The last few months have been busy and stressful for the American military community in Europe. You deserve a break.

With Memorial Day right around the corner, it’s time to turn attention from war, hectic schedules and the faltering dollar and think about exploring the countries around you.

There are several ways to travel: by bus, plane, train and automobile. This week, Stripes examines the good and bad of each. Also: A look at good bases for touring Europe, guidebooks that help you get the most out of your time and suggestions on how to keep everyone in the family happy while on the road.

Reporter Charlie Coon took a bus trip to the Netherlands. The trip was not his first choice and did not start out well, but by the end he was glad he went. He explains why and what you can do to make your trip a success.

Between discount airlines and space-available travel, flying does not have to be expensive. Kendra Helmer says the plane facts are these: The secret to a good trip is being flexible and knowing what to expect.

In Europe, trains go just about anywhere automobiles do, and without many of the hassles. Jessica Iñigo puts you on the right track for your next trip by sorting through different rail passes and a network of Web sites.

For some, the freedom of going where you want, when you want by car cannot be topped. Except when topping off your fuel tank and paying tolls. Kent Harris explains the ins and outs of discount gas coupons and what to expect when you approach the next toll booth.

There are guidebooks for every destination and every pocketbook. But are they all equal? It depends what you’re looking for, according to Michael Abrams, who flips through a cross section of guides and points you in the direction of the one that will be right for you.

The dollar’s dive against most European currencies makes the two Armed Forces Recreation Centers and Camp Darby — all of which deal in dollars — sound financial choices. And as Rick Emert explains, they also make good bases for exploring southern Germany and central Italy.

Finally, no trip is fun unless everyone is happy. For families, that includes the kids. Terry Boyd travels with his two young girls and tells how he and his wife keep them whistling a happy tune instead of singing the blues.

This roundup is designed as a primer on touring. The hope is that you’ll take a look, and then take the next step — out the door and on your way to see Europe.

The lineup:

Bus trip to Holland isn't luxurious, but it covers a lot of ground

Get airborne with discount airlines and Space-A travel

Plan ahead to ease the anxiety of Space-A travel

You can't beat trains for easy travel around Europe

A good guidebook can greatly improve your travel experience

Driving in Europe? Heed the rules of the road

AFRC, MWR resorts offer fun, American-style

A savvy parents' guide to travel with kids

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