Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ongoing readers of this comforttravel@less$ blog do become experienced travel experts...

The travel tips I offer my blog readers includes this reminder:  you are the customer and you have a right to expect courteous service within a reasonable wait time—up to an hour and more is not reasonable.  Remember, you are helping other  travelers when you alert travel suppliers that they are not providing good service.
Now you too, will know better than to make the train reservations for the Le Havre to Southampton train journey with Rail Europe—they add their own service fee to all fares quoted, and though the time saved included the hassle factor was worth it, the telephone person to person reservations agent also assesses a booking fee. 
By booking in person at a SNCF (French railways) boutique store, I know my train reservations to Paris from Le Havre and then Eurostar to London will cost me much less because I'll avoid all the fees—be aware that this year the SNCF website automatically redirects to the Rail Europe USA website, and thus receives a commission from Rail Europe on your dime.
 I would suggest that when you travel overseas into unfamiliar cultures and  a language difference, take some wind down time, break for lunch or a snack, and book a rest  stop overnight at your first destination city.  It took me many years to discover that stress level lowers, and a better vacation comes from this break time.  Though it  may take some 3-4 hours to  make your further reservations directly when you are in Europe to get to your 2nd destination city, you can rest assured that there are booths at  all railway stations and some have a sign "English speaking," but if not, train agents are required to get someone who does.         
More importantly, keep this in mind:  in France though as well in any other part of Europe, there are the "solidarity marches"—the public employees have a right to strike and they are paid when they are out on strike—unions give public advance notice, which is never less than 1 week prior to the walkout, so that the public will accept the interruption.
I know that I only have a 24 hour window to board for my return transatlantic cruise, and I plan to make my train reservations directly at one of the Le Havre SNCF boutique stores for the 1-way Le Havre to Paris and from Paris to London via the Eurostar—I'll get the paper tickets to hold and use when I travel.
My online research had acquainted me with the best travel times— I had to take the 8:15 a.m. to connect to the Eurostar to get me to London near the noon hour.  I also determined that to get to Le Havre and return to Paris, I would be arriving at the St. Lazare station and the Eurostar leaves from Paris Nord station.  My arrival in Paris from Frankfurt would be at Paris Est station which is within a few blocks of Paris Nord.  And I had to give myself enough transfer time, whether by taxi or by bus.  The Metro wasn't an option due to the steps going down 3 levels and the Metro line transfers would be more steps up and down—with luggage, I knew it would be best to take street transportation.   In Paris, as in many major cities worldwide the noon hour is a bad time to use  the taxi, it will cost me much more, and the driver may not be in a hurry to get you to your  next train on time.
I also looked online for London train times to get to Southampton. 
A previous online query check had found facts about London transport from St. Pancras station (arrival and departure for Eurostar)—to travel to Southampton I needed to board the train at Waterloo station in London.  I had researched facts about London Black cabs (price controlled) versus the private cabs, and some of the sites mentioned that at certain hours of the day  Black cabs were difficult to hail.  But online research again proved useful. 

I used my search engine to ask if there was a bus between those 2 London train stations, and last year when  the Eurostar moved there, bus #59 was set into service by the London Transit Authority, opposite St. Pancras station direct to Waterloo station—also, I found out that I could buy my ticket for Southampton there, or at St. Pancras. 
I prefer not to exchange too much money (Dollars for Pounds)—I didn't want to get stuck with Pounds that couldn't be exchanged (a minimum of 10 Pounds to do the exchange to Dollars).  

More research online determined that I could purchase the 1 Oyster transportation ticket for 2.50 Pounds at St. Pancreas Station, directly from the London tourist information center booth right near where I would be exiting the Eurostar.  And credit cards are accepted.
See my last post, for the end game, and how I accomplished my planning to remain sanguine about the outcome of my comforttravel@less$ adventure.
*Check out my Authors Guild maintained website to find out all about my me, read another one of my blogs, find links to my other blogs, and the books that I have written, also a way to contact me with your comments.
Check out my other Authors Guild maintained website to find out about my upcoming E-book travel guide series.

**I am a multitask writer, as I am also in the process of writing my latest fiction novel, Book II, PARIS WARP Jousting Devils And Dragons but this is a trilogy which explores the supernatural as it exists in tandem with the world as we know it.The trilogy starts with Book I, The Haunting And Paradise Taxi/print ISBN 9780615685434 print also available as E-book Nook Smashwords Edition ISBN 9780989053600 BarnesandNoble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-haunting-and-paradise-taxi-cynthia-lynn/1114061302?ean=2940044602069

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