Tickets, Please!

I can’t begin to tell you how many times people I know back in the States have “threatened” to come visit me here in Europe. Although I have been here for more than 30 years, I can count the number of family members, friends and acquaintances who’ve actually made the trip across the “Big Pond” to see me on two hands.

One of the prevailing reasons some people hesitate booking a trip to Europe is what they perceive to be the exorbitant price of air fare. And that’s something that impacts people thinking about studying in Europe, too.

The first two times I came to Europe, I flew with charter airlines.

I don’t even remember the name of the airline I took when I was a summer exchange student back in 1972. All I remember is that my parents, sister and I drove from Willow Grove to New York City (my 1st time there) to stay at the Roosevelt Hotel, where all the student exchange groups met up. Early the next morning we kids were taken by bus to Vermont, and flew (my 1st flight!) to Frankfurt.  There we boarded another bus that took us along the German Autobahn (another 1st) to the village where we were staying in the Black Forest.

When I started college in France in 1974, my dad and I made the trip to JFK alone. My mother had just had surgery on her foot, and wasn’t allowed to walk. That year (and the following one as well) I flew to Luxembourg – via Keflavik – with Icelandair. It was one of the least expensive ways to get back and forth to Europe, and a lot of people I knew back then flew with them regularly as well.

But with the dollar taking a pummeling on the international currency market – and in an ecology-conscious, post-9/11 world – the days of the super-cheap flights from JFK to Heathrow or Charles-de-Gaulle or Frankfurt are gone. With careful planning and savvy as a comparison shopper, though, good prices on international flights are still to be had!

This morning, for example, I discovered a new blog totally by accident. It’s called I’m Black and I Travel! Although the author of this blog is not a student, because he and his wife are passionate travelers they seem to have some great tips on getting the most bang for your buck in a lot of relevant areas, including airfare. The post from 6th June 2011, called

AIRFARE ALERT: Europe, cheap or easy

is a great recent example.

So, before you disregard travel outside of the U.S. as being too expensive, spend some time not only checking out the various travel sites. Also have a look at relevant travel blogs for the kind of tips and insights experienced travelers are more than happy to share with like-minded people.

Because as Greg Gross, the author of “I’m Black and I Travel!” says:

The world is a global village. It’s time you met the neighbors.

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