Sunday, June 17, 2012

France & England on $98 a Day - The Bottom Line

Sign in Vernon, France
Did we make our budget? Almost. We exceeded it slightly, not because we neglected to plan but because we could not plan the weather. And it was wretched. Schlepping suitcases on subways is fine as long as nature cooperates, but it is simply too difficult to hold an umbrella and maneuver two suitcases at the same time. It's also quite difficult to picnic in the rain. Perching on a wet stone wall holding a sandwich in one hand and an umbrella in the other doesn't have any appeal. We would have come in right on budget if we had not had to take so many taxis or eat in so many restaurants, but we felt it was wiser to retain our sanity than adhere to a rigid budget.  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Can You Trust Your Credit Card Car Insurance? - Flat Tire Follow-Up

"Tire damage, unless damaged by fire, malicious mischief or vandalism, or stolen or unless the loss be coincident with a covered loss [is not covered by, for lack of a better term,  credit card car insurance]."

That's the explanation from the Chubb Insurance Company which handles claims for my credit card company, Citi Bank. 

I've rented dozens of cars, domestically and internationally, always relying on the car insurance provided by my credit card and refusing any additional insurance from the rental agent, but this is the first time I've had a claim.  And that claim was denied. (Click this link to read about our misadventure with the tire in Dinan, France.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

France & England on $98 a Day - Eurostar

The St. Pancras Rail Station in London is a beautiful and imposing building.
We enjoyed taking the Eurostar under the English Channel, going from London to Paris in under two hours and returning from Calais, France to London in one hour.  There are just a few tips to keep in mind.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

View of the Seine, complete with castle, from the Vernon riverbank.
One of the pleasures of staying in a B&B or renting an apartment is that you often find congenial guests or hosts with whom you can share travel adventures and tips. In Vernon, at the lovely Villa Geraldine, we were lucky enough to share breakfast with two well-traveled Canadians, Diana and Peter, who were driving to Nice on the French Riviera after they visited Giverny. David and I talked about our travel style, gave them a card with my book information, and, in return, they shared with us some of their experiences staying in French gites.

When we got home, I was delighted to find that Peter had e-mailed some of the road rules he and his wife use to plan frugal trips. He's agreed that I can share them with you.

France and England on $98 a Day - Giverny

Lack of wi-fi prevented me from writing about Giverny at the beginning of our trip, but since this travelogue would not be complete without it, we'll leave London and go back to France for a moment.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

France on $98 a Day - Driving

Pont de Normandie over the Seine River near Honfleur, the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world when it was built in 1995.
Driving in some parts of the world, Mexico and Ireland come to mind, is not for the faint of heart, but driving in the rural areas of France never involves a white knuckles grip on the steering wheel. As long as you keep a few points in mind, driving in this wonderful country is actually a pleasurable experience. But do remember these things:
Know what cities are in the vicinity of your destination and you'll find the road signs helpful.