in North America?

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What with the plunge of the dollar, etc., there is no question that European travel is now quite expensive. Yet -- at least when perusing travel brochures from various tour companies -- I find that the cost for a similar length trip to many locations in the US and Canada is nearly the same. Granted, these figures don't usually include airfare.

I am aware of the various things one can do to lessen the expenses of any trip when using an itinerary of one's own design (as done by most posters here). Still, my perception is that -- for similar levels of lodging, meals, etc. -- there is really not much difference in cost to travel in Europe vs. North America. Am I mistaken?

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