I can spend hours researching for my next trip and get great satisfaction hunting down the best deal or learning something new about a destination I am considering travelling to about some travel gadget or accessory that will make my life easier or more comfortable. In my “travels” I have also learned some interesting things that most people haven’t tried or don’t know about. In this week’s post I’ve got some helpful insights into luggage (using carry-on and not using packing cubes) and locks that you might not know about. Continue reading →
One can spend hours and hours hunting for information and now that I am retired and LOVE researching, I have some very helpful websites and apps for 2015 that can make your travels not only easier and more comfortable, but also cheaper. These sites and apps are not limited to France. In fact, most of them are useful for travelling anywhere in the world. Continue reading →
Recently I met with my friend Jan (yes, another Jan) who made her first trip to France this past Fall. I asked her about her trip and the things she learned. Hopefully others will find her insights helpful. Continue reading →
The first time I stayed in a house and not a hotel in France was in 1978 at a family friend’s place in Gordes, Provence. It gave me a taste of what it was like to really live as a local in a small town where one would walk to the local bakery each morning to pick up a warm baguette. Since then, I have truly appreciated the benefits of renting a home rather than just getting a hotel room. This post covers 10 tips for renting a home in France.
To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.
Freya Stark (1893-1993)
The other day I remarked to someone that I had recently travelled to France alone. This was not the first time that someone (female) responded with astonishment that I could do this, that I had the guts to do this. A woman travelling alone? Yes! I sensed their fear had to do with one or many of the following: Continue reading →
Although it’s only been a week since I have been home, I am now planning my next trip to France—in the Spring 2015. I hope to go for 2 months; however, let’s see how the costs pan out. In my research, one of the best tips I can share has to do with using one’s frequent flyer points. I have a ton of points with Aeroplan, which is a Star Alliance member along with Lufthansa, LOT, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and many more. I collect my Aeroplan points primarily through Air Canada; however, the tax and fuel charges by Air Canada, when I am using my Aeroplan points is ridiculous. For a one-way, direct business flight from Toronto (YYZ) to Paris (CDG), the tax is $492.16 and 45000 Aeroplan miles. That’s just one way! Round trip would be $984.32 and 90000 miles. Economy is $584.3 and 60000 Aeroplan miles return. One might as well just pay for a flight. Certainly you are getting kind of a deal going business class; however, the taxes/fuel surcharges are insane!
Who doesn’t like to save money? If you spend at least 175 Euros in the same store on the same day, you can get the VAT (Value Added Tax) back. When you are paying, be sure to tell the cashier that you would like to claim the tax so you will need the necessary form. Some stores, like Galeries Lafayette require you to go to a different floor where they have a booth that deals just with refunds.
Thanks to technology, the store will give you a customs receipt with a bar code as well as an envelope. It is now much easier to submit the form and get money back.
Now, all you have to do is go to the Tax Refund booth at the airport. (In this case, it is more reliable to go to the one BEFORE you enter customs) and have a machine scan the bar code. The machine will tell you if all is OK and if it is, you just have to put the receipt in the envelope and deposit it in the quasi-mailbox located beside the Tax Refund booth. This mailbox is only for tax refunds. Now you just have to wait up to three months for the refund on your credit card (or depending how you paid, it might also be a cheque).