I love Rick Steves and used all of his advice while living in Europe - Ibis is another budget chain hotel that can save you $$$. Trains and buses are cheap - we belonged to a ski club and they bussed us everywhere. He's right about cars in any metropolitan city in Italy - SCARY - don't drive if you don't have to - they are crazy over there. Also, the farther east you go, the cheaper it is. Croatia is a beautiful country with lots of history and cheap - how about Slovenia? Gorgeous! Shopping in grocery stores is cheaper and part of the cultural experience - in Germany Pennymarkt and Aldis are great for price conscious shoppers. Plus you get to see what they buy, eat, and use - it's different in Germany, in France, in Poland in Italy. In France, Cora markets are like Costcos. As for knick knacks - he's right, don't buy them on the street - try the department stores or grocery stores! If you like to hike, Europe has trails all over and huts to stay in night to night - frankly, I miss it there - you can rought it with a shower - my kind of roughing!
Deserat aka Bridget
“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” - George Orwell/Winston Churchill