For Foreign Travel I Call Railbookers.
When it comes to travel arrangements, I book it myself if it’s in the US and Canada, including air, rail and hotel, but I turn to a pro for travel elsewhere in the world.
If you’ve been to Europe and traveled by train there, you know that there are so many trains going to so many destinations over so many possible routes and offering several classes of service that it’s easy to get confused.
For instance, It took me a couple of trips before I realized what these little devices were for. They’re in every railway station, strategically placed as you go from the waiting area onto the platform. If you’re holding an “open” ticket—that is, for a train without a reserved seat—you must validate your ticket by slipping it into the machine which stamps it with the date and time. If you don’t, and a conductor on board checks the ticket and sees no validation, you can be fined. But if you’re on a train and your ticket specifies a specific seat in a specific car, no need to validate. Well, OK … but who knew?
Those little-but-important details prompted me to seek professional help a few years ago when I was planning a fairly complicated itinerary that included rail travel that would literally take me around the world. I had roughed out where I wanted to go and when, but found myself in over my head when I tried to plug in specific trains.
That’s when I took the advice of Mark Smith, the Man in Seat 61, who referred me to Railbookers. They have offices in London, Los Angeles and Sydney and they specialize in train travel.
Railbookers made all the arrangements for that extended trip and I’ve called on them for two trips since then. My upcoming travels will include Paris, a couple of small towns in France, two days in London and then up to Scotland for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Matthew Foy of Railbookers worked out my itinerary, did all the ticketing for all the trains, reserved accommodations for me in hotels all along the way, and got me a choice seat for the Tattoo.
It all “got real” last week when a packet arrived by courier from London. Everything was all neatly laid out in chronological order: train tickets, vouchers for the hotels, and of course my ticket for the Tattoo. I went through everything slowly and methodically, day by day, checking every ticket and every voucher against my itinerary. As expected, it was all perfect.
I’m off in three weeks. Regular reports and photos to come, of course.