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Planning an Overseas Vacation After BK13- Travel Agent or Not?

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    Question Planning an Overseas Vacation After BK13- Travel Agent or Not?

    shipo , this is probably a question you can answer quite well with your many areas of expertise.
    When you and your wife took your recent European trip, did you pay for the services of a travel agent? And if so, how and where did you find them? (i.e., reviews, internet ads, a friend or family member recommendation, etc.) Did they help you plan your itinerary or just book your flights and hotels?
    We need some guidance and advice to book the kind of leisurely yet culturally fulfilling trip we want after twelve years in the barren wastelands of Colorado BK and we just don't know where to start.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence Barbisi!

    I've traveled a LOT over the years, and other than my first solo trip to Europe in 1982 and then the various corporate trips where I've had to use the company travel agency, I've always booked my own trips. For the UK and Iceland trip last summer, my wife and I decided where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see, and then started doing internet research on where to stay. Sites like Expedia are great resources as are various YouTube channels for areas you have of interest; we did the whole divide and conquer thing, I did the actual research of the hotels and airlines and my wife did the YouTube gig.

    Where have you a mind to visit? I may or may not be able to offer some suggestions.
    Latent car nut.


      Thanks shipo for the info!
      I am most interested in Europe of course, since I speak German and French and also knowledge of Italian.
      Since I spent two months studying in Germany already many years ago, I think I would like to start with France first since neither of us have been there. (Since Zombie13 doesn't speak any languages anyway, where we go is pretty much immaterial to him, LOL!)
      Rather than a "blitz" of the continent, I think the first trip, should be confined to one country and as leisurely and gently paced as is reasonable because stress is all we have known for nearly 9 years. (2014 is when we bought the first fixer upper bk13 destination house.) And the two moves since late May to and within Washington were nothing if not stressful. Only now are we getting in a more manageable routine.
      Rather than having a different hotel room each night and needing to rent a car, we are thinking a Viking longship (or a similar small river cruise ship line) with daily disembarkments and cultural excursions would be a nice and easier way to begin touring. 10 -14 days maximum because of Zombie's job.
      Do you personally have any experience with river cruises? (We are not interested in Caribbean huge cruise ship or island vacations since I am not a "psychically gifted outdoor or underwater athlete" (too many injuries!)
      Where do you recommend buying travel and health insurance?
      Any other suggestions or feedback?


        I love traveling in both Germany and France; oddly enough for very different reasons. I don't speak any language other than English and yet I have never had a problem communicating dating back to decades before smart phones could do it for you. The river cruises have a certain appeal for me, but I've always balked at the price; they seem rather exorbitant even if they do take care of you 24/7.

        A few thoughts:
        • As with our trip last summer, one very workable model is setting up a home base for say, a week at a time and doing more exploring within a certain radius of said base. For that trip we started in Manchester, UK and then hopped over to Reykjavik for the second week.
        • For a city like Paris, yikes, even two weeks isn't enough to cover all of the high points, regardless of where your interests lie.
        • While I have rented cars in Europe, it really isn't necessary unless you plan on being in a different remote location daily; the trains really are that good. Last summer I ended up renting a car for a single day up in Iceland; a cute trick is to avoid the American rental car agencies and opt for one based exclusively in Europe. I found for the identical car, the American agencies were nearly three times the daily cost of the European agencies, the only difference was the European cars were primarily manual transmissions (which I prefer anyway).
        • One option if you're travelling light would be to buy a Eurail pass and go where ever/whenever you want; last time I heard it was something under $300 per traveler over 60.
        • As just a suggestion, what about a trip starting say, in Normandy, traveling down through Paris, then into the Loire Valley, over to say, Lyon, down to Provence and Marseilles, and then along the Italian Rivera through Pizza, Florence, and Rome?
        Regarding travel and health insurance, I've never opted for such things, my current health care and my various credit cards pretty much cover such issues if they ever pop up, and so far they haven't.

        Speaking of credit cards, many charge a "Foreign Transaction Fee" upwards of 3%; CapOne and at least some Chase cards have no such fees and that's what I typically use when I'm abroad.
        Latent car nut.


          I have no advice, but to say Barbisi and Zombie13 are living the life!
          I am not an expert. I just share my experiences in the Wonderful Wacky World of Chapter 13! Filed 3-30-18 Confirmed 7-11-18 Discharged 6-8-22


            Thank you shipo! And Carmella - thank you as well! We are getting there, still feels like recovery.


              shipo, thanks for the extra tips! I think we'll check and see what coverage we have with our group health insurance and see if we might need trip cancellation with our credit cards whenever we do finally book that vacation. As Zombie13 said above we are still recovering.
              Carmella , don't get jealous -yet - I honestly don't think we are actually ready for a big adventure any time soon!
              Moneywise, we are stable but emotionally and physically we just aren't there, LOL!
              Last edited by Barbisi; 02-05-2023, 06:33 PM.


                Maybe it's just me, but I find it delightfully entertaining just researching "What if" vacation destinations.
                Latent car nut.


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