uk to europe

Newsletter - October 2005

to the 'late editon' October issue of our newsletter and a special welcome to all our new suscribers.
We'd like to remind readers that if you are a new subscriber - go back and read some of the back issues...each issue guaranteed to save you money!

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In this issue:

Earlybirds - Should I really book now or just wait? Is it worth it?
Rail in Europe - How to save a heap when travelling by train.
Rail: Brit Rail and Trenitalia (Italy) Winter deals
Can't get the holiday to fit into your budget? Are you sure?
Trivia - Our new competition. Winners of the previous quarters competition
Travel "Did you know"
Updated Canal boat specials- dont miss out
Holiday cooking - one and two pot meals
Atlantic Canada - Labrador, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia & New Brunswick
Single Travel and women alone - Yes of course....

Earlybirds - Should I really book now or just wait? I mean, really, how much could I save??
Even if you are a procrastinator by nature - if you know you will be travelling in the peak summer months, or the season on either side which offers good value or popular periods eg. FIFA World Cup in Europe,  Tour de France,  Winter Olympics in Turin, Glastonbury festival  etc these WILL  book out if you are looking for a niche product like a motorhome or canal boat.  Make the effort and book something now and then you can sit back and forget it until closer to the time.  In most instances all that is required to secure a booking is a small deposit.  Let's look a couple of actual scenarios we came across just this week - :

Canal Boat in UK&Europe:  We have a client who is a bit reluctant to book his boat now for September 06.  He just wants one week and by booking by 30 November he is going to pay 2005 prices AND get a 10% discount.  This equates to a saving of Euro 326 plus whatever % the rates increase by in  2006.  Roughly translated that is worth, at the very least, Australian $550 which as we explained to him translated into some serious wine tasting money whilst he checks out those vineyards in Bordeaux.
Motorhomes in Canada/USA :  Today I was working out a quotation for a client travelling in Toronto in August, the peak season.  By using an Earlybird deal from Cruise America which uses flexible pricing,  like an airline system, he was paying CAD$137 per day for their largest vehicle which on the standard rates would sell at CAD$269 ...which is what you WILL pay if you only book this a couple of weeks before you go.  Not to mention that he is getting 6 personal kits and a vehicle kit free of charge, which equates to an additional saving of CAD$295.  On a 14 day booking, this client would save CAD$2464 including tax -  which would probably pay all his airfares from the UK!   What does it take to make this kind of saving?  Just a $350 deposit! For details click on
Motorhomes in Europe:  Travelling to the World Cup?  Newsflash!!  We are already FULLY BOOKED  for certain vehicles and have started a waiting list.
So besides the risk of NOT getting a vehicle, lets see how much you can save.  Let's say 6 young blokes plan to follow the tour for one month.
A 6 berth for 30 days would cost them Euro 3690 but if they book and deposit by 31Dec   they will get a Euro369 discount.  You can hoist quite a few beersteins with Euro 369 or Australian $605 in your back pocket.  For details see McRent Motorhomes
Car Leasing in Europe:  So you  plan to drive around Europe.  Well the car leasing earlybirds generally come out about Nov/Dec each year.  However, if you plan to start before 01April2006, you can take advantage of an unexpected European car leasing sale with Renault.  If you booked a Scenic for 17 days, you would get 7 free days and $245 discount off the delivery/return fees.  This is worth a cool  Australian $518....a saving not to be sneezed at.  For more details click on Renault Leasing
We have also just received the Peugeot earlybird offers for 2006. You're welcome to 7 free days, 3 more free days if you have leased a Peugeot before and 50% off delivery AND collection fees. All that is required is a $200 deposit by 31March 2006. Depending on which car you choose, this saving can be worth over $1120. Details on
Car Hire in Europe - Earlybirds are starting to arrive for travel after 01April06.. Ask us for a quote today. Free upgrades!!

RAIL IN EUROPE:  How to save a heap when travelling by train:
As you are considering travelling by rail in Europe,  we will assume you know about the different Eurail passes available to you.  Now this is considerd the 'math' part of your planning.  So get out the page of point to point fares from our brochure, the price grids for the Eurail pass, the Flexi Eurail Pass, a calculator and some paper and look at the below scenarios and see how a bit of calculation, calculation and scheming can save you valuable travel dollars:

  1. Think about where or which city/country you will be spending a lot of time in before you buy your pass. For example you intend to see France, a couple of other countries and end in Italy and you have a month. Your natural inclination would be to buy a one month Eurail Pass. However, if you can start in Paris where you will be using the Metro, you avoid validating for the 5 days you intend spending there and only validate on the day you make your train journey departing Paris. If you intend spending 5 days in Rome, where again you will be using public transport, if you plan it so that your pass runs out when you reach there, you will not need the one month pass, and a 21 day pass will do. The saving will be good. For a Saver first class pass you pay $985 for a 21 day pass and $1222 for a one month pass. So for two of you, you save $474. This is a nifty saving that will pay for your local travel around Paris and Rome and a couple of lunches!
  2. Lets say you purchase a Saver First Class Pass for 10 days in a two month period. This will cost you $900 for 10 days which equates to $90 per Flex day. You need to look at the ‘Point to Point’ fares to see if it is worth using up one of your Flex days. For example: You need to travel from Zurich to Lucerne. A second class one way trip would only cost you $31 – your Flex day is worth $90. Or if you want to travel from Berlin to Warsaw, a point to point ticket would cost you $73 and your Flex day is worth $90. So save your Flex days for when you need them
  3. Then let’s cover another scenario. Let’s say you purchase a 21 day Saver First Class Eurail Pass for $985 and you time it that your Eurail pass runs out on the 21st day as you reach Paris where you intend to spend 5 days using the metro. After those 5 days in Paris you need to get from Paris to Vienna to catch your flight home. You think the best bet is the 21 Day Saver Pass ($985) and a Point to Point fare Paris to Vienna ($430). This totals $1415. However, if you look at the cost table of the Eurail pass, you will see that the difference in cost between a 21 day pass and a one month pass is only $237. Your point to point fare was going to cost you $430….so it is worth your while to upgrade to a one month Eurail pass even if you only need it for 21 days. Doing it this way saves you $430-$237 = $193 saving per person PLUS you get the added bonus of adding a couple of extra train trips or extending your general travel as you now have 30 days worth of travel.
  4. Let’s say you plan that you should be able to get away with a Eurail Flexi pass for 15 days worth of travel in two months. So for a Saver 1st Class Eurail Flexi pass it will cost you $1183. Your whole trip will be one month. Consider changing to a Eurail Pass for one month which will cost you $1222 which is only $39 more BUT you get the advantage of not having to ‘count’ your Flexi days before you use them so you can just hop on and off trains without worrying.


A 20% winter discount on the Trenitalia Pass (valid for four to 10 days travel within two months) is for sale between October 1 and December 31 2005 and valid for travel anywhere on Italy's national rail network between November 1 2005 and March 31 2006.   The discount applies across all fare types -- 1 st Class, 2 nd class, Youth (under 26), Saver (groups) and Children (4-11 years).  For example, a discounted 2 nd class 7 days Trenitalia Pass will be $316 while a Youth pass for the same duration will be $266.

The Britrail Off Peak deal represents savings of around 25% on Britail's passes. They are for sale until December 31 2005 and valid for travel from November 1 2005 to February 28 2006.

Can't get the holiday to fit into your Budget? 
Some of us actually find it a challenge to get the holiday to match your budget.  It may be an idea to work out what you want to do, see what it costs and then if you're 'over' - look at ways to trim things down.  Consider this:
You may be used to travelling in Business class when the company is paying - but when you're paying -  to save a couple of thousand dollars,  go 'cattle class'.  Just indulge in a drink or two or three and before you know it - you'll be arriving at your destination at the same time as the business travellers!  If you feel a bit stiff, go for a massage or a hot spa with all the dollars you have saved. Some of the airline seats are pretty comfy these days and with TV screens and game consoles on the seat in front of you, you can soon get hooked on playing 'trivia' with your fellow travellers and time (and you) will fly.
Consider changing your dates.... With some motorhome companies in the USA & Canada particularly,  the pick up date determines the price for the entire rental.  So if you wait a day or so, perhaps hang out in a hotel and sightsee locally, you can go from paying 21 days at USD$120 per day to paying USD$105 per day.  Over 21 days - a saving of  USD$315. 
Look at the season of travel.  Travel on either side of peak season and save.  Lets take a canal boat in the peak season at a cost of Euro 1698 and which finishes on 19August.  Start your cruise on 20August and pay Euro 1528.  A saving of Euro 170.    Remember too that peak season is often school holiday time and attractions are crowded and prices high.  Just off peak, you lose the crowds and prices drop.
The quality.  Whilst is is often good to buy the best you can get...on a holiday let your standards slip just a tad.  Do you really need a 4 star hotel with swimming pool, 24 hour room service and 3 restaurants if you are going to be out sightseeing most of each day?  Consider a clean 2 star hotel.   If you have your own transport - look at staying at hotels/pensiones just outside of town.
Meals -  Do you need to eat at the hotel?  Carry  a plastic plate and a swiss army knife in your day bag and you have an instant kitchen!  Buy fresh local produce, a baguette, cheese, fresh vine ripened tomato finished off with a crunchy apple and a bottle of water.  The food of the gods and so cheap too.  So if you were budgeting on Euro 6 per person for 3 of you for lunch, the aforementioned lunch would cost about Euro 6 for all 3 of you giving you a saving of  Euro 12 per day...
Does size matter? -  Do you need the bigger canal boat ?  If you're a family of 2 adults and 2 children and you'd love to do a self skipper cruise but it's just out of budget reach...think again.  If it's something you really want to do - compromise a little.  Don't take a 2 cabin boat.  Take a boat with one cabin for the parents and let the kids use the lounge cabin where you convert the table into another bed.  Sure it's a bit inconvenient - but only at night.  During the day, you'll probably be out and about or sitting on the deck up top or at the table anyway.  Speak to us or your agent..  Tell us your budget and we can offer suggestions.  For this family for instance, we would say cruise with France Passion Plaisance - if you travel with  one child under 16 years, you'll get a 5% with 2 children under 16 and you'll get a 10% discount.  Let's look at the savings.  A 2 cabin boat = Euro 1350... a one cabin boat with a bed in the lounge = Euro 914. Don't forget an extra 10% off for the kids!  So the 7 day cruise you thought you could not afford at Euro 1350 just came down to Euro 823.  A saving of Euro 527 or nearly 40%.

The same with a car.  Yes, back home you may drive a big  4WD...but this is just a holiday.  Do you really need a similar 4WD or can you compromise with just a normal family size sedan?  Go with the sedan and you'll cut down on your fuel costs as well.  Choose diesel where you can - it's cheaper to fill up in Europe with diesel and you get better fuel economy.  Even if you're renting, ask the consultant to note down that you would prefer diesel if at all possible.
So if you want to cut your costs, ask us..  We love the challenge!

Travel Trivia Competition:
Congratulations to Brian Jackson from Coastline Travel, Australia, Eric Millman from Glasgow and Peter Waterman from Vancouver, Canada. You each have a $150 credit to be used against any of our products. Please contact us to claim your prize Tthis is to check if you read your newsletter!) - Just kidding, we'll contact you!) This quarters competition will close on Xmas Eve. We're trying to think of a really super 'Xmas' prize and we'll let you know next issue. Please send your entries to

1. From the Canadian info below - where must you go if you want to be the first to see the sun rise in Canada?
2. If you want to travel the 'Big Sur', see the world's biggest tree and drive down the most crooked street in the world...which state in the USA would you have to visit?
3. What is the name of the world's highest waterfall ?
4. Where will you find the Spanish steps? Rome, London, Madrid, Lisbon or Barcelona?
5. Which of these three cities are closest to Great Britain: Normandy, Amsterdam or Calais?

Some travel "Did you know"...
If you're in Albania - if you nod your head it means 'no' and shaking your head means 'yes'.
Finland has 187 888 lakes and 179 584 islands
In the Sahara Desert, there is region called Tidikelt where they never received a drop of rain in 10 years
The Netherlands has the highest concentration of museums in the world . Amsterdam alone has 42.
The smallest sovereign entity in the world is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta located in Rome, Italy - just as the Vatican is. It is as large as 2 tennis courts and as at 2001 had a population of 80.
The world's worst earthquake occurred in the Eastern Med in July 1201 killing over one million people, mainly in Egypt and Syria.

Updated Canal Boat Specials:

Crown Blue Line - 2005 rates AND 10% off if you book and deposit by 15November05
Nicols - 2005 rates and 5% discount valid until 2006 rates received. Be Quick....
France Passion Plaisance - 8% earlybird discount on 2006 rates.
Black Prince - Last chance for 2005 by 30November.
Connoisseur Cruises - 10% discount if deposited by 31Oct05.

Holiday Cooking - One or two pot meals
Chilli Con Carne:
Dice an onion and brown it in some olive oil together with some chilli powder.
Add about 500 grams of minced meat, a tin of crushed tomatoes , a tin of cooked kidney beans and simmer for half an hour. Serve with rice, instant mash potatoes, crusty bread or just a bag of corn chips. Wear a sombrero!

Simple fettucine with garlic and browned butter
Add dried fettucine to fast boiling water. Cook until al-dente. Drain in colander. In the pot add a nice chunk of butter, add chopped garlic until the butter and garlic changes colour. Add the cooked fettucine back into the pot. Coat in the garlic and butter. Season with salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Add a bit of olive oil if you feel it is too dry.

Atlantic Canada: Labrador, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia & New Brunswick

Nova Scotia: Did you know that the Scots were the first settlers on the island, thus the name which menas 'New Scotland' in Latin. Novia Scotia...where nowhere is further than 35 miles from the sea.
Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia and this city which has the second largest natural harbour in the world (The largest is Sydney, Australia) will keep you busy. Whether it is exploring Keith's Brewery on a Saturday morning with live music, international foods or arts and crafts. Nova Scotia has 27 museums around the province and Kekumkujik National Park is a canoeist's paradise. When in Nova Scotia, dont miss Peggy's Cove. One of Canada's most photographed places or the Cabot Trail Drive - one of the most scenic drives in the world. It winds 300km around the magnificent Cape Breton north shore ascening to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
If it's wildlife you're interested in visit the Bay of Fundy which attracts Finback, Humpback, Pilot and Minke whales between June and mid October or try and spot a Bald eagle. The Bay of Fundy is also the place to experience the world's highest tides where you can try tidal bore rafting. For more details visit

Prince Edward Island- Voted Travel & Leisures Best US and Canada island in 2004.
The northern coast is home to Prince Edward Island National Park - a coastline of white sand beaches with beautiful bays which is popular with familes for its adventure parks and variety of attractions including soaring dunes. Things to see include Confederation Bridge, one of the longest bridges in the world at 13km which connects Borden-Carleton to mainland New Brunswick, rising 60m over the Northumberland Strait.
This treacherous coast is also home to hundreds of ships wrecked in earlier times. Anne of Green Gable fans must also visit Cavendish, French River and Park Corner, home of the Anne of Green Gables Museum
Eastern Prince Edward Island has the extremes of wild remoteness at East Point and the business of Charlottetown, the capital city . This is the place to try local lobster, scallops and mussels. Perhaps visit Cape Bear Lighthouse which was built in 1881 - the first station to hear SOS calls from the Titanic.
If you have a budding 'Tiger Woods' in the family, visit Georgetown and the Brudenell Golf Academy. One of Canada's largest golf schools. Georgetown is also the place to come if your ship needs repairs!

Newfoundland & Labrador: Channel-Port aux Basques is the gateway to Newfoundland. Visitors are welcomes year round to Canada's youngest province. Don't miss the Codroy Vally International Wetlands if you are a bird-watching fan (feathered type). The two areas of Newfoundland are distinctly different with St George's Bay being predominantly Scottish whilst Port au Port Peninsual and Stephenville are more French cultured.
Visit Gander - which is known as the 'Crossroads of the World' as its airport is halfway between Europe and North America. You'll be in good company passing through did Charles Lindberg and Amelia Earhart.
Gros Morne National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site - famous for its fjords. It has more then 65 kms of hiking trails varying between tundra type landscape to sandy beach and volcanic rock. All this gives proof to the theory of continental drift and tectontic upheaval.

Do you want to be the first in Canada to see the sun rise? If yes, then visit Cape Spear Lighthouse which is east of St Johns the capital city of Newfoundland. . Again you have two distinct areas. The Avalon Peninsula has seabirds, icebergs, whales and fabulous scenery. St Johns which still sports olde-world charm with matching pace is still a bustling city. Visit the Terra Nova National Park with beautiful coastline, fjords and 400 square kms of boreal forest where moose and bear roam.

Other places to visit include St Pierre and Miquelon which are the last of the 'French' islands. Lastly visit Witless Bay and Cape St Marys if you want to see the larges puffin colony in North America. From here you will also spot minke and humpback whales amongst the icebergs!! For more info see

Labrador: See the aurora borealis or northern lights - also known as the greatest natural light show on earth 234 nights of the year. Or visit the Land Heritage centre which pays tribut to the largest open pit iron ore mine in the world. If you visit Churchill Falls you can see one of the world's largest hydro-electric generating stations which offers day tours. Visit Happy Valley-Goose bay which today is a training centre for NATO pilots but in years gone by, was a staging point for planes on their way to Europe during World War II. If you visit during summer you can take one of the coastal boats which visit more than 40 communities along Labrador's coast which are normally inaccesible.

New Brunswick: Travel to the Appalachians, some of Earth's oldest mountains and the highest point in the Maritime provinces. In northern New Brunswick visit Hartland famous for the world's longest covered bridge which spans 390m across the Saint John River. Legend has it that if you can cross the bridge without exhaling, your dreams will come true! If you're a seafood lover, visit Shediac - the Lobster capital of the world! Shediac also boasts the warmest waters north of the Carolinas so it is a tourist haven attracting more than a million visitors each year.
In Southern New Brunswick, visit the capital of Fredericton. This 'genteel' town with remarkable victorian architecture has 460 hectares of parkland and the 19th century military compound is a reminder of it's importance as a military stronghold. Or visit Campobello Island which is home to FD Roosevelt's summer cottage - all 34 rooms of it!. If it's marine science you are interested in, visit the Huntsman Marine Science centre which has an aquarium and museum in St Andrews. This beautiful seaside resort town features the historic Algonquin Hotel (1899) and has more than a dozen 18th century buildings still standing.

Chocoholics must visit St Stephen, the border crossing town. Ganong's the inventors of the chocolate bar have a shop in town and offer factory tours during Chocolate fest in summer.
Or visit Saint John. Canada's oldest incorporated city which was founded by Loyalists from the Thirteen colonies who fled the American Revolution in 1785. More info can be found at

Single Travel and Woman alone - Yes, of course!
We have had people ask us about single travel. We've done a bit of research and it seems single travel has it's pro's and con's - but on the whole there seems to be more postives than negatives. When you travel single, you choose what you want to see and do. Yes, it can be lonely when you want to share a laugh with someone but there are plenty of ways to overcome this. Travel by train and bus and you will meet people; stay at backpacker or youth hostels; have a drink or a coffee at a pub/coffee bar, putting your foreign language skills to the test is a sure way to impress the locals or if you see a family taking photo's, offer to take the pictures for them - strike up a conversation and who knows where that will lead. Smile at people; We realise that it may feel a bit 'weird' eating alone at a restaurant and cafe - but why not read your travel guide, your book or tourist info. On the whole, just be friendly, open to conversation and even if that is not your normal personality - persevere and soon you'll be meeting others.

From a security point of view - Just be 'aware, use common-sense and you'll be fine.
Don't walk alone late at night - rather grab a cab; Don't dress provocatively and don't walk in isolated places or neighbourhoods that seem a bit seedy! For instance in some countries, a smile could be taken as an indication to flirt. Just do your research on places you want to visit. The knowledge will make you feel empowered which will become apparent in your body language.
Of course, if you're a single traveller but want guaranteed company, don't forget that there are a lot of volunteer programs out there where you can meet others and do community good at the same time. You'll then often find a buddy who will be heading out in your direction and you can hook up and travel together for a while until your paths diverge. Or peruse noticeboards on travel sites where people advertise for people to travel with. One website you can consider is

As Nike says: "Just do it". Once you've done it, you will feel empowered!



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