AIR TRAVEL TIPS:
Book at least a week in advance. For the best discount airfares make a reservation one, two or three weeks before the departure date.
Keep in mind that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday flights are usually less expensive.
Night time departure flights are usually cheaper.
Try to choose the same airline for the entire trip.
Do not forget to reconfirm your flight times a day before your departure. Inquire about the check-in procedure and the luggage allowance.
Consider packing into transparent plastic zippered bags for easy inspection. Plan to arrive to an airport at least two hours prior to flight time. Do not leave your baggage alone at any time. You may be asked to turn on all of your electric and electronic appliances.
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BUDGET FLIGHTS EXPLAINED:
Budget airlines offer cheap fares around the world. Reserve your flight on the web or by phone, using your credit card to pay.
Most discount airlines’ tickets are unchangeable and nonrefundable, some offer changes on the return dates for an extra fee. In the latter case you need to make changes at least 24 hours before your departure.
Most budget airlines offer one-way flights without a cost increase or penalty which provides an excellent way to connect cheap flights, to link flights with ground transportation. Plan to leave some extra time for the connection, the delay of one flight will cause you to miss another linked flight.
Every budget airline has its own luggage restrictions, make sure you learn them before booking. Many of them allow very limited check-in luggage for free, sometimes only 15 or 20 kg (33 or 44 lbs) charging up to $15 per kg (2.2 lbs) of extra weight.
Discount airlines quite often use obscure airports located far away from from the city center. It can cost you extra money and transfer time.
TRAIN TRAVEL TIPS:
Make sure you catch the right train at the right place. Cities often have more than one train station, so pay attention. If confused, ask for help.
Each car in a train is labeled separately, cars are usually added and dropped here and there along the journey. Be sure that the city on your car’s label is your destination.
Theft is quite common on trains, so stay alert and observant. Clip your backpack to the overhead rack for safety.
For overnight trips get a couchette — a sleeping berth in a compartment. Reserve it at least a day in advance from. Sheets, pillowa and blankets will cost you extra money.
For an average independent traveler planning to see lots of Europe, the best way to go is Eurailpass. Eurailpasses offer you unlimited first-class travel on all public railways in 17 European countries. Most passes can be purchased from six months in advance to one week ahead. After you buy a railpass, you have six months to validate it in Europe. You can validate your railpass at any European train station by presenting your railpass and passport to a railway official at a ticket window, who will write in the first and last dates of your travel period.
We recommend you to book a cruise early, at least a month prior to the sail date.
Try to be flexible about your travel plans, off-season cruises are almost always cheaper.
By getting a four-day cruise in the middle of the week instead of the popular three-day weekend cruise you might get that extra day at a good rate.
Choosing the right cruise. It is totally up to your taste. The most populat destinations among first-time cruisers are the Caribbean or Mexican Riviera, where you float from one island paradise to the next. More experienced travelers choose Alaska or Canada where you’ll experience calving glaciers and magnificent whales. Cruises to Europe with a few days of trans-Atlantic voyage, culture shock and information-rich shore excursions are recommended for the most experienced cruisers.
Cruise length. Three-day weekend, four-day midweek, week and two-week cruises are the most popular.
Cabins are listed as inside (no windows) or outside (with windows, higher priced). If you plan to spend most of the time in your cabin, choose the biggest room you can afford. Standard cabins have twin beds, which can usually be converted into a queen-sized bed, while bunk beds in other rooms cannot be converted.
RENTAL CAR TIPS:
There are four types of car rental rates: a daily rate with a mileage charge; a daily rate with a limited number of free miles per day; a daily rate with unlimited mileage; and a rate that has free mileage over an extended period. Vehicles are economical when rented by the week with unlimited mileage. Daily rates are usually quite high, but there are some good 3-day deals. Rates vary from company to company, month to month, and country to country.
Your age may affect the rate. Younger renters (below 25 years of age) can get charged extra money, like being required to buymore expensive insurance. Some companies will not rent a car to a person under 21. There are also maximum age limits which vary from company to company. If you are beyond the lower and upper age limits, look into leasing a vehicle, which has less age restrictions. Leasing a car gets around many tax and insurance costs and is a great deal for people needing a car for three weeks or more. The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy are popular places to lease cars.
All car rental companies require a valid drivers license. Some car rental companies check the driver’s record and will deny a car to a customer with a poor driving record. In some foreign countries, an international drivers license may be required.
We wish you a successful and safe trip!