#travel, photography, Uncategorized

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles A few tips and tricks

How nice would it be to be able to hop a train that will take you to another country or book a flight to a place that doesn’t speak English for less than what you pay in your electric bill? Well in Europe you can do both of these things; this has caused me to be quite envious of our neighbors across the pond.

Researching this trip has become a part time job for me. I want to make sure I get the best deals and get to my locations as fast and cheap as possible. Let’s talk about air travel. What I have found, is a plane ticket through EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) or RyanAir (www.ryanair.com) from London, will cost me around $100 round trip. Specifically, I am looking at a non-stop flight from London STN to Prague, Prague to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Dublin all together these flights will be around $150. For me to fly from Charlotte, NC to Boston, Mass it will cost me $250 in the off season. Now, I am not an economist or expert on airlines, fuel, flight schedules but something just does not seem right here. OH my flight from Shannon, IE to London…$19.

A tip: when researching your flights in Europe, use Kayak.com to help with the schedule. But book directly through the airlines, read the terms and conditions before you book.  Ryanair and Easyjet do not fly to the same places but if you place your destinations in Kayak it will find all available flights, starting with the less expensive ones.

TRAINS…my 3 year old nephew loves a train and I get it. For us in the U.S, they are nostalgic, a throw back, a form of transportation that is severely under utilized.  Years ago while traveling through Scotland I took the train from Glasgow to Edinburgh to the Highlands. The ride was whimsical, relaxing and was a no fuse form of travel. On this trip I will be taking a day trip from Prague to Kutna Hora which will be about an hour and a half and will cost me aroun $6.

 The automobile. My grandmother still tells stories of her Uncle getting his first Ford model T in the early 1900’s and how he immediately went down an embankment and crashed it. The automobile has been our wings, our freedom to the open road for decades and we expect certain amenities that should come with it. I will be driving Ireland and I am scared shit-less (excuse the profanity), to say the least…I have been reading blogs, post by angry customers and watching YOUTUBE videos on how to drive  on the left side of the road and from the right side of the car. Most of the videos are terrifying but some have been helpful, just be warned. Car rentals in Dublin seem to be super cheap $5-$10 a day but please read the fine print. This is where the angry mobs have come out on the internet about their terrible car rental experiences. Someone didn’t do their research.
  • Fuel charge. With the company I am going with the charge will be returned if I bring the car back with a full tank of gas.
  • Insurance. Most likely your car insurance will not cover damages even if they say it will. Check with your credit card company, when booking with that card it may have added insurance but read the rules.
  • You must opt for the premium insurance or the excess waiver. This will be more than what you want to spend but from the research it is well worth it.
  • Age. If you are 25 or under there is a fee
  • Hold/Deposit on card. There will most likely be a hold placed on your credit card for up to $2,000. If you do not have their insurance they will charge your card for ANY damage. The company I am going with only puts a hold of $100.
  • Drop off fee. If you are not dropping off your car the same place you picked it up there could be a fee.
  • Extras. You can rent GPS, wifi hotspots, and child car seat
  • Manual vs Automatic. You have the option of either but the automatic will cost you twice as much.

Again, from everything that I have read this is what I have discovered. It seems like most everyone was complaining about the same issues. I have decided to go with a local company, Dan Dooley ( http://www.dan-dooley.ie/car-rental-hire-dublin-airport.htm ). Their reviews have been great. I have been able to talk with their reps in the US and they have been really helpful. A customer service update will follow after the trip.My estimated car rental will be $344.00 for 6 days and that is with FULL coverage and a $100 hold on my credit card, not the $2,000 like the other companies.

The journey is coming together nicely.




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