Sunday, July 15, 2012

Military Monday - Travel while in Europe

We didn't know the first thing about planning a trip when we arrived.  Here are a few links to help you get started on your European travels!

Sato Vacations
If you are traveling a trip home to the states, this site will give you some of the best deals.  We're planning a trip home around Christmas time and all other websites quoted me at roughly $1200-$1500 per ticket.  This website quoted me at around $700 a ticket.

Many people do not like Ryanair, but others LOVE it.  Ryanair is a discount airline that can get you tickets to many places throughout Europe for hardly anything.  For our trip to Ireland, I was quoted by the major airlines and booking companies for about $300-$400 per ticket.  I was able to purchase tickets for both of us for $350 including taxes and checked luggage.  The problem with Ryanair and the reason why people sometimes choose to avoid it is that it mostly uses small airports away from the larger cities.  Therefore, you need to make sure you have reliable transportation from the airport to your actual destination.  Also, they have very strict guidelines that you must follow in order to avoid hefty fees.  Including: Your carry on bag MUST be within their designated dimensions and weigh under 10kg.  If your carry on exceeds the weight or size limit you will be charged with a 50 euro fee.  If you can manage the rules and don't mind a little extra traveling then Ryanair can be a great option for you. We attempted to use Ryanair for our trip to Ireland but were turned away because it was too late to check our bags.  Be sure you arrive extra early to the airport. 

DB Bahn
While in Germany, you'll probably get pretty comfortable riding the train intercity.  It's super easy to get tickets and takes the hassle out of travel when you don't have to worry about gas, directions, or arrival times.  Some tickets, like the ones that are just a town over, aren't available for online purchase but you can still see the departure and arrival times listed on the website.  Beware that booking long distance tickets can get a little pricey when it is done last minute.  The further out you book your ticket, the better.

Military Cruise Deals
If you are considering a cruise in the near future, be sure to check this website.  There are some great deals listed.  If we don't end up PCSing before next summer, a Mediterranean cruise will definitely be on the agenda so we can visit not just one country but several of the countries that we want to see.

Blind Booking: German Wings
This is a new concept to me but for the spontaneous types, it sounds like a lot of fun.  The
idea is that you chose a category (i.e. Party location, cultural location, beach, etc.), select the dates that you can fly and are surprised by the outcome.  Life Lessons of a Military Wife gives an overall description of how it works.

All of these are common websites to get fairly decent deals on flights.  Be sure to check around before booking though!

Travel Strikes
If you've been here awhile I'm sure you've gotten notifications of strikes from time to time.  It seems like every week there is another strike at an airport that is going to cause a lot of problems when it comes time to travel.  Check this website and see if there are any possible upcoming strikes in your area so you can plan accordingly (arrive earlier or reschedule your flight).

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