Introducing some personal tips and information that might assist you in planning your next over-
seas adventure! Ever wonder how some of those travelers do it? The ones you see at the inter-
national ticket counter, with stacks of luggage and big bundled carry-ons? The basic rule I always
keep in mind, is more luggage increases your chances of it getting lost somewhere. In fact, you'll
probably wind up paying extra for added weight! I've taken some of my experiences here and have
assembled the information in what I hope will be an easy to understand formula to enable you to
travel abroad with less hassle and greater ease.
When I mention those world travelers I've met in
in my various travels, the basic question I've had
to ask myself is why they have to take so much
with them? Before I begin listing my tips, I want
to emphasize my basic disclaimer in that none of
what I suggest is the rule of travel.
BUYING MY TICKET
I don't trust online vendors. If I purchased my
ticket from an online service and encounter some
type of problem, who do I rectify the situation
with? I've always dealt with local travel agents &
have never had any problems. If you have any
specific questions, they answer them for you on
the spot. They can incorporate any additional
travel you want to do upon arrival of your desti-
nation and prorate additional expenses of that
type of travel, whether a Euro-train pass etc. in
your fare. Ask questions!
If you want to make sure your ticket price is in
line with current pricing, don't be afraid to go to
a couple of other local travel agents to see what
they offer you. Make sure you provide the exact same information, itinerary, your intended time of
departure and when you want to return, etc. I've used this method before, and have discovered a
slight difference in pricing based on available flights, where I would begin my departure etc. So in
a sense, don't hesitate to shop around.
EMPHASIZE CONSOLIDATOR FARES!
These fares are well known but if you don't remember to ask , you could be quoted for another
kind of fare. Consolidator fares are regular scheduled tickets for the big airlines, bought in bulk by
consolidators at wholesale fees and then resold with larger discounts to you, as the buying
public in mind. Nothing underhanded since all of it is above board and the savings are passed on
because of the initial wholesale purchase of these tickets by the consolidators. It's a pretty good
deal and every overseas trip I've taken has been with a consolidator airfare.
In fact, your travel agent will probably offer your quote & itinerary with a consolidator fare in mind
even if you don't ask but be sure to ask "consolidator rates" and be on the safe side.
your whole itinerary to your
travel agent such as preferred
departure times etc. & ask that
the quote be faxed or mailed.
OK! I'LL MENTION ONLY ONE ONLINE TICKET-RELATED SOURCE
Yapta. Do you hafta? No, but I'm mentioning them because they are one of the newest online air
fare related websites and allow you to compare pricing. Their purpose is to save you money and it
has a downloadable "Tagger" that when you install it, you can enter the appropriate information
concerning where you want to travel and it gives you all of your ticket fares.
One of the best features of the program is an "alert" you will get when certain airfares drop, so
you can either get a refund on a purchased ticket or opt to buy a lower fare ticket on a prime-flight.
You simply set up an account and it doesn't cost you anything as a member.
| Top Five Reasons to Download Yapta:
#1. Get alerted when prices drop
#2. Save Money: Get the best deals on flights
#3. Pick and "Tag" the exact flights you want to track
#4. Get travel vouchers or cash refunds when prices drop
#5. Track prices on ALL of your flights in one place
When first setting up my itinerary, and actually getting the ticket, window or aisle hasn't been a
big priority. You can of course ask for it at your travel agent and most likely you should. But more
often than not, you forget about a few things and this could be one of them. So assuming you've
arrived at your departure gate's ticket / information counter, simply ask for one then. I've gotten
my window seat when buying my ticket in advance and other times when I've forgotten to ask, I
have managed to set it up right at the departure gate's counter. In fact, a few times I've been hit
with an aisle seat and one instance an older couple asked for my window seat because the aisle
seat next to me was empty and their legs were crunched up being the first seats in the row up in
the front of the plane (during a connecting flight within the states) where they were assigned.
Short legs that I have, I obliged and everything went off without a hitch and I was able to still get
my favorite window seat. You should expect small things like this to happen which will have good
SETTING UP YOUR LODGING IN ADVANCE
Finding a reasonable place is easy nowadays, especially with the internet. You can easily look up
"hotels" or "bed and breakfast" places on Google and one trick is to include the + sign followed by
the city or town you intend on traveling to. For instance: "hotels + Rome Italy" would turn up a set
of specific results and so on. Most places that do a respectable business now have their own web
page and list pricing and other options including photographs and galleries of their offerings.
Keep in mind the longer you stay at a place, the bigger the discount you should get. When I travel,
I don't like visiting a place for a week and like staying longer so I can get a better feeling of the
area and you can get a better understanding of the people and the culture. This only stands to
reason. So ask for a "multiple week discount" and you might be asked for a deposit or the entire
amount in advance, but you should ask this upon your arrival. You'll save a considerable amount
of money doing this. If you set up your reservation online, most places will charge your credit
card a certain amount. All hotels are different so look into it. In my early days before the internet,
I had to research all of my intended hotels using travel brochures and then fax them and exchange
information this way. It seemed very cumbersome but the web makes it so much easier.
As to the types of places you choose, I suggest if you are on a budget, DON'T pick the cheapest.
The old saying "What You See Is What You Get" really applies! and may not be very appealing. I
call those the "flea bag" places. Look for a place that is run by a family or a group. You don't have
to stay in a 4 or 5 star hotel to get reasonable service. Most European hotels all offer en suite
bathrooms (shower and toilet within your room) and also a free breakfast each morning as part
of your fee. The breakfast may be "continental" where you only get cereal or juice. But if they
offer you a breakfast, it is usually the typical 2 eggs with toast and sausage and coffee or tea.
Enough to keep the frugal or simple traveler alive for the day! You don't want to stay at any of the
| Hilton chain hotels or other big
names that will drain your pocket
book with fancy amenities! Look
at the family run operations OK?
Renting a car isn't my recommendation unless it's absolutely necessary, or your stay will be in a
rural area where you have less congestion. You surely won't know the lay of the land so to speak
and renting a car in most European cities can be costly, not to mention the price of fuel is double
to what it is back in North America. You'll also have to be insured. Use local bus services which are
quite reliable and keep a rigorous time schedule at all bus stops no matter what city you decide to
visit. Schedules can be found at most convenient stores or even from your hotel. Upon arrival in
the place you plan to stay, ask for a city map which is available in most convenience stores to get
an idea of the area, the good & bad parts of the locale and ask your hotel questions.
Buses also offer passes you can purchase for discount travel. These allow you multiple boarding
on & off throughout a week or a designated number of days for much less than you'd normally pay
for one time on & off pricing. Taxis or cabs are sometimes more expensive but a good driver knows
his or her way throughout a city and can get you to your destination much faster if for instance you
have a special time to make a train departure. Many Euro taxi services I've used acknowledge any
major credit card if you are trying to keep track of your expenses this way. And taxis are the norm
to go from airport to your hotel. Speaking of which, your hotel may also offer a service where they
can pick you up upon your arrival at the airport. Ask them if this service is provided.
Train service is great in Europe and you can travel extensively throughout this part of the world
because it is so well linked, timetables are very reliable and pricing is inexpensive. With the intro
of the Chunnel, connecting the United Kingdom and France, train travel seems to have a revival.
Most long distance trains are clean, onboard service is available for food & drink with longer runs
and the actual maintenance of the systems is always upgrading. A small for instance is the Euro
Star service connecting London and Paris alone . . . which is only 3 hours long and takes you along
through the country sides of England and northern France. It won't seem like 3 hours because of
the speed and the service, not to mention the views. Even if you are visiting London, it is highly
recommended that you take a day trip to Paris as you can leave Waterloo station early in the
morning, go to Paris and eat and / or shop and return back to London and be at your hotel that
same evening. Something unheard of even back in the early 90's!
It is hoped this compendium of information will assist in the planning stages for starting your
travels. It would be unprofessional NOT to insist that you buy travel books that pertain to your
chosen country of travel. A particular set of books which I highly recommend are Frommer's Travel
guides. The publisher of these annual books also has editors who are experienced world travelers
who also offer their own insights, suggestions and caveats pertaining to all of their experiences in
the cities and countries for each book series. The Frommer's line also includes in-depth maps and
names of hotels, restaurants, places to see and things to do in each city or country. Very well done
series of books which are not expensive at all. You can order online off of their web site and they
can be found at most of your local bookstores such as Borders Books, Barnes & Noble etc.
Other Resources We Recommend In Gathering Information For Your Overseas Trip!
Brian Peters offers this fantastic travel site offering all kinds of excellent tips and info!
Cheap Flights to Turkey: Amazing Late Flight Deals to Fantastic Turkish Holiday Resorts for the brits: Icmeler,
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Travel.State.Gov - Excellent resource offering info on foreign entry requirements, visas, passport details etc.
Transitions Abroad - Fantastic in-depth listings on working & living abroad . . . short or long term. Many links!
Escape Artist - Very cool site with tips & links on starting a new life overseas. Lots of links to other travel sites.
Safety.com - Preparations and things you need to know before traveling to a foreign country. A must read.
27 EXCELLENT travel tips about traveling overseas and the preparations you should take. Have a read at this!
Want to learn the value of your money in the country you intend to visit? XE.COM is by far my favorite!
VisitEurope.com - Has a
plethora of resources to offer regarding the 36 countries in this part of the world!
EuroTrip.com - Very useful site for the "budget" conscience traveler. Info on hostels, buses & rail fares & more.
Rick Steves - I like his informative and simple advice for those who want to tackle Euro-travel. Bookmark him!
A Guide To Using The Railways Of Europe - If you plan to "hobo" your way around by train, do log on here!
Official Eurail Website - All you need for train travel throughout Europe. Absolutely the best info is right here.
JohnnyJet.com - A "must visit"
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