Trip Coach: August 9, 2005
Budget Travel Editors: Welcome to this week's Trip Coach. Let's get started...
Williamsburg, VA: What time of the year is the best time to travel to County Cavan, Ireland to do genealogical research? We would like to travel when the weather is temperate, however, cost is a consideration. Please advise.
Budget Travel Editors: The Ireland B&B packages are perfect for you; you'll get round-trip airfare to Dublin, a seven-day car rental, and six nights of open vouchers good at more than 2,500 B&Bs across the country, including Co. Cavan. (Take a sneak peak at some of them by logging onto tandctrade.com; make sure you look for the ones that accept vouchers.) Your first night will be prebooked at a Dublin hotel (unless you request otherwise), but after that, you're free to skip around Co. Cavan booking each B&B night as you go. Don't think a week is long enough to trace your roots? Add on extra days. Want to splurge on one night in a castle? You can tack that on, too.
If you wait to go until November, you'll still get pretty temperate weather (as temperate as Ireland weather ever is; many people happen to think that the chill and fog only add to the experience), but fewer crowds and better prices. Low season pricing runs November to March -- holidays excluded -- then rates start creeping up until the summer. Shop around with Ireland.com (800/896-4600, ireland.com/travel), Brian Moore International Travel (800/982-2299, bmit.com), and Celtic Tours (888/833-4373, celtictours.com), to see who's got the best deal for you.
Lake Charles, LA: When traveling coach class to Europe what is the best seat selections?
Budget Travel Editors: Aside from a good rule of thumb of asking for a bulkhead or exit row seat on any flight, international or domestic, when you check in, I'd recommend visiting seatguru.com. The website lists major airlines, their carriers, and gives the lowdown on which seats have the most room, are the quietest, etc. Good luck!
Bradenton,FL: We would like to plan a train trip in Italy for late October or May, 2006. In your opinion when is the best time to travel to Italy? Thank you.
Budget Travel Editors: Both October and May are safe bets for a visit. You can expect generally sunny skies, pleasant weather for outdoor sightseeing, and a (comparative) dip in tourism and prices. If you opt for October, avoid staying over into November--Italy's wettest month.
Fairfax, VA: Several years ago my parents went on a trip across Canada by train. My Mom really wants to go on another trip like that but she thinks the price has really gone up over the years and may now be unreasonable.I would like to plan this trip for my family. Can you suggest a company that may give us the best deal? The trip would be for about a week and possibly in May (if this is a good time) Thanks
Budget Travel Editors: Via Rail, Canada's Amtrak, travels from Toronto to Vancouver (or vice versa). If you're willing to invest the time and money to travel by train, it's a great route through diverse landscapes. You can even request special stops between Sudbury Junction and Winnipeg. The train leaves Toronto on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and Vancouver on Fridays, Sundays and Tuesdays. A one-way, comfort-class, adult fare departing Toronto in May is about $350 ($425 CAN), and there are off-peak and advance purchase discounts.
Here is more information about the Toronto-Jasper-Vancouver route: viarail.ca/trains/en_trai_toja.html
If you're looking for a shorter train trip, we're covering this topic in the upcoming September issue. Via Rail has just introduced a new class of service called the Easterly class from Halifax to Montreal from May through October, which includes redecorated cars, two meals featuring local cuisine, and a "Maritime Learning Experience".
You can reserve your tickets at viarail.ca.
Lake Charles, LA: We are planning a trip to Italy this fall. We would like to drive from Rome to Milan and take in the sights and cities along the way. We are planning to visit Rome, Spoleto, Florence, Venice and Milan. Is driving in Italy only for daredevils? Do you have any recommendations on not to miss sights along the route. Thanks for your help.