Think Lisbon and the Dalmation Coast instead. These destinations are just as nice but not as pricey or crowded as France and Italy in the summer.
You can get a three course meal in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, for less than 15 euros, which is about $20, said Anne Banas, executive editor at SmarterTravel.com, who was in Portugal last month. "For a major city, it's pretty affordable."
Have your heart set on a quiet countryside vacation? Head out to the Alentejo area of Portugal near the coast of Spain, where quaint 10-room inns average 80 euros or $108 and you'll find castles and Roman relics. Try finding a deal like that in Tuscany.
Bookings to Eastern European destinations are stronger than Western Europe, according to AAA. Travel volume to the Czech Republic and Poland are up 100% and to Hungary up 125%.