Your own tour operator or 8 tips for beginner eurotourists
Having dreamed many times about a trip to Europe, listening to my friends, reading blogs on the net, I realized an important thing: it’s one thing when the whole trip is in the “behind the glass of the bus” mode or when you depend on the tour operator choosing the route, hotel and others the benefits of civilization, and it’s another matter when you are your own tour operator. This, of course, may seem complicated. Especially if there is no experience and only a foreign language of a school level. But this is only at first glance…
In this article we present you the experience of one trip (Tomsk – Germany – Belgium – Netherlands – Germany – Tomsk). It may be useful to you, because you will not step on our rake anymore. Plus – this will protect you from unnecessary gestures and expenses.
I’ll tell you that in Europe, at least some knowledge of the English language is still desirable. With the help of elementary phrases from the phrasebook, you can already ask the way and navigate. We were refused only in one case out of twenty. So feel free to ask! And now – a few promised tips, arranged in the form of an algorithm.
Low-coster (from the English. Low cost – low cost) or discounter – an airline whose business model is based on providing the lowest possible price for a flight.
numbering is small.png1. We buy tickets
This is best done in advance. And be sure to buy a round-trip ticket right away – it’s cheaper. Moreover, if the flight is in transit (and to Europe from Tomsk it is not otherwise in the way: we had to fly to Moscow, transfer to Germany and the same way back). Tickets can be bought through the airline’s website, or through well-known aggregator sites.
When we chose an acceptable option for connecting flights, it still did not suit us – the waiting time between flights was too long (up to 8 hours or more). Therefore, we went to the airline ticket agency, where they found an option for 20 thousand (!) Cheaper and with an expectation of no more than 3 hours.
numbering is small.png2. We reserve a hotel
I ask international colleagues who ate the dog on flights and reservations:
– Are there any sites where you can book a hotel abroad?
– And what did “Bucking” not please you? – answer me with a question for a question …
And soon I myself became convinced that this site (from the English to book – to book) is very convenient and simple, and in its database there are so many offers for hotels in the world (to be precise – 544 458) that I’ll look for something else not necessary. By the way, the site’s advertisement flaunts right behind Rembrandt’s sculptural group “Night Watch” in Amsterdam. The interface is intuitive: you type the city you want to go to, indicate the dates, the number of days and nights, as well as the parameters that will be most acceptable to you – cost per night, hotel star rating, number of rooms required, and the computer displays all the suitable options. Usually there are more than enough of them. Even three days before the trip, we found very decent offers.
The main advantage of the site is the reviews of tourists. There are almost 40 million of them. So I chose the hotels – I read whether they are far from the center, whether it is noisy there, whether they are deliciously fed, whether they often clean, whether the staff is polite. Coincidence with reality – 100%. After staying at the hotel, the site offers to fill out a small review form. 70% of guests willingly do this and leave reliable information, because they understand that someday they themselves will need the recommendations of eyewitnesses.
For example, I was struck by such a review about Hotel Groeninghe in Bruges: “The best location and at the same time a quiet area (we always quickly found our way home, because the hotel is not far from the cathedral, which can be seen from everywhere); the owners of the hotel are wonderful people who bother about you as a native, make coffee and eggs in the morning, prompt the necessary shops and cafes, are always happy to see. Excellent breakfasts (with fresh strawberries, homemade jam, a good selection of cheese, sausages and fruits, smells of muffins in the morning …). Towels and sheets were changed every day (I don’t remember when we were still spoiled)! The room would be a little bit larger, but for Brugge this is basically the norm. The main thing is that there is everything you need (except for the refrigerator, but the hotel owner immediately suggested using his own, which is located in the kitchen on the 1st floor). ” As you rightly guessed, we stayed at this hotel, which we never regretted.
As it turned out, not all payment systems cards are accepted at the time of booking (in different hotels in different ways). Better if you have a fallback – another card. Immediately after booking from the hotel, we received a letter stating that the credit card of the Mastercard payment system was unavailable and the funds were not debited for some reason, and offered to enter the data of another card or choose a different payment method. We quickly resolved the problem by entering Visa card details. The hotel administrator immediately confirmed receipt of funds. At the reception, we just showed a passport and we were accommodated in the selected rooms.