Happy Monday! Lots of news and updates since my last roundup post.
First, Europe changed their clocks on Sunday — I meant to blog about this before any of you could have missed your flights, buses, cruises, trains, breakfasts, what have you . . . Due to a U.S. law passed in 2005, neither springing forward nor falling back now occur at the same time in North America and Europe, meaning shoulder-season travelers must be aware of the potential for time-related mistakes. You can verify the time difference between cities of interest at Time and Date, where they have two quite detailed articles about Daylight Savings Time around the world: North America, everybody else.
Second, anyone on their way to Berlin will want to take notice of the following two points:
+ As of 1 April 2008, prices will increase on a number of local transport fares — most importantly for visitors,
- the short hop ticket increases to 1.30 euros
- Schoenefeld Airport moves back into zone C; those traveling to the city on AB day or week passes will need to purchase an additional zone ticket at the increased price of 1.40 euros
- the Berlin ABC ticket — for daytrips to Potsdam — increases to 2.80 euros for a single trip, 6.50 euros for a day ticket
- the small group ticket increases to 15.90 euros for zones AB, 16.10 euros for ABC
- the introduction of a 4-trip ticket for 8 euros, a 10% savings over single tickets
If you are holding onto any unused tickets whose prices have now increased, those tickets will lose their validity on 14 April. Put another way, if you’re in Berlin for the next couple days, purchase your tickets TODAY at their “discounted” price for use over the next two weeks.
+ The BVG workers have threatened to strike again, beginning at midnight the morning of 1 April. This affects all buses, trams and U-Bahn (subway) routes, but NOT S-Bahn routes. Keep abreast of the situation at the BVG homepage, where the emergency bus schedules will also be posted. I will update on the situation tomorrow as necessary.
Third, everyone is abuzz with talk about the potential benefits to travelers coming from the Open Skies agreement, which took effect yesterday. The NY Times had an article last week — and naturally, the Cranky Flier covered all the details a full year ago. Biggest immediate effect is 130 new flights per week from cities around the U.S. to Heathrow, across Europe an 11% increase in flights between the continents in April alone. Sadly, it seems that high fuel prices are likely to keep most passengers from seeing beneficial decreases to their transatlantic fares for the time being. The good news: RyanAir has been considering an entree into the market, which would certainly shake things up for the better.
Speaking of RyanAir, they’ve finally launched domestic flights in France and Germany. Beginning in May, it will now be possible to fly Paris (Beauvais)-Marseille and Berlin-Frankfurt (Hahn). The latter service is twice daily; fares on both routes are currently being offered for 10 euros all inclusive.
Fourth, BoltBus launched last week and Budget Travel’s Just This In was there to test out the $3 NYC-DC service. Read their full (positive, despite a few kinks to be worked out) review here. The Washington Post covered the DC-NYC leg, which reached largely the same verdict.
Finally, there’s just one week left to nominate your favorite travel blogs for this year’s Travvies (which, forgive me, sounds like something you could come down with on the road, relegating you to unsavory moments in your hotel’s water closet). Every individual can nominate up to three blogs in each of eight categories for consideration. Quite a few of my regular readers are themselves travel bloggers — it is allowed (and encouraged) for you to nominate yourselves. Be nice and throw the name of two of your other favorite blogs in as well, so as not to look like a total egomaniac . . .
I’m still busily planning my upcoming trip to the UK and Spain — please please PUH-LEASE contribute your tips and advice here for your chance to win fame, prizes and my undying affection. (Where else will you find that this Monday?)