Great idea Dru!
Yes, good idea especially for those with contact lenses as I found years ago.Good info on finding less expensive places to stay (unfortunately the dollar just isn't worth much anywhere in Europe anymore).But, I wanted to mention a problem and see if you can give some good way around it. And that is finding a smoking room in a hotel (how about that apartment in Paris?). It varies by state in the US and by country elsewhere. We are going to England next month for a week and it took a while to locate hotels that still have smoking rooms there (no B&Bs in the UK are allowed by law to allow smoking so keep that in mind, but hotels still have the option and Berlin is just as difficult so go for an apt. there). Granted, the UK is one of the most repressive anti-smoking places next to Washington State and Calif. Living here in Spain it would rarely be a problem since it so much more easy going and much less of a "Nanny State" so there is a lot more freedom. But it is a good point for lots of people. The same applies to cruises. The problem with hotels and cruises is that the ones we've looked at usually don't even mention their smoking policies up front on their websites which is kind of cowardly. You have to e-mail them directly and ask them, as we found out on a cruise we almost booked before we thought to check and found out through an e-mail that we couldn't even smoke on our own private balcony of our stateroom! So we skipped that one.So, a link to anti-smoking laws around the world would be a big help. And if there are any smoking cruises let us know.
Here's an excerpt from the Europe for Visitors site that may be helpful. By the way, our Parisien apartment allows smoking only on the balcony.http://europeforvisitors.com/europe/articles/smoking_in_europe.htmIn recent years, EU countries have begun to enact stiffer anti-smoking laws. Ireland banned smoking in workplaces (including pubs and restaurants) in 2004, Italy followed with a law against indoor smoking in public places in 2005, and France began enforcing a similar law in January, 2008. Other Western European countries with smoking bans of varying severity include Belgium, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Spain, and Sweden.Some countries have been slower to jump on the anti-smoking bandwagon, but even Germany--the most significant holdout in Western Europe--is becoming more hostile to smokers with the enactment of a nationwide smoking ban on all forms of public transportation and state-by-state regulation of puffing in pubs, restaurants, and beer tents. (See Deutche Welle article in English.)Note: A few airports, such as Madrid's Barajas and Iceland's Reykjavik, have installed kiosks for smokers that resemble glassed-in bus stops or isolation booths on old TV quiz shows.The kiosks have high-efficiency air filters or exhaust systems, and they let smokers puff away without annoying other travelers.For more information on European smoking policies--and on businesses that cater to nonsmokers--see the Smoke-Free Europe pages at Smokefreeworld.com (which aren't always up to date but provide a good overview of what to expect in various countries).See this link for a list of cruise lines' smoking, or non-smoking, as the case may be, policies. http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=225