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Archive for September, 2007

Which is the easiest, cheapest, most reliable way to get around the East Coast? Props to Gary Butterworth for a great post laying out the pros and cons of car-free travel options.

Quick links to Greyhound, Amtrak, Washington Deluxe, New Century Travel, Vamoose, and this big list of companies — so you can check for yourself which is the best deal for you.

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Improving on an idea many of us are familiar with from the frozen foods section of our local grocery store, many DC retailers are seeking to lure shoppers with free candy, wine, beer, manicures, yoga and even palm readings. You don’t need to buy, you just need to know where to be! You can find a detailed list of freebies showing addresses, telephone numbers and websites here.

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I recently received a reminder from the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg that it may be nearing time to vote in certain U.S. elections. The 2008 general election is still over 400 days away, but maybe your state, county or city is holding a primary or election this fall? And maybe you’ll be abroad on the big day?

First place to look and see if this will even affect you is your state’s Secretary of State’s website. You can find a link to all 50 states here.

If you want to know what you need to do to vote absentee, the best resource is the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website. You can find state-by-state instructions here.

It is best to complete all necessary registration and absentee ballot requests by the end of September, to ensure that everything reaches you in time for your vote to be returned and counted in the election. There are still a couple of September days left, so get on it!

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An interesting development in travel, largely inspired I assume by the hassles of airplane security and the increasing cost of jet fuel, is the entry of delivery companies into the luggage transport field. Dana blogged about a couple of services for business travelers taking this idea to the extreme over at the Geek Buffet.

Today while I was looking at shipping a package via DHL, I discovered a new service they’re offering within Germany. They’ll transport up to 31.5 kg (70 lbs) of luggage for a flat 13.90 euros. If you want them to pick it up, that’s an extra 3 euros.

Regardless of whether you are traveling to deepest Bavaria or the Müritz National Park up in the North, your travel bags will arrive at your destination normally within two working days. The only exceptions are the islands in the North Sea and the Baltic where the delivery normally requires four working days. No surcharge will be claimed for transport to these vacation islands.

If you’re flying within Germany on a low-cost carrier and need to transport a lot (or simply heavy) baggage, this could actually save you money over excess luggage fees (RyanAir, for example, charges 8 euros/kg over 15 kg and maxes out at 25 kg total per passenger). Or if you’re hiking from one mountain to another and want to pare down your stuff, it’s likely worth the 14 euros to pick it up at your final hotel or destination.

If you can fit your suitcase in a box (max. 120x60x60 cm), you can save money using their traditional package handling service. If you pay online, you can have up to 31.5 kgs with home pickup included delivered within Germany for 12.90 euros. For boxes, they advertise next business day delivery.

Even the lazy can schlep lots of luggage on a budget!

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That is the question. There is no solid answer. Nevertheless, here are a few considerations and suggestions to take into account.

(more…)

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Exciting, I know, two freebies on one Friday. . . saw this one waiting for a tram in Brussels this evening.

Brussels has been celebrating its sixth Mobility Week, which culminates this Sunday, September 23, in Car Free Sunday. In order to encourage the Bruxelloises to discover how easy and wonderful it is to travel via public transportation versus private vehicles, the city has outlawed all non-emergency traffic and MIVB/STIB (the Brussels Transport Authority) is making all forms of public transport free for the day. If you happen to be here, you too will benefit from no fares and increased service this Sunday. Bon voyage!

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Every year once per year, a number of Philadelphia museums open their doors for free to anyone with a student ID. It’s called College Day on the Parkway and will take place next Saturday, September 29th. Participating institutions include:

For this event, the museums even run a complimentary shuttle service to ease your visit. If you stop in at at least three of the institutions, you can enter a raffle for prizes like movie tickets or restaurant gift certificates. Would love to hear back from anyone who makes it to this event!

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