Heathrow, sucks and then

You know that you went too far giving instructions about ‘Heathrow’, ‘flying by plane’ or ‘entering no-mans-land called Customs’, when you become aware that the instructee is a actually a regular flyer too. OK. Then. No worries. Safe flight.

That said, it brought up those good and bad memories about flying via Heathrow, an experience I have complained a-many times about (With! Pictures!). But I don’t want this item to be all about Heathrow: There’s one good thing about traveling to Europe and that is, that it invites improvisation. I was reminded of this after reading Peter Rukavina’s posting about ‘First time Europe’ a couple of weeks ago. He says:

Book a room for your first and last night. And then leave the rest to chance. Of course this is more difficult if you’re traveling in the heart of the season to a popular place. But if you’re in the off-season you’ll almost never have a problem finding a room, even if you show up in a new city at 4:00 p.m.

I dare to add to that, don’t let your local travel agent book for you, just do it yourself: Most hotels in Europe do have a web presence and can be reached by phone (and fax). Hotel personnel in Western European countries speak perfect English1 and are willing to hold your room without even asking for your credit card, as long as you check-in before 5 PM. This is even true for 5 star hotels.

For your flight, consider flying to a different location and travel by train to your original destination. In most cases, flying directly to (say Amsterdam) can be more expensive than flying to Frankfurt first and taking the train from there to Amsterdam. In Europe, traveling by train (and even by bus) is always a great experience. However, always (as Peter suggests and I agree with that) travel light.

1Talking about perfect English: When sleeping over in an Amsterdam hotel for my flight back home to Canada this year, I had a Dutch hotel employee give me a wake-up call in English. This was so funny, that I had to laugh after answering the call.

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One Response to Heathrow, sucks and then

  1. Marian says:

    I have to say that I never travel light. I always bring my anvil and brass monkey collections. Of course in the event of a disaster where we all end up stranded on a deserted island, I will be the one breaking open a bottle of Villanyi Kekporto and handing out crackers and peanuts.

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