Tag: Europe Travel

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And the Winning Country of Eurovision 2015 Is....

Where: Austria
May 26, 2015 at 10:08 AM | by | Comments (0)

While Americans were celebrating our Armed Forces over Memorial Day weekend, across the pond all of Europe was abuzz with the annual song contest Eurovision. Celebrating its 60th year, the competition showcases some of the best in songwriting and performing from each European country. (Think of it as the Olympics of music.) As is tradition, the preceding year's winning country plays host to the live concert, which drives a large number of music tourists to one city. This year that host city was Vienna, thanks to last year's win by Conchita Wurst.

This year was also a special one because the contest saw a new country competing. No, a new European country wasn't created minutes before the deadline for entries — rather, Australia traveled halfway around the world to show Europe its talent. You see, the Aussies are pretty big fans of the show and this year they were invited to compete. Alas, they came in 5th place — so we won't be watching Eurovision live from Sydney Opera House in 2016.

So which country took home the win? Where will all of Europe's music masterminds be headed in 2016?

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Good News! American Airlines' Economy Class Breakfast is Finally Edible

May 7, 2015 at 5:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

It may have taken a few years, but American Airlines has finally come around to offering a better breakfast in economy class, on long-haul flights.

You see, it used to be that passengers in the back of plane, on transatlantic flights between the U.S. and Europe, were treated (we use the word sarcastically) to a small and salty hot dinner then, several hours later and before arrival at the destination, a greasy croissant would arrive on a tray. Said croissant would leave grease marks all over the tray, be accompanied by orange juice and little side packets of butter and jam, and altogether make you feel as though your face were a grease slick until you eventually had a chance to shower away the memory of the flight.

We first complained about the meal way, way back in 2011, and went on to take a distinct interest in airline breakfast meals over the years. See our "Surprisingly Awesome Airline Meals" category for times when airlines actually got it right.

Now, the AA has finally cleaned up their act to change economy class breakfast into a pleasant little boxed meal containing things you might want to eat, and wouldn't feel gross for ingesting after a lengthy trip.

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Flight Review: What It's Like to Fly Wow Air's $99 Flights From the US to Europe

May 4, 2015 at 10:05 AM | by | Comment (1)

We know, we know. $99 for a flight from the U.S. to Europe is simply too good to be true. Obviously, with a fare as low as that, something must be wrong, right? Well, wrong. Not only is Icelandic ultra-low-cost airline Wow Air offering such deals, but there's nothing suspicious at hand here.

To prove it, and to test the airline's transatlantic service (we've flown them from Iceland to London previously), we purchased said $99 fare and flew it ourselves. Here's what happened.

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What's the Difference Between the Seats on Wow Air?

April 28, 2015 at 11:06 AM | by | Comments (0)


BTW - he's sitting in a "L" seat

We've spilled a lot of ink (virtual ink?) when it comes to talking about the ultra-low-cost carrier Wow Air. Wow, based in Iceland, has been flying since 2012 between Reykjavik and Europe, but only recently extended their insanely cheap flights to the U.S., with flights to Boston and, coming soon, Baltimore-BWI.

Some of their promotional fares, like $99 from Boston to Europe via Reykjavik, do seem unbelievable, but having flown Wow before, we bought, and recently flew, one of their new U.S. routes. The full review will follow, but for now we'd like to address one of the most confusing aspects of the booking experience: which Wow seat to choose?

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Airlines Need to Get More Creative When It Comes to The Passenger Experience

April 16, 2015 at 10:35 AM | by | Comments (0)

The airline industry's Passenger Experience Conference took place this week in Germany. The host city, Hamburg, is an excellent place to begin partying at five in the morning, but the tone of the meeting's message was a bit more serious.

During the opening and closing ceremonies, airlines were called upon "to stop their preoccupation with providing airline passengers with packaged entertainment and open up their minds to the wonders of the world above which they are travelling." What does that mean exactly? The wire story from the event being passed around the Internet says it best:

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Some Guy Computed The Perfect European Road-Trip… Do you Agree?

April 13, 2015 at 11:35 AM | by | Comments (0)

How much trust would you put in a computer program calculating the precise route to your European vacation? Well, the dude that crafted Michigan’s perfect road trip and determined the optimal Kerouacian trip around America recently released his map for Europe.

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The Hills Will Be Alive on May 24 for the European Day of Parks

April 1, 2015 at 8:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

Here in the nifty fifty we have all kinds of days and weeks devoted to national parks, but apparently we aren’t the only ones celebrating the great outdoors. Those in Europe get in on the fun as well as European Day of Parks is a thing and it’s coming up next month.

This year things are scheduled to take place on May 24, as they embrace the motto—Nature is our Business. The events and activities depend on the park, but expect lessons on the importance of protected areas to the development—environmental and otherwise—of the region. It sounds like special marketplaces will be set up to show off local products and other green goodies.

Things have been taking place like this since 1999, after the folks over at the EUROPARC Federation thought something like this might be a good idea. So if you’re in the neighborhood towards the end of May be sure to skip a museum and head into a park, show nature some support, and enjoy the day.

[Photo of Krkonoše National Park: EUROPARC / Facebook]

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Would You Fly on a $15 Ryanair Flight from Europe to the U.S.? (Did We Mention It's Ryanair?)

March 18, 2015 at 1:22 PM | by | Comments (4)

A $15 for a flight from Europe to the United States sounds too good to be true. But that's what notoriously cheap Ryanair is hoping to do.

News came out yesterday that the Irish airline got approval to offer such low fares on one-way transcontinental flights from smaller European airports like London Stansted to key cities in the U.S. like New York, Boston and Miami.. Of course, this being Ryanair, an airline that really sticks it to you with baggage fees and onboard fees, will probably charge passengers other ridiculous fees to makeup for the low fare.

We're thinking boarding pass printing fees, carry-on fees (small fees for small carry-ons, big fees for big carry-ons), in-flight entertainment fees, lavatory fees and maybe even fees to recline your seat and take off your shoes. In addition to the existing food and drink fees and fees for different kinds of seats.

But if you're the kind of person who abstains from buying food and drink on a flight and can wear all of your trip outfits on the plane, then this fare might be just what your strained bank account was hoping for.

In the meantime, here are 5 tips to prepare yourself for the next great airfare deal.

Would you fly a $15 flight from Europe to the U.S., knowing that you'll be nickel-and-dimed the all the way through? Sound off in comments below!

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How to Get to Andorra, Europe's Teeny-Tiny Pyrenees Paradise

February 25, 2015 at 2:30 PM | by | Comment (1)

The itty-bitty country of Andorra is carved from the Pyrenees, with its cities all nestled in green valleys surrounded by snow-topped mountain peaks as if ripped from a Ricola commercial. Our routing to Andorra began with a flight to Barcelona, and a trip to Barcelona's bus stations to ask which would be the next bus to Andorra. We advise you to do a little more advance planning than that, and we're here to help.

With no airport and no train system, Andorra is perhaps one of the least accessible countries in Europe. It likes it that way, however; Andorra has been independent since 1278 and, at only 180 square miles, ranks as the sixth smallest European country (the five smaller are Vatican City, Monaco, San Marino, Liechtenstein and Malta).

Its tallest peak (Coma Pedrosa) is nearly 10,000' high, and the population is approximately 85,000 people, which pales in comparison to the nearly 10 million annual tourists who come to Andorra for skiing, duty-free shopping, and the Caldea spa.

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8 New Reasons to Buy a Eurail Pass This Year

February 10, 2015 at 10:17 AM | by | Comments (0)

Eurail, popular with travelers looking to bounce around to multiple countries in Europe, recently announced major additions to its pass plans for 2015.

The biggest news is the addition of four new countries - Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Poland, and Serbia - that can be explored using the rail pass, bringing the total to an impressive 28 countries. That in itself is a reason to pull out a map and start considering possibilities.

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Get Schooled, in Wine, in Bordeaux

Where: 3, cours du XXX juillet , Bordeaux, France, 33000
January 5, 2015 at 3:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

We have to admit: when we planned a trip to Bordeaux last year we expected a fairly conservative, overly touristy wine city. What we found, however, was a hip and happening sort of place where even the wine trade plays it cool at school.

Determined to get right into the wine scene, we booked a two-hour wine workshop at L’Ecole du Vin, run by Bordeaux’s official wine association, the Conseil Interprofessionnel du vin de Bordeaux (from now on known as the CIVB because we don’t want to have to type that out again). We walked into a high-tech, all-white and walnut laboratory of which Louis Pasteur would be proud.

(Check out the pics in the photo gallery below!)

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3 Hours Flat from Amsterdam to Paris on the Thalys Train

December 23, 2014 at 11:41 AM | by | Comments (0)

The Eurostar and the French TGV may take up most of the spotlight of Europe’s high-speed rail network, but there are other options for zooming through the continent’s patchwork of countries, depending on where you go. There is the sleek, white, and German ICE and, if you’re looking to travel between Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris, the shiny, red Thalys.

Thalys reduces Amsterdam to Paris, a 316-mile, 5-hour drive, to almost three hours flat (ok, 3 hours and 14 minutes) of high-speed comfort. It runs between Amsterdam Central Station and Paris Gare du Nord, giving you the advantage of city center to city center travel too. Stops along the way include Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Brussels.

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