Archive for August, 2010

How to Pack for a European Vacation

By 1800FlyEurope in Travel Tips | on August 10th, 2010

The airfare has been booked, the hotels reserved and you just finalized the car rental for pick up at the airport. Now that the easy part is over, it is time to pack. For those who have never been to Europe, this can be a difficult task. A European vacation is much different than the last holiday your family spent at Disney Land, and you need to pack with this in mind. What to bring and what not to bring can often be difficult questions to answer. Here is a list of things that you should not leave home without on your trip to Europe.

In this day and age of technology and the major role it plays in our lives, one thing that should be included on your packing list is a universal adapter. European plugs are different than ours in the states, so a universal adapter is important if you plan on bringing your camera or any other electronic device with you. Also research on each specific country that you plan to visit as sometimes electrical outlets vary from country to country, so be prepared when crossing borders. Bringing a power outlet or extension cord can also be a good idea as some hotels have poorly placed outlets that can be a hassle more than a help.

As for the clothes that you bring with you, avoid packing white clothes. White shirts and pants do no justice in hiding stains, so just avoid bringing them with you. Pack clothes that can be worn a few times, as well as clothes that match up with multiple outfits. Being able to mix and match with a limited wardrobe can reduce overall luggage weight and leaves more room in your suitcase for souvenirs. It doesn’t hurt to do a little research about each country you plan on visiting to find out what the locals are wearing. Not looking like a tourist reduces the risk of petty theft crimes.

When it comes to bringing money and how you will make purchases in Europe, there are a few options here. The easiest and safest way to carry money around is to obtain a Visa gift/cash card or similar, upload a set amount on it and use that as your currency. These work great as they have a unique PIN number that only you know, so if it gets stolen you’ll have some time to cancel it. They are also handy as some ATM fees in Europe can be pretty steep, and the prepaid gift card usually has a no fees or a smaller fee for each transaction.

Another handy monetary tip when traveling is to invest in a cheap, decoy wallet. This wallet should be carried in your back pocket and contain a few small denominations of the local currency, some business cards that don’t’ have any significant meaning as well as any other cards/calendars that can normally be found in a wallet. A handy idea is to clean out your real wallet of anything you don’t need anymore, and place it in the decoy wallet. If you happen to fall victim to a theft, just give the thief your fake wallet and continue on your way with your real wallet hidden on you or even back at the hotel room safe.

Other items that are handy for a trip to Europe are a language book for the local language, a small flashlight, zip lock bags, padlocks for your luggage and duct tape, as there is always a need for duct tape. Instead of taking the entire roll of duct tape, simply wrap a desired amount of tape around a pencil for easy transport as this won’t take up as much space. You’ll never know what you might need it for, and it is handy when you do need it.

While this list doesn’t include everything that you need for a vacation in Europe, it should give you an idea of what are the essentials to take when traveling oversees. Book your fall vacation to Europe now and save money!

Dining Your Way through Italy

By 1800FlyEurope in Destination Highlights, Travel Tips | on August 9th, 2010

Italian food has come a long way from its origins as peasant cooking to now it is readily available internationally. Not just famous for pasta and sauces, Italian food varies greatly from city to city and region to region, each having its own unique flavor, ingredients and style. One thing you can be sure of is that you have to search hard to find a bad meal while vacationing in Italy.

Starting in the northern part of Italy, Tuscany is one of the more famous areas of Italy when it comes to eating. What makes Tuscany a delight for eating out is the way the food is cooked. Tuscan cuisine is traditionally very simplistic in the preparation and cooking of each meal. There aren’t many complex seasonings, complicated reductions or fancy sauces, just simple, elegant cooking.

Traditional ingredients include beans, fresh local vegetables, potatoes and plenty of fish and meats. The Tuscan diet isn’t as heavily centered on pasta as much as other regions, although you are sure to find some delectable pasta dishes. Butter and olive oil are traditionally served as condiments and not included in the cooking process. Due to an imposed salt tax in the early days of Tuscan life, salt is absent from a lot of dishes, including breads. You can expect bread to be baked fresh that day as bread without salt won’t last as long.

Heading a bit further south in our gastronomic gallivant, we arrive in Rome to sample the storied cuisine. Roman cooking has an interesting history based on the make up of Roman society. What, where and with whom you ate said a lot about your rank in society. Peasants ate like peasants while the wealthy nobles ate like wealthy nobles. That isn’t the case any more but it has influenced the cooking style that is evident today. The wealthy nobles had Greek slaves which explain the Greek influence in Roman cooking as well as other influences that came from the giant Roman Empire that expanded through a large part of Europe.

Typical Roman cuisine features lots of meats, nuts, wild fruits, fresh vegetables, onions, cabbage, artichokes and plenty of pasta. Popular pastas that you are sure to see on a menu will be rigatoni, bucatini and spaghetti. Rome was also one of the first civilizations to utilize pepper which was imported from the Orient. They were able to take advantage of this spice as it was a very wealthy Empire that could afford such luxuries. Rome cuisine was also an innovator in creating dishes that featured sweet, sour and savory flavorings all in the same dish. This technique was quickly adopted throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

Our palate pleasing passage finally concludes in the southern part of Italy in the region of Sicily. Another region of Italy famous for its dining decadence, Sicily has a unique cooking style that has taken influence from a multiple of places throughout the years. Having been ruled at one point in history by the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and the Spanish, Sicilian cooking evolved into what it is today with the help of these different cultures.

The Greeks introduced grapes and olives as well as the process for making wine and olive oil, explaining why Sicily is the 3rd largest producer of olive oil in Italy. The Romans introduced beans, chick peas, lentils and grain production during the rule of the area. The Arabs brought almonds, artichokes, cinnamon and sugarcane to the area, which led Sicilians to become master pastry chefs. The Spanish can claim responsible for bringing tomatoes, chili and sweet peppers and potatoes which are all staples of the Sicilian diet.

Whether you are in Pisa, Venice, Palermo or any where in between, you are guaranteed a great meal that is prepared fresh and with care. Italians take great pride in their cooking and it certainly shows. Take a trip to Italy and experience authentic Italian cuisine at its finest.

International Travel Safety

By 1800FlyEurope in Travel Tips | on August 6th, 2010

Traveling abroad is a fun and exciting endeavor that many are fortunate to experience. International travel can also be a little daunting as unfamiliar places can make people very uncomfortable and feel at risk to their surroundings. Travel is supposed to be fun and can be if you do your homework and stay aware of some basic travel tips.

The first thing to prepare for a trip abroad is to purchase travel insurance. This will protect against any lost or damaged luggage, trip cancellation protection, death and bereavement protection as well as medical insurance and medical evacuation protection while abroad. Always spend the extra $40-50 extra to make sure that all of your traveling party is insured.

Once everybody in your traveling party is insured, make sure that proper protection is taken against all important documentation. This includes all passports, driver licenses, airline ticket information, hotel documents and any other travel related documents are secured throughout your trip. Utilize any hotel or hostel safe that is provided. Place your passport, any travel visas you may have and other documentation inside the safe at the hotel to insure its protection.

Carry a photocopy of your passport on your person at all times in case you need to identify yourself. Never carry your original passport on you. Make a few copies of your travel itinerary and any travel plans you have; leave a copy with the hotel lobby receptionist as well as a copy with a few friends and family back home so they know your travel intentions. Check in with these friends and family each day and let them that everything its going alright and going well.

While traveling and throughout your vacation, make sure that your luggage is always protected and everything inside is safe. If your luggage allows, place a padlock on each zipper to lock up each compartment. Even keep your luggage locked while it is inside your locked hotel room, so as to not tempt any underpaid maid staff. While traveling in airports, bus and rail stations keep your luggage in front of you at all times and never leave it unattended.

Another good safety measure to take for your luggage is to make your luggage uniquely yours. You can do this by tying ribbons to the zippers, placing stickers and patches on each piece or by even making random paint markings on the luggage so that you know that it is yours. This becomes very convenient when trying to find your belongings at the baggage claim area. Unique luggage can also deter would be thieves as they will stand out amongst the other suitcases and travel equipment.

When it comes to traveling with money, its best to try to not carry large bills, and if possible, utilize travelers checks and credit cards as these create a paper trail if something were to happen. If carrying cash, don’t carry all your cash in one pocket. Distribute it throughout your body and use multiple pockets. If you use a wallet, don’t carry it in a back pocket where it is easily accessible by thieves and remove any sensitive information from your wallet such as you or your traveling companion’s contact information, any cell phone numbers and other information you wouldn’t want a thief to have access to.

When traveling abroad, make sure that you do all you can to try and not stand out as a tourist. Avoid having your head buried in a map in public places, displaying large sums of cash and wearing expensive jewelry. All of those things will make you an easy target for muggers. It is essential to know all local emergency numbers as well as the number to your local embassy.

Travel safety is all about common sense but doing your homework will pay off in the end to ensure safe travels. Keeping up your guard and having an eye for the unusual will help keep everyone safe and enable everyone to enjoy your trip to Europe!

Virgin Atlantic Hotel and Airfare Packages

By 1800FlyEurope in Travel Deals, Travel News | on August 5th, 2010

Thinking about that trip to London you’ve always wanted to take? Well now is the time to finally venture across the pond. 1-800-FlyEurope has just announced our new air and hotel packages with Virgin Atlantic to anywhere in the United Kingdom. Add a car rental to your package for more savings and the freedom of the open road.

Take advantage of this offer and fly into London for a visit to this historic city. Visit the iconic Big Ben, tour the majestic Buckingham Palace and experience true royalty or just take a leisurely stroll through Hyde Park taking in the sights and sounds of London. Rent a car and explore the rest of England and the UK. Drive up to Manchester and see the famous Trafford Stadium, home of the mighty Manchester United futbol club, or drive south and visit the seaside city of Portsmouth.

Getting to the United Kingdom just got easier and cheaper with a travel package from 1-800-FlyEurope. Call us now for a free quote on your next trip to the UK.

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Fare Type Round Trip     One Way
Passengers  Adults
  Children under 11