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Travel Questions Frequently Asked Karen

TRAVEL QUESTIONS FOR KAREN:

Dear Travelers,

I hope you will understand that because of the overwhelming number of questions received each day it is impossible for me to answer every one. I will select questions to answer based on what I believe will benefit and interest the greatest number of travelers. Also, please make your questions as specific as possible and know that I do not have the luxury of time to plan or detail personalized travel itineraries.

If your question is not selected, I sincerely apologize, as given the time, I would answer them all. If your question is selected you will be informed that it is published on our website as well as receive the answer by email.

Kindest regards,
Karen

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Category: General

Question:
Hi Karen, Do you have a recommendation for a good tour guide to arrange a private or small group tour in Ireland? Thanks very much
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jan 20, 2009]


Answer:
I don't have anyone I can personally recommend. However, AutoEurope, the company we recommend for helping you find the best car rental, also arranges for private guides and they are very selective. It would be best to contact them by phone so that you can discuss your needs and preferences. Their telephone number is 1 800 223 5555. Definitely mention you are a "Karen Brown Traveler" as they take extra special care of people who use our guides. Enjoy the bonny green isle! Karen

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Category: General

Question:
Hello Karen, I am happy to find your sight and hope you can lead us in the right direction. My husband and I and our 18 year old are planning a vacation in Europe in August of 09. We have to be in Vienna on the 6,7,8, and 9th for a convention. We have plans to see Ireland and Italy while we are in Europe. We are open to travel either before our convention or after so our travel dates are flexible. I am just trying to figure out the best route since we have a lot to see. We are thinking of flying into London since we want to fly a certain airline. The flight we are thinking about would put us in London at 6:55 am. We thought we would get a hotel and stay overnight in London and rent a car the next morning. We want to drive to Manchester to catch a ferry to Ireland. We will stay 2 to 3 days in Ireland, take the ferry back to Manchester, drive to London airport and then fly into Vienna. We will attend our convention and my husbands family will pick us up on the Monday following the convention. My husbands entire family lives in Steyr so we will spend a couple of days with them and then head over to Milan and Venice via car. My husband grew up and spent most of his adult life in Europe so he is familiar with the lay of the land. However, I don't want to do nothing but drive the entire time and I am concerned that we are spreading ourselves to thin. We can be gone for a max of 18 days. We are open to any suggestions you may have. We definitely have to be in Vienna on those certain dates and we really want to see Ireland since none of us has been there. We do not have to fly into London but we prefer it. One important question: can we take our rental car from London on the ferry and drive it in Ireland? How long is the drive from Manchester to London? Can you give me a website for information on the ferry? Thank you! Teresa
Asked by Teresa Wimmer [Jan 6, 2009]


Answer:
I am concerned you are truly trying to squeeze in too much in 18 days and that on your return you will feel that you spent a majority of time just trying to get from one destination to the next and not affording yourself the time to enjoy each destination. My recommendations would be: 1) Save time by connecting directly from London via plane to Manchester 2) On the return from Manchester, again, connect directly back via plane to London or perhaps directly on to Vienna - you will save a few days that you can add to your time in Ireland. To be honest two to three days in Ireland is not worth the effort and cost in getting there. A suggestion would be to investigate European airlines for inter-europe fares such as Ryan Air. 3) I would suggest covering the distance between Austria and Italy by train - there are great schedules and routes from Vienna. Then pick up a car in Italy - you will save on picking up and dropping off a rental in the same county and train travel is wonderful and lets everyone enjoy the trip. 4) I am not sure what region of Ireland you are interested in, but for Italy, I would suggest our Mountain & Lake Adventures as well as Italian Highlights by Train and Boat for sightseeing and pacing recommendations. 5) Finally, in terms of your car rental, restrictions are set by the individual companies. We thoroughly recommend AutoEurope - they do not own their own cars, but rather represent many rental companies and will help you select the best rental based on your needs and budget. They also give Karen Brown Travelers a preferred discount - so definitey mention that you are using our guides. Hope my recommendations prove of some help! Safe travels! Karen

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Category: Italy

Question:
Hi, We have used Karen Brown guides in the past with great success - mostly in France. This time we will be traveling to Italy and will be in Rome for a few days before going to stay wit friends in Tuscany. However, my question in whether you can recommend a hotel near the Fiumicino Airport. Our flight leaves at 9:00 a.m. and we will need to come back from Tuscany the night before so as not to have to get up before dawn for the trip to the airport. Any suggestions?
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jan 5, 2009]


Answer:
We have looked for years hoping to find a wonderful, reasonably priced property to recommend near the Rome airport. One that is convenient, but more a destination in its own right and priced accordingly - is the Posta Vecchia in Ladispol. You would love it - but it's room rates are more than most people want to pay for a hotel when the desire is simply for a comfortable bed for one's first or last night in Italy. If you had any interest in seeing Rome, I would encourage you to spend a night there - it is close and there is a train that travels the short distance to and from the airport. The other option would be to stay right at the airport. There is a Hilton that claims a moving walkway connects it to the airport as well as a Euro House Hotel. Both are easy to find if you simply google "Rome Airport Hotels". Another advantage to staying right at the airport is that you could save on a day's rental by returning your car a day prior to your departure. I would also suggest this should you decide to overnight in Rome - the last thing you want is the hassle of a car in the city. Enjoy your travels! Karen

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Category: Italy

Question:
We have used your travel guides for various European countries. If we wish to rent a villa in Tuscany Sept 2009, do you have any suggestions? For approxmiately 4-6/7 persons Appreciate your advice. Thanks
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Dec 29, 2008]


Answer:
Dear Friends, I would recommend contacting Hidden Treasures of Italy for information on villa rentals. Nicole Franchini who owns the company researches for us in Italy and we trust her recommendations completely. As she states, they offer Customized Travel Service for Independent Travelers. She does have a fee for service. Her contact number is US Toll free: (888) 419-6700. Enjoy your trip! Karen

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Category: Italy

Question:
I have all your guide books for Europe and pass them on to friends all the time.  I was wondering why none of your Italian books have a B&B or Inn choice for Santa Marguarita in Liguria.  I would like to go but would like your opinion on the city or a suggestion.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Dec 15, 2008]


Answer:
Dear Friends, We have a lovely bed & breakfast located in the town of Santa Margherita, the Villa Gnocchi. Simply use the search function for Villa Gnocchi and you will arrive at their property description page on our website. Also nearby are recommendations in the towns of Portofino and Camogli. Thank you for using our recommendations. Kindest regards, Karen

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Category: General

Question:
Hello. Your books have been wonderful our trip to Tuscany & Umbria. The only thing we need is a place to stay overnight just north of, and not far from, the Rome airport. We arrive too late for us to drive directly to Tuscany...we'll be wiped out from travel. We will pick up a car at the airport but only want to drive to hotel to stay over one night. Can you recommend an accommodation? Thank you.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Dec 9, 2008]


Answer:
We have looked for years hoping to find a wonderful, reasonably priced property to recommend near the Rome airport. One that is convenient, but more a destination in its own right and priced accordingly - is the Posta Vecchia in Ladispol. You would love it - but it's room rates are more than most people want to pay for a hotel when the desire is simply for a comfortable bed for one's first or last night in Italy. If you had any interest in seeing Rome, I would encourage you to spend a night there - it is close and there is a train that travels the short distance to and from the airport. The other option would be to stay right at the airport. There is a Hilton that claims a moving walkway connects it to the airport as well as a Euro House Hotel. Both are easy to find if you simply google "Rome Airport Hotels". Another advantage to staying right at the airport is that you could save on a day's rental by picking up your car the next day. I would also suggest this should you decide to overnight in Rome - the last thing you want is the hassle of a car in the city. Enjoy your travels! Karen

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Category: General

Question:
Hi, My wife and I have booked hotels we found in you Germany & Austria guides for the first two weeks in May 2009. The descriptions of the hotels in your guides was invaluable, and all the hotels were easy to deal with in booking reservations. While we have the 'bones' of the trip planned, we are wondering if you offer a service where you'll look at our itinerary and help 'flesh' it out. We'd like recommendations for driving routes between the major cities we're visiting, and suggestions for tours/visits for the few free days we have on the itinerary. Please let me know if you can help with this. Thanks,
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Dec 8, 2008]


Answer:
At the moment we do not have a division of our publishing company to assist with personal trip planning. I would recommend referencing our regional itineraries as a guideline for pacing and route. We used to work very closely with agents who specialized in "Karen Brown Itineraries" - they worked in an agency that my Mom owned but closed a few years ago. Most of the KB Specialists went to a company called Peak Travel in San Jose California. You might want to contact them and ask to work with one of the KB specialists. They do charge for consultation but are very knowledgeable. Telephone: (408) 246-1414 Thank you for using our guides and recommendations. Wishing you a wonderful trip! Karen

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Category: Italy

Question:
I have stayed in some of the hotels you have recommended in the past. I am now interested in taking a trip through Italy via trains, busses and ferries. We have ten days, flying into Naples from there we would like to hit Capri and the Amalfi Coast and then venture back up through Rome, Tuscany, Umbria and possibly ending near Genoa. How could we best utilize your information/advice etc.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Dec 1, 2008]


Answer:
First thank you so much for using our recommendations! In terms of your upcoming trip to Italy, my only concern is there is limited public transportation options along the Amalfi Coast. I am certain you can get assistance from the place you are staying as to local bus schedules, but this will be the most difficult stretch to travel by public transportation. Another thought would be to look into local tour companies that possibly offer day trips along the coast. When traveling to Capri the best ferry service is from Naples. My recommendation would be to return from Capri via ferry to Positano and then stay in the charming town of Positano. Traveling between Rome and Florence and Genoa is easy with lots of train options. In terms of how best to utilize our information - begin by selecting Italy as your destination and then focus your search by then selecting the different regions. Icons will pinpoint on the map where we have recommendations for places to stay, sightsee and visit. You can also overlay our Karen Brown Itineraries (click on the option in the map key box) which might help you plan your itinerary based on our suggested route. If you are a little more ambitious, I would encourage you to play with our Trip Planning function. You can actually build and personalize your route - incorporating where you want to stay and visit and the resulting personalized itinerary will then appear on the map as well as provide you with directions. Hope you have a wonderful trip! Thanks again for using our recommendations, Karen

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Category: Mexico

Question:
We are working on planning a trip to San Miguel de Allende and Puerto Vallarta. Would appreciate speaking with someone who might have some first hand knowledge of the area. Thanks.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Nov 16, 2008]


Answer:
We work very closely with a company called Different World. You have probably noticed their logo and reference on many of the properties we recommend. Similar to our research approach, they personally inspect properties and then select properties to represent. They can help you with reservations and planning your itinerary. Thank you so much for using our guides. Click on our partner page to access their website and contact information. Kindest regards, Karen

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Category: Austria

Question:
We have a timeshare in Austria next summer in Grundlesee and are looking for a special place to stay for two nights before arriving there. Any suggestions? We are in your book and are looking at the area around Villach, Austria. We are planning on 5 days in Venice, 2 nights in Austria, one week at the timeshare by Bad Aussee, 5 days in Vienna, 2 in Prague, and home out of Munich. 4 years ago we visited Hallstatt on your recommendation and will go back to do the ice caves while at the timeshare. As always, we love your books and fabulous itineraries.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Nov 13, 2008]


Answer:
Dear Friends, How fortunate you are to have an entire week to settle in one place! In terms of recommendations of where to stay before you use your timeshare, in the northwest corner of Austria is a lovely property, the Landhaus zu Appesbach (St Wolfgang) located on the Wolfgangsee. It enjoys beautiful lake views, has a wonderful restaurant, the town is charming and it is also convenient for day trips to Salzburg. Another recommendation in the southeast corner, located on the border of and looking across to Hungary is the Schloss Kapfenstein in the town of Kapfenstein. It also is a great property with beautiful rooms and a fabulous restaurant, it is castle as the name implies and they also have their own winery. Thank you for using our recommendations and enjoy your time in Austria! Karen

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