Saturday, January 10, 2009

Consider a combination of transportation methods

Whenever possible try multi-modal transportation for your journey. For example, if you are flying into Berlin, Germany (TXL), you may fly into say Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) and then take the train up to Berlin.

The German train system is quite efficient and if you plan ahead you can get some good fares. Other ideas are if you want to get to Paris, fly into say, Amsterdam or London and take the train the rest of the way. The train journeys are quite nice and picturesque. You may also be able to take an overnight train and save on a hotel room cost.

There are also bus options: You could fly into London and take the bus to say Manchester and then fly back out of Manchester to your point of origin or fly into Vancouver, BC Canada and take a bus down to Seattle, WA. The possibilities are endless.

Try it out and let us know.

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Pay attention when your bag is being tagged

When checking your baggage with an airline, always double check that your bag is tagged to the correct destination. Also, pay attention and watch that the agent tags your bag and not someone else's with your tag.

In addition, ensure that you receive a tag for each bag that you've checked and that each of your checked bag has your name, address, e-mail address and phone number written inside and outside of the bag. This will help in case the tag is lost and the airline has to use additional methods to identify your bag.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Learn some local words

If you are visiting a country whose language is not your native, try to learn a few words from that language. This will help you to get around once you are there. Here are a few to learn:

  • hello
  • goodbye
  • thank you
  • please
  • how much
  • where is the toilet?
  • excuse me
  • where is?
  • why?
  • where may I find?
  • where am I?
  • may I have the check please? [as in a restaurant]
  • may I have some change?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Leave your passport at the hotel

When traveling internationally, there is usually no need to take your passport on the road with you. Some countries may have a requirement to keep your passport with you so check with the Immigration official at the airport if you have any doubts. For the most part having your passport with you at all time is not a requirement for the majority of countries you will visit.

Once you check in at your hotel, you should either leave it with the front desk in the hotel main safe or you can leave it in the in-room safe. If neither are available, just leave it in your room, someplace out of plain view. This and other valuables are much safer in your room than on your person.

It is a good idea to make a copy of the first pages that has your picture and details. Just in case you lose it, you can show that to the local consulate for your country and that will help you to get a replacement travel document much quicker. Of course you should not store the passport and the copy in the same place.

Also, when you go out to see the sights, just take your driver's license or some form of ID other than your passport, a credit card, your bank card and some cash in local currency. This is really all you need. There is no need to take a bulky purse or wallet with you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Book on the airline web site

Book on the airline Web site as you avoid the booking by phone fee. This can add up if you have multiple passengers as it is a cost per passenger fee.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Get gas outside of the airport limits

These days when you rent a car, if you travel less than 75 miles and do not produce a receipt that you've filled up once you return the car, you are charged a standard "fill up" fee.

This is not bad if you are running late and do not have time to fill up. However, it is quite costly and does cost more than you would have paid if you filled up yourself. So, if you do the fill up yourself and fill up outside of the airport limits as the gas is usually cheaper.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Watch for pickpockets on the train to Paris

Be careful of pickpockets on the RER B to Paris city center from Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport. Thieves are known to take the train, act like they don't know where they are going so they can distract you and steal your possessions. If you see someone suspicious, walk away from them.

Also, be careful in the large stations such as Gare du Nord and Ch√Ętelet/Ch√Ętelet Les Halles. Only take the possessions you need and keep your bags close to you. This goes for any city you visit, not just Paris, France.

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