Welcome to our December Newsletter..

We hope the information we provide is of use to you but please
note that we accept no responsibility for the accuracy of the
content. These are our personal opinions. We therefore welcome
your feedback and comments.
Please just send us an email to

» Should you rent or lease a car?
» Quarterly Travel Trivia competition – Prize to be won..
» A clients report on his canal boat trip
» Our Earlybird specials
» Travelling with children – an overview including travel tips
» A long motorhome holiday – so should you rent or buy or what is a 'Buy back' ?
» Holiday cooking – 2 quick and easy recipes
» The Best Museums in Europe (Some – not all ...!)
» Customer testimonials
» Next Month...

Firstly we will explain the difference between the two. With car rental your car will be provided by companies like like Avis, Hertz, Alamo etc. You often get quoted a basic rate and have to pay for additional items like airport fees, second driver charge, young driver surcharges if under 25, vehicle licensing fees and the insurance which is included, has an excess or deductible if you have an accident or damage the vehicle. You can pay extra to get this waived or reduced. With car rental you are often restricted eg: you may not drive the vehicle into Eastern Europe or if you are hiring a Mercedes you may not be able to drive into Italy or if you are hiring from France, they may allow their vehicles to go to the Italian islands, you may not be allowed to travel to Britain or Scandinavia etc. With rental you are quoted a model of car - 'or similar' – you are never guaranteed a specific make or model of car. If you are looking for info/rates on car rental, click on http://www.ukandeuropetravel.com/carhire.shtml.

Perhaps browse the FAQ's for more info. For those travelling after April 2005 – the Earlybirds have now been released.

With car leasing, which is a tax free buy back system encouraged by the French government to encourage tourism, you are purchasing the vehicle and selling it back at the end. All paperwork is completed well beforehand and all you pay is the set difference between the buying and the selling.
Sounds complicated, but it's not. We have a free video or DVD we would be happy to send you which explains how leasing works. Just drop us an email.

Leasing is great for travellers who want a car for longer than a month or perhaps picking up a car in one of the more expensive countries like Italy, Switzerland, Eastern Europe etc. Everything is included – even the insurance has no excess. However, for the sake of being completely upfront, we will mention that as you 'own' the car, you are responsible for giving it the first service. With Renault, the car only requires its first service at 30, 000 kms, a distance very few travellers reach considering the size of Europe, and this will be at your cost. With Peugeot, the first service is required at 10, 000kms but it is free. These French lease cars are based in France, but they can be delivered to 9 other countries at a nominal charge to cover transporting the vehicles to the pick up point. Currently, both Renault and Peugeot are offering free or subsidised delivery/collection charges as well as 7 free days, or 10 free days if you have leased with them previously.The other good thing about leasing, is that it can work out to a low $24 per day. This is based on the maximum lease of 170 days of the smallest vehicle. Great for youngsters travelling around Europe, especially if they are under 25. With leasing, all you require is a full drivers licence. There is no 'young driver surcharge'. Incidentally, if you are a teacher/professor going to uni to study or lecture or a student going for training or a journalist – you can lease for up to a year.Other positives are that you can drive the vehicle into Eastern European countries. You are also guaranteed the vehicle you choose. So you can choose a diesel powered vehicle which is much more fuel efficient, not to mention that diesel can cost up to a third less than petrol.As a quick example let's say you require a 7 seater minibus for 30 days that you wish to collect in Geneva, Switzerland and return it to Nice in France. Leasing would cost you $3200 in total with nothing more to pay. Rental would cost you $6072 + extras. A difference of more than $2800 – nearly double. Not knowing the difference and the in's and out's can literally cost you thousands of dollars if you make the wrong choice.

Click here for info on car leasing http://www.ukandeuropetravel.com/carlease.shtml
If you would like us to compare rental vs leasing, let us know your driving requirements and we'll do the math for you.

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QUARTERLY TRAVEL TRIVA COMPETITION Click here to email your answers
Closing date: 28 Feb 2005. Winner announced March 05 newsletter
The prize: (mailed anywhere in the world) - A Nike Travel bag, 2 bottles of Aussie wine and a $100 travel voucher to be used on this website and...more.1.Name the main station in Madrid, Spain
2.Which river flows through Nantes, in France?
3.Name the two largest cities in France?
4.Where does the 'Running with the Bulls' take place?
5.Where would one see the 'Mona Lisa' ? Name the museum
6.Name the most northerly Greek Isle.

“ The trip went really well - in fact it was brilliant. The Countess is a lovely boat and highly manouverable - to the extent that there were no incidents involving either actual damage or the possibility of damage. We went straight into the Baise river and went to Condom and back. Highlights were a most curious restaurent at Mas d'Argenais run by an eccentric old French woman and the bastide of Vianne - worth a couple of days for the ambiance and a fantastic restaurant in the square.

Our stay on Chateau La Gontrie was wonderful. It ie the chateau is a real find - it's a working vineyard of about 30 acres plus forest , pasture etc along with swimming pool, bicycles etc in the village of St Caprais de Bordeaux - about 15 mins from Bordeaux and near the Garonne. It is about 30 mins from St Emilion and say an hour or so from Margeaux. The host/winemaker is Jean Louis Rive who speaks perfect English and knows Australia better than most Australians. His wife Nola is an Aussie from Manangatang ! They are most hospitable and the accomodation is recently refurbished and spotlessly clean.  I can thoroughly recommend it and we are looking to taking a party of wine lovers back next year.

Chateau La Gontrie is on the Internet though we heard of it through friends. “This client cruised on the Countess, from Crown Blue Line. Crown Blue Line has an Earlybird special whereby all bookings before 31December receive a 5% discount. Mention this newsletter and receive and additional 2% discount*. Other discounts include 10 nights for the price of 7 if you cruise before 06May05 or after 16September05 in selected regions.For info on Canal boats, click on http://www.ukandeuropetravel.com/cbcrown.shtml
or send us an email and we will be happy to mail you a brochure.

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OUR EARLYBIRD SPECIALS (Please go to our website for details)
Car rentals

Alamo France / Alamo Germany / Alamo Italy
Alamo Spain / Alamo UK Standard / Alamo UK Inclusive
1car1 Britain / Europcar Ireland / Europcar Italy
Car Leasing
Renault, Peugeot
Italy / Finland / France / Germany / Holland / Norway
Spain / Sweden / United KingdomCanal Boats
Black Prince UK
Crown Blue Line (France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy)

Congratulations on considering travelling with your children. There is nothing like travel to broaden their minds and stimulate their interest in so many areas... fascinate them with foreign languages, confuse them with foreign currencies & expose them to other cultures. Let them marvel at history and gape at the magnificence of our world.When the thought first crosses your mind, you would probably wonder how you should travel around. There are many ways to 'do' Europe and whilst cost is probably a factor – please consider convenience and 'lifestyle'. Don't spoil your memories, which will last a lifetime, for the sake of money.There will be no definitive answer as what is the right or wrong way to travel as we are all individuals with different tastes. A lot will also depend on the ages of the children. Consider things like: Young babies may need to have bottles warmed; toddlers may need to go to toilet pretty quickly; little legs get tired; afternoon naps may be necessary and if you have finicky eaters – plan ahead. As children get a bit older, they become more vocal and may voice their disapproval at being dragged from one museum to another. Don't dispair though, for virtually every 'perceived' problem, there is a solution! Our favourite way to travel is in a motorhome. Motorhomes offer absolute Freedom. Not having to worry about finding accommodation, toilet or kitchen. You have it all on board. No hunting for the kids favourite toys before you depart the hotel room...you are just unpacking once. The familiarity can be soothing for littlies.

Yes, motorhomes do cost a bit more to rent initially than say, a car – but this is where the convenience comes into it. How easy it will be to boil that egg for breakfast, grill some cheese on toast and pack peanut butter sandwiches as a mid morning snack for toddlers! The savings to be made from preparing these meals offset the cost difference.

Campsites are great places to meet people, relax and even catch up on the laundry (so you can pack lightly!) If you would like to read more about the joys of travelling in a motorhome, click on http://www.ukandeuropetravel.com/motorhomes.shtml .

Now how to handle the 'not another museum' moan. This is where you will have to do a bit of research and come up with some facts to make them anticipate the visit. After that, you will just have to resort to bribery! Try to intersperse the 'heavier' stuff with things that will interest the kids eg Legoland, Eurodisney, a horse and carriage ride etc. The open top Hop on – Hop off bus tours offer good value and one gets a general overview of the city as well as freedom and is popular with kids. You can then decide which places you will go back to see.

Car hire is an option to consider. Of course, you will have to consider hotels, hostels etc. If you have things to amuse the children on long stretches this is fine. You can be well prepared with a little picnic set and rug, a plug in immersion heater or flask if you need hot water, little plastic containers with nibbles etcTrain hire is another way to travel. But consider if you wish to be tied to timetables and handling children as well as luggage. You also have limited mobility as some sites are out of the city so you would have to use the bus or taxi. In my humble opinion, not for the faint hearted, but this is offset by the fact that train travel can be very economical – especially if the children are under 4 years of age as they, in most instances, travel free of charge. Children under 11 years of age pay 50%. Using this method, at least everyone gets to look out the window and dad can help mom look after the kiddies.

Children and canal boats: A canal boat trip is so much fun. We suggest life jackets for young children when they are on deck. Don't see this as a deterrent as a lot of time is spent off the boat sightseeing. When hiring a boat, we always suggest bicycles to go just that bit further afield and some companies do offer child seats on the back of bikes. However, you are free to just walk around or use the local transport or taxis. Most attractions, villages etc are based along the canals and rivers. Remember that many, many years ago, boats were the main means of transport around Europe and families lived on their boats on the canals.

Here are some tips on travelling with kids:

1.Bone up on travel games that everyone can play like 'I spy' , A-Z word games. Print sheets of noughts and crosses, hangman etc before you leave home.
2.Have a little travel bag for each child with notebook, colouring pencils, stencils, stickers perhaps even a special computer game - so everything can be kept together neatly.
3.Take a thin blanket – ask the flight attendant if you can have an airline one – perfect to drape over a sleeping child.
4.Stop often, even if just for an ice cream at McDonalds. Stretch your legs, have a toilet break and let the kids play on the playground equipment if they have it.
5.Picnic outside with fresh baguettes , yummy cheeses and cold meats you pick up at local markets or the charcaturies. Along the highways of France, they have places called 'Aires' where motorhomes can overnight free or you can stop for a picnic lunch.
6.Take along snacks for the kids. A six pack size cooler bag is ideal. Dont forget wet wipes or a wet cloth in a plastic Glad bag.
7.Take a little bean bag, ball or a frisbee so everyone gets some exercise.

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A LONG MOTORHOME HOLIDAY – Should I rent or buy or what is a buy-back?
Hmm, a long holiday means different things to different people. Some people may consider a month long – others consider that short. So lets address this issue on the basis of buying a motorhome for a holiday in Europe. The quick answer: If you want a motorhome for less than 2 months – Simple: Just rent. Its cheaper, quicker and easier with no hassles.So if you're thinking of 3+ months there are two options. One you simply buy a vehicle outright from a second hand dealer, a car market or through a newspaper. You then have to try and 'time it right' when you want to sell. Also a bit risky because what happens if you cant sell the vehicle and your departure date is looming...?

Also remember the adage “What you pay for is what you get”.Alternatively, consider a “Buy back”. This is when you purchase a vehicle and you call sell it back at the end – guaranteed. We can recommend these out of the Netherlands because we have dealt with the company for many years and know that they are honest and reputable. Just be aware that when you 'buy' the vehicle, you must still budget for Insurance & registration. The vehicles do come with a full parts and labour guarantee for 3 months or 10 000kms.Here are your options with a buyback:
A standard buy back plan gives you back 70% of the purchase prices, less the sales tax for up to 3 months usage. If you use the vehicle for 6 months, you get back 65% and after a year, you get back 60%.Or you can leave your campervan on consignment. This is where you set an agreed price for the camper and the company will act as a 'middleman' and sell it for you. You generally get back a better price doing it this way. Or of course, you can sell the camper privately if you prefer.

If you time it right – you can even end up making a profit! ie. If you are buying in the colder months, you can generally pay a lower price and if you sell at the start of the warmer months, you get a better price!Alternatively, if you plan another trip in the future, you can store the vehicle at the depot for Euro 100 per month. Or if you have family or friends planning a trip, you can perhaps come to a 'friendly agreeement' with them.If you would like more info on buy-backs, just send us an email.
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Here are two quick recipes that even the kids can make:
Nachos Salad
Shred some lettuce. Chop up a tomato, dice an avocado if liked.
Place these three items in a salad bowl.
Top with grated cheese
Mix together some salsa and sour cream (quantities to taste) and pour over the salad
Roughly crush some corn chip & sprinkle on top (just before serving to prevent it going soggy).Quick

Chicken Pasta

Boil a pot of water and cook pasta
Whilst that is boiling, shred a roast chicken you have bought
Open a jar of pasta sauce, heat in pot and add in the roast chicken
Serve with cheese.(If you are only two or three persons, save some roast chicken for sandwiches for next day or make a quick chicken curry and rice for next nights dinner)

1.The Uffizi Museum in Florence. Website: www.uffizi.firenze.it
See top Italian works by Botticelli, Giorgione and Veronse
2.The Louvre, Paris, France: Website: www.louvre.fr
See the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and much more
3.Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain. Website: www.museoprado.mcu.es
4.The Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia. Webiste www.hermitagemuseum.org
More than 3 million items over 2 and a half centuries old.
5.Museum of history of Science in Oxford, England. Website: www.mhs.ox.ac.uk
6.The GuggenheimMuseum in Bilbao, Spain. Website: www.guggenheim-bilbao.es
7.Museum of London. Website: www.museumoflondon.org.uk

CUSTOMER TESTIMONIALS: All originals on file
“You are very good to speak to, tell the boss to give you a rise in pay. Much appreciated” N.B

“We are finally back home after a two week enjoyable and memorable vacation. Without your friendly attitude and attention to details, our holiday might not be as wonderful. You are more like a good personal friend rather than some employee of a company. Thank you very much” T.S

“I have travelled widely and Tracey is the best consultant I have had the pleasure of dealing with. A special Thank You to her.” A.C

“Many thanks to Tracey for her friendly and efficient service and assistance rendered beyond her call of duty” D.S

“Thank you for all your help and organisation when I was negotiating and booking my car rentals. I very much appreciated your guidance and the fact that you pushed to get the documents here before my departure. Thanks.” P.S

"Thank you for going to so much trouble to provide all that information. The places described sound fascinating with all their history and scenic attractions - I will try to fit in as many as possible. The internet travel sites will be invaluable. Thanks again and we will consult you about any future travel plans we have for Europe. I will pass on your video to any friends we may learn about who intend travelling by car in Europe. We are very grateful for your generous assistance. D.C

The Positives AND Negatives of motorhome rental
Car rental 'lingo' explained...the dreaded fineprint
Plus much more..

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