By Don and Linda Freedman

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Argentina, Buenos Aires - Jan-Mar 2010
Argentina, Buenos Aires - Jan-Mar 2009
Argentina, Buenos Aires - Jan-Mar 2008
Austria - Fall 2005
Belgium, Brussels - Fall 2000
Canada - Summer 2002
Canada - Summer 2001
Canada - Summer 2000
Czech Republic - Spring 2000
France - Fall 2002
France, Paris - Fall 2000
France, Paris - Spring 1999
France, Lyon - Spring 1999
Germany, Berlin - Fall 2009
Germany - Fall 2002
Germany - Spring 2000
Germany - Fall 1999
Greece - Fall 2012
Greece - Fall 1999
Greece - Fall 1997
Hungary - Spring 2000
Israel - Fall 1999
Italy - Winter 2007
Italy - Winter 2006
Italy - Winter 2005
Italy - Winter 2004
Italy - Winter 2003
Italy - Winter 2001
Italy - Fall 1998
Italy - Fall 1996
Netherlands - Spring 2000
Portugal, Azores - 2016
Portugal, Azores - 2015
Portugal, Azores - 2014
Portugal, Azores - 2013
Portugal, Azores - 2012
Portugal, Azores - 2011
Portugal, Lisbon - 2011
Portugal - Fall 2006
Portugal - Fall 2004
Portugal - Fall 2003
Portugal - Fall 2001
Portugal - Spring 1999
Portugal - Spring 1997
Slovakia - Spring 2000
Slovenia - Spring 1999
Slovenia - Fall 1996
Spain, Barcelona - Winter 2006
Switzerland - Fall 2002
Switzerland - Spring 2000
Switzerland - Spring 1999
Switzerland - Fall 1998
Switzerland - Fall 1997
Switzerland - Spring 1996
U.S. Florida, Key West - Fall 2006
U.S. Florida - Spring 2001
U.S. Maine - Summer 2002
U.S. Massachusetts - Summer 2003
U.S. Massachusetts - Summer 2002
U.S. Massachusetts - Summer 2001
U.S. New York State - Fall 2005
U.S. New York State - Summer 2004
U.S. New York State - Summer 2003
U.S. New York State - Summer 2001
U.S. Washington,DC - Spring 2000


Don's Planning Tips

Half the fun of traveling is in the planning. Following the process outlined below can ensure you receive the maximum pleasure for your time and money. Your objective should be to arrive at your destination with the information and preparation you need to enjoy it to the max.

1. Determining Your Parameters

  • What is my budget?
  • How much time do I have?
  • What level of accommodation and food will satisfy me?
  • Will I be happy with minimal luggage, or will I need more clothing to be comfortable?
  • Do I have health restrictions?
  • Do I require travel insurance?
  • What are my travel partner(s) needs?

For example: Linda and I want to travel as comfortably as possible while maintaining our budget. We enjoy meeting people and trying new food. Some of the parameters that have worked for us, and which I would recommend for anyone, are:

  • Plan your arrivals, departures and packing to conform with new security procedures.
  • Travel May/June or Sept./Oct. - weather is still likely to be good, but you'll avoid the summer heat.
  • Consider winter travel when you're most likely to benefit from off-season hotel rates.
  • Travel by train and bus - drive only when it's impossible to efficiently use public transportation.
  • Find the best-value, whether in 3, 4 or 5-star accommodations.
  • Eat most meals at neighborhood spots to meet the locals and enjoy local cuisine at fair prices.
  • Travel with one piece of luggage each, which is carry-on size on wheels with a retractable handle. New security rules have made traveling with carry-on-only more difficult. Be prepared, if required to check your luggage, by keeping your medical necessities and essential items in a separate carry-on case.

2. Deciding on a Destination
Get ideas from everywhere and everyone - the Internet (TheTravelzine group, of course!), tourist offices, The Travel Channel, friends, travel agents, guide books, travel videos, you name it. Apply your parameters against what you have learned. (If you hate the heat, you're not going to choose the Sahara in July.)

3. Planning your Specific Trip
Start six months before your departure. Revisit the sources you used when deciding where to go and look for more specific information such as history, culture, architecture, foods, geography, key points of interest, money matters, shopping, transportation, etc. Obtain maps, transportation schedules, and costs for your itinerary.

4. Determining Your Itinerary
Be patient. It will probably take several tries to settle on a firm itinerary. Be flexible. That way you can take advantage of 'deals' available that require particular departure and return dates. Once you have decided on where to start your trip, and how long you can be away, book your flight. Some of the 'rules' that have helped us include:

  • Select locations from which you can do day trips to other places.
  • Avoid stays of fewer than two nights whenever possible.
  • Give yourself enough time to get what you want from each destination.
  • Remember that getting from place-to-place takes time and may be tiring.
  • Investigate the different transportation options open to you and their costs.
  • You can save substantially by planning properly.

5. Making your Hotel Reservations
Once you know how many nights you will be in each location, you are ready to select hotels to contact from the hotel information you have acquired. When you contact hotels, ask them to send you city maps with their hotel and train and bus stations clearly marked.   We prefer communicating by e-mail or fax, to have a printed record of the agreement. This avoids misunderstandings that can occur when reserving by phone. 

6. It never hurts to ask...
Some of our readers have reported that they received an additional discount at some (not all) of the hotels about which we've written. No promises, but we suggest that you mention TheTravelzine - you have nothing to lose.

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