Tag Archives: #euro

Why You Need to Visit Disneyland Paris This Year

If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting Paris, and wished upon a star to walk through Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty Castle), this is the year to do it.  Disneyland Paris – the sparkling European jewel in the Disney crown – celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2017.  And they have been diligently preparing for you to ‘Be Our Guest.’

Park improvements progressed throughout 2016 to prepare for “It’s Time to Sparkle” the Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary celebration starting March 26, 2017.

This article was first published on LaughingPlace.com on April 7, 2017.

Troubled Beginnings

The path wasn’t always sprinkled with pixie dust.  “Euro Disney” – the fourth Disney castle Park – opened on April 12, 1992 to much controversy.  There were protests against this invasion of American culture in France, including a one-day train strike that effectively cut off the Disney resort to anyone without a car.

Continue reading Why You Need to Visit Disneyland Paris This Year

Surprising Ups and Downs We Encountered During our River Cruise — an Avalon Impression Review

 

The Avalon Impression (2014) is a beautiful new ship in the Avalon fleet.  I am reviewing this as a ‘hotel’ because it is your floating hotel along the rivers of Europe.  Our cruise sailed from Budapest, Hungary to Amsterdam (14 days) in August 2015, and was filled with many surprising ups and downs.

Avalon Impression
Avalon Impression
The Small Ship Difference

This was our first river cruise.  We had been on many ocean cruises, ranging from 3600 passengers to ‘small ships’ of about 650 passengers.  This was much smaller.

The Avalon Impression holds about 166 passengers — there were 150 passengers on our sailing.  The Impression has 67 Suites, and 16 outside staterooms with windows (lower, Indigo deck)

The front desk reception (also your Security team), knows each passenger by name and stateroom number.  There is a lost and found, where things that are lost might actually get found!

You get to know your fellow passengers with only 150 people on board.  River cruise passengers tend to be friendly, social people who want to get to know you.  If you don’t enjoy meeting new people, then river cruising will be more challenging for you than ocean cruising.

Avalon Impression Panorama Suite
Avalon Impression Panorama Suite, photo from the Avalon Waterways Website
Suites and Bathrooms

The Panorama Suite cabins are large with beds that face French balconies that open up almost wall-to-wall.  This French balcony design maximizes your personal cabin space, Continue reading Surprising Ups and Downs We Encountered During our River Cruise — an Avalon Impression Review

Hotel Review: Westin Europa & Regina, Venice Italy

 

We have all had some fantastic hotel experiences — whether it was the service, the location, or commemorating a special event …. and then perhaps some not so great hotel experiences.
In this series, I want to share with you some of the hotels that I have experienced.
It is a pleasure to share with you my review of The Westin Europa & Regina in Venice, Italy.  This hotel is a gem in the heart of San Marco, and is conveniently located near museums and transportation options.
Westin Regina lobby flowers
Westin Regina lobby flowers
Westin Europa & Regina, Venezia
Last stay: May 2015
Rating Scale, for reference:
1=poor
3=average
5=great
6=exceptional (rare ranking)
NE = no experience
Price — 4.  Venice is expensive, and this is the best-value Starwood hotel in central Venezia.
Westin Europa & Regina view from the Grand Canal
Westin Europa & Regina view from the Grand Canal

Hotel Location — 6.  Closer to Piazza San Marco than any other Starwood property, there are only 2 bridges to traverse from the Alilaguna stop to hotel.

Ideally located on the Grand Canal directly across from the iconic Santa Maria de la Salute church… It doesn’t get better than this.

Continue reading Hotel Review: Westin Europa & Regina, Venice Italy

Surviving the Long Haul Journey: Choosing Your Flight

Flying used to be more about an elegant journey – rather than just mere survival – especially for long haul flights.  People used to dress up for an airplane flight.  Now, it is more about functionality and endurance as airlines cut personal space to add more seats, and reduce the number of flight attendants in coach.

This has led to a different flight experience – one that I want to help you navigate.  With some advance planning, your long haul international flight does not have to be a 10+ hour nightmare in a horribly cramped prison-like seat.

Choosing Your Flight

Survival begins before you purchase your plane tickets.  When I am searching for airline tickets – for myself, or friends who are trusting me with their travel plans – I start my search on Continue reading Surviving the Long Haul Journey: Choosing Your Flight

10 Must-Have Smartphone Apps for the Savvy Traveler

 

Smartphones are indispensable in our daily lives.  While in our country, I can check the weather, plan a route home that avoids traffic, research restaurant reviews, and update my Facebook account (not while driving of course) without thinking twice about how to connect to a network.

Having the right smartphone apps can enhance your travel experiences.  As I have shared in previous blogs (7 Tips to Save Your Cell Phone During International Travel and 8 Must-Have Smartphone Communication Apps for Travel), it is wise to leave your smartphone in ‘Airplane’ mode while out of the country.

Therefore, it is very important that phone apps used while overseas work offline, or with Wi-Fi.  Here, I share some more apps I have found particularly useful while traveling.

Currency App Pic

Currency – (Free) or XE Currency (Free).

Having a foreign exchange app is important to understand how much you’re actually getting for your dollar.  Before traveling, check the exchange rate of the countries that you will be visiting.  Updated currency exchange rates can be updated with a Wi-Fi connection while abroad.  Right now, the euro is incredibly low against the US dollar.  Time to go to Europe!! Continue reading 10 Must-Have Smartphone Apps for the Savvy Traveler

10 Money-Smart Cash Tips To Know Before You Travel

 

Financial disclosure:  I have no connections with any of the financial entities discussed in this article.

I love shopping while I’m traveling, and understanding how to get the best exchange rate for euros, Pounds, and Kroners allows me to get the most for my money.  Today, I will be sharing money-saving Cash tips that can be especially helpful for international (and domestic) travel.

Related Savvy International Traveler Posts in this series:

 Nothing speaks louder than Cash

Negotiating foreign currencies used to be much more of a challenge than it is today.  With so many countries in the Eurozone, there is one currency for much of Western Europe.  In this modern age, it is much less necessary to ‘change money’ into foreign currency.  However, there are still times when having cash is very useful.

Here are some savvy traveler’s tips to avoid fees and get the most value out of your vacation dollar.

1.  Bring some cash – even US Dollars are fine. Some cash is better than no cash, whatever currency it may be.  In some countries, they will accept US Dollars even if they do not take credit cards.  They may not give you the best exchange rate, though, so be aware and check your math!

Continue reading 10 Money-Smart Cash Tips To Know Before You Travel