The Tipping List
Pennywise Traveler Continued
Tips for when you arrive at your destination
By: Michele Davis
In my last piece I described some pennywise tips for getting to your destination. Here are some for when you actually arrive:
1. Local B&Bs and Apartment Rentals – These are not for the faint of heart, because you never know what you’re getting until you arrive, but if you truly want to get a real sense of local flair, stay in a rental apartment, boarding house or bed and breakfast. When I was researching accommodations in Hungary, I sought out recommendations on the Fodor’s travel chat board and read several glowing recommendations for an exquisite studio in the heart of downtown Budapest. True to the customer testimonials, the Golden Stars Apartment was one of the best places we stayed on our trip.
2. Guidebooks – Depending on where you’re going, there are many guidebooks to choose from. For Europe, I particularly like Rick Steves’ Web site and books, which go into detail about accommodations, restaurants and sights to see. And, even more importantly, Rick Steves offers helpful hints on how to miss the crowds and have the best experience while you’re there. I’m also a huge fan of the InsideOut maps, pocket-sized and perfect for bringing along on light luggage trips.
1. Budget Airlines – If you want to pack in as much as you can while on vacation, it can mean crossing borders, sea and land to get there. While trains across Europe are very popular, the rail passes can be quite expensive and limiting. When I was researching how to get from Prague, to Croatia, and then to Budapest, I found budget airlines to be more affordable and faster, and fortunately I was able to work my itinerary around their limited dates. Imagine flying one-way from Prague to Dubrovnik for €1 (pretax)!
2. Walk, Ride and Drive – I’m not too keen on renting cars, especially when I travel alone, so in preparation for my trips, I research the things I want to do, and then I determine what’s the best way to get there from where I’m staying. In some places, there are great bus systems, such as the SydneyPass, that drop off and pick up along sightseeing routes, and usually offer some package price for the number of days of use. Most of the time I’m on foot navigating the streets, all the while getting in my exercise for the day. Trains can also offer sightseeing opportunities without your having to rent a car. To see the Scotland Highlands, I found an interesting train itinerary that gets you to the outermost lochs and villages.
3. Specialized Travel Agencies – If all this seems like too much planning for you, travel agents can be your best friend. Some agents will create a customized itinerary based on your budget, dates and interests, serving up a complete worry-free experience without the hassles of herded group tours.
So, what are you waiting for? Mark your calendar and start dreaming of your next getaway. It’s only a few clicks away on the information superhighway of do-it-yourself travel planning.