Flying to Europe: 2011
How do you find the best airfare to Europe — on a flight that's cheap, convenient, and reliable? Rick and the ETBD team usually let their trusted travel agents do the work for them. But some people prefer to research fares online and and make the reservations themselves. What's your strategy and why?
If you have questions about flying, we suggest you talk to a travel agent. You can also check out Rick's advice on flying.
Read the Distillation: Best Tips for Flying Smart, 2005
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How to use taxi in Serbia
How To Use A Taxi Service When You Are Abroad Traveling abroad, whether for a short business trip or on holiday, often involves the use of local taxi services. Although in most cases taxi drivers are people who honestly do their job, there are some situations where the problem occurs. In this article we will try to give some tips how to conduct yourself when using a taxi abroad. Although you may be experienced with a taxi service in your country, it is certain that you feel a bit differently when you do it in the foreign country. Your first encounter with a new environment is often made via taxi driver. This meeting may determine the first impression of staying in a country. Here we particularly underline that first meeting, because it usually takes place in a situation where you are "vulnerable" - tired, just emerging from the airport, loaded with luggage etc. Cultural and linguistic diversity, and ignorance of the terrain, [INVALID]s uncertainty for passengers which feel that taxi drivers view them as potential victims. In the vast majority of cases, of course, it is not so, but it won't hurt to prepare yourself a bit in advance. Before traveling (while your are still at home), check the Internet for usual prices of taxi services in the city in which you travel. Of course, you need not go into details but it is enough to gain some picture of the amount that you will pay. Since maps for many worldwide cities are now available on the Web, estimate the distance to the hotel from the airport (if you're traveling by the plane). Familiarize yourself with names of some taxi companies in the city (search for city name including name of the service, for example. "Belgrade Taxi") and try to remember some names, or at least logos and colors. Keep in mind that company that takes seriously its presence on the Web, probably also performs its services correctly. When you come into a situation that you are looking for a taxi, you will most likely be with hands full of luggage, while taxi drivers will approach you, offering transportation. Do not rush with a choice. Look around and get in touch with the taxi driver whose appearance and vehicle gives the biggest confidence to you. Salute the man, and ask for the price of driving. You may agree to drive for a fixed price, or a metered one, but be sure to obtain information about the expected price and compare it with previous estimations you got from your research. Don't forget to specify the currency in which you will pay. Driving for a fixed price is more expensive than driving on the meter, but most frequently ensures that your taxi driver uses the shortest route to your destination. Make the agreements and about any other costs (luggage fee, tolls, etc.) in advance. Do not give up of the agreed price later. Here is where the language barrier may play a role, so if you can not communicate otherwise - use a pen and paper or even- fingers. As for the security during the ride, the rules are fairly standard for all parts of the world. Store the large luggage in the trunk of the vehicle, and keep smaller bags (with documents and valuables) with you. It would be useful to prepare money for the ride ahead and put it in your pocket in order to avoid having to subsequently search for the wallet. Prepare a small change too, since taxi drivers seem never to have it. Taxi drivers prefer you to sit in the back seat, so respect it (except, of course, if you have more). Remember the name of taxi driver and vehicle number- just in case. If you get in a conversation, keep it light themes - discussion of politics has no place in a cab. Like we said, the vast majority of cabbies are correct people, and tips shown above should just help you to protect yourself from dishonorable minority, which, after all, exists in all areas of life, in all parts of the world. --------------------------- Author is a provider of taxi services and an ex-journalist, living and working in Belgrade, Serbia. His company's taxi services focus on Belgrade Airport transfers, Mini van and Mini bus services and all kinds of private transfers and tours.
Belgrade, Serbia SER Wed 11/16/2011
BEWARE of Airport_shuttle.com Berlin They put my daughter in danger
BEWARE OF THIS COMPANY (airport_shuttle.com in Berlin). They put my daughter in danger, failed to provide the service paid for and refuse to respond to my contacts. I paid 57euro for a private vehicle with driver to meet my daughter's flight and drive her from Berlin airport direct to her accommodation. She would be arriving alone late at night and I was concerned about her safety as she is young, pretty, quite small in size, alone and had never been to Berlin. The company person met her at her flight, told her "too late, too late" and took her over to a taxi, put her in it and told her it was all right it was paid and walked away. The taxi drove towards Berlin until his meter was at 19euro, then told her to get out here. She told him it was not her hotel, but he said it was, to get out. She had to walk more than a kilometre with her luggage to find her accommodation, alone in a dark part of a city she does not know at 23:00 at night with all her luggage. They have refused to respond to my contacts. Do not trust this company.
Brisbane, Qld Australia Thu 09/29/2011
Chicago to Paris
Researching prices for this fall/winter/early spring it appears Chicago to Paris is the deal this year. The past few years it has been Frankfort, but this year it's Paris, yea. The good thing too is the taxes are less to CDG than some of the other European Airports.
elmwood, il USA Thu 09/29/2011
NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER fly Alitalia Airlines!!!! We just returned from a family trip of a lifetime to Italy and Paris. Since there were 6 of us, we had a hard time finding a decent fare from Seattle to Paris and Rome to Seattle. Finally settled on an Alitalia flight out of Chicago (we used miles to get to Chicago). Alitalia should not be allowed to transport passengers! The plane both ways was filthy, 3 of the 6 bathrooms of the return flight were out of order, the flight crew came around 2 times, once as soon as we were airborn and passed out a passable meal and beverage service, and again with a "snack" just before landing. During the 9 hour flight we never saw them again. I went looking for some water, found 2 flight attendants sitting in the back of the aircraft reading books and playing video games. When I asked for something to drink, he pointed to a bottle of water and some cups without taking his eyes off his game! Most of the crew were sleeping behind curtained off seats during the duration of the flight. No one came around to pick up garbage let alone bring beverages on a NINE hour flight! The check in process trying to leave Rome would require several pages to describe. Suffice it to say, it was a ZOO!!! Absolutely no organization or caring for any passenger! It was the worst flying experience of our lives - and we have flown a lot in many places throughout the world. We are just so very grateful we made it home. If the interior of their planes and the level of nonservice from their employees is any indication of the mechanical condition of their planes for flight - you are taking your life in your hands flying Alitalia.
Kirkland, WA USA Thu 07/21/2011
Flight to Paris
I found on Orbitz, flights leaving from MSP to CDG starting at $8XX.00. I thinks it's a great deal leaving fr MSP. Too bad I already boght my tickets. Just a heads up.
USA Thu 07/14/2011
Flexibility is your best money saver
This does not seem to be a cheap year for travel to Italy and from what I've read the airlines have mostly done away with the practice of offering reduced prices closer to booking time, as they tighten their budgets and reduce the number of flights available. I booked October flights from Texas to Venice and out of Rome for $947 in March 2011. I found the best price and fit for my schedule by flying out on a Friday afternoon and flying back on a Sunday morning. I've checked prices on the same search engine (Kayak) a few times since then and haven't found better deals for my time frame, generally in the range of $1000-$1200. I'm sure it's possible to get much cheaper fares with more flexible dates or itineraries. Many of the best value hotels and B&Bs are already booked up 5+ months in advance so it helps to snag those early IMO.
Austin, TX USA Fri 06/24/2011
Where to go? Be flexible!
My wife and I just got back from Spain & France. This was our 7th trip to Europe. Since 2000, we've paid anywhere from $320 to almost $800 in airfare. Earlier this year, while looking for airfare, I decided to have a very open approach as to where we were going to go. The only requirement: We haven't been there before. I started monitoring the airfares into about 15 cities. Barcelona won out! While every other city was hovering around $900-1200, Delta dropped the rate into Barcelona to $620, but only for 2 days back in February. I jumped on it, then started planning what we would do once we got there. This wasn't a last minute thing. The airfare monitoring was planned months in advance. And it's so much easier these days with "fare alerts". My point: If you are trying to travel on a budget, don't get so caught up in where you are going as long as it's an adventure. Barcelona can be just as fun as Paris. Plus the savings in this case,over $700, paid for a weeks worth of accomodations. I know many people will only go to europe once or twice. And in that case, you may have your heart set on going to a particular city. And that's great. But if you do have flexibility as to where you're going, it can save big.
Lutz, FL USA Wed 06/08/2011
While looking for the best airfare I would recommend to use airline consolidators services. Consolidators work through contracts with major carriers to manage blocks of airline seat inventory at reduced prices which they then sell. Fares through consolidators will be lower than published rates available from the airlines themselves. For example http://www.travelpapa.com/
You may also want to check their FB page for coupon codes or any other promotions: http://www.facebook.com/travelpapa
Torrance, CA USA Wed 06/01/2011
airfare seems to be dropping, but still not great
Just got a great open jaw fare for a trip in June, from Memphis to Rome returning from Milan, $1061. That's better than it was a month ago at least. I booked it through travelocity.
Hernando, MS USA Wed 05/25/2011
European Fares -sky high
Anyone in Calif interested in summer travel to Europe best get their tix soon. I have watched my fare increase 2x in last 1.5 mo and the schedules I was hoping for are no longer avail at the better fares. So I purchased. Seems my ff miles are worthless this summer unless I want to use 110,000 to London rdtrip.
Ca USA Sat 04/16/2011
Flying to Helsinki
I've been watching airfare for months and may have found a great deal. I just booked from Montana to Helsinki for $1069 (taxes, etc included) on KLM/Delta. I have seen fares to Helsinki this low on several sites from several places. From Montana or anywhere, this is a great deal.
Billings, MT USA Fri 04/15/2011