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One of the truly wonderful things about having a car in Europe is your ability to select hotels away from the centers of cities and towns. The advantage here is that you can stay in places that are not heavily touristed. Simply type in your search engine, "hotels Germany" or "French castles" and see what pops up.

Tip: The Internet seems to be filled with website companies who "represent" hundreds of hotels throughout Europe. Obviously they are intermediaries that make a commission on the rooms they book. Use these sites to explore hotels that fit your needs and budget. However, you are usually better off booking directly through the hotel's own website. It's also recommended that you call each hotel you'll be staying at before your trip to make sure your reservation is confirmed in their records, and carry a copy of your e-mailed confirmation along on the trip.

It can be a bit tricky finding the specific Internet address of many hotels. For one thing, booking sites do not want you to deal directly with the hotels. With a little persistence and remembering to use the national extensions (.fr, .de, etc.), you'll quickly learn the tricks of tracking down just about anything!.

Tip: Don't forget your hotel points! There is no shame in mixing European hotels with American chains during your trip. Marriott, Hilton, Sheraton and Hyatt all have wonderful properties throughout Europe and many offer really good values when using your points. Marriott has a great number of hotels in Europe, especially in the major cities. Check out their websites.