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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: Germany

Question:
I would like information on B & B's and concerts in Frankfurt, Wurzburg, Bamberg, & Nurnberg during Christmas markets Nov. 29 - December 6, 2008. Thank you!
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jul 10, 2008]


Answer:
Thank you for your email and thank you for using Karen's Guides and web site.You have several ways to research your question. One is to go to our web site, choose Germany and click on the list of accommodations. You can sort the list by cities to see what properties we recommend in the cities you referred to. I would then contact the hotels and ask them individually about the concerts. Usually, the hotels are your best source for information. The other option is to contact the tourist office for the information you requested. Below I have copied test from our Germany guide with tourist office information. "Within Germany, a big blue “I” denotes the location of the tourist information booths in all major towns, train stations, airports, and tourist centers. Before you go; information, maps, and brochures can be obtained from the German National Tourist Offices or by accessing their website: www.germany-tourism.de.UNITED STATESGerman National Tourist Office, 122 East 42nd St., 20th Fl., Ste 2000, New York, NY 10168, USA, email: gntonyc@d-z-t.com, tel: (212) 661-7200, fax: (212) 661-7174German National Tourist Office, 1334 Parkview Ave., Suite 300, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 USA, email: info@gntolax.com, tel: (310) 727-9757, fax: (310) 727-9773GREAT BRITAIN German National Tourist Office, Post Office Box 2695, London W1A 3TN, Englandemail: gntolon@d-z-t.com, tel: (020) 7317-0908, fax: (020) 7317-0917 GERMANYGerman National Tourist Board, Beethovenstrasse 69, 60325 Frankfurt/Main, Germanyemail: info@d-z-t.com, fax: (069) 751903"I hope this helps.

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Category: General

Question:
After trying out your Build a trip , I saw that it provided space for Directions how to get from one destination to another. So, I bought the Premier Edition of Membership. But, as I began to build my trip...and tried printing it, the "Directions from: to: is blank. I thought your program provided that. How would that be filled in? The information is in my Karen Brown Charming Inns and Itineraries. I own that on DVD and in a book. What am I missing that this Premier Membership gives me? Help
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jul 3, 2008]


Answer:
Thank you for your email and thank you for using Karen's Guides and web site. I am sorry you are having problems with your trip planning. A few thoughts. Are you logged in when you are trying to print? Do directions show when you click on the plus symbol in the little box to the left of the number for the stop on your trip- Some countries do not have directions available so if nothing shows then nothing will print. Are you printing from the print button at the bottom of the 'My Trips' page or the printer button on your computer? If you are using your computer then it will only print what is showing on the page. If you use the print button at the bottom of the page it will print the directions whether they are showing or not.If you have a book and know where you are going you probably do not need a premier membership. If you need some books, want to see itineraries for books you don't have and want to see all of the properties contained in the books on the web site then the membership is valuable. If you just want to play with the trip planner and three months is long enough you might want to purchase the Coach Plus Membership for $10.00. When you mention a DVD are you referring to the Itineraries? My only concern is that you are using a book that is somewhat current. Properties are added and removed every year. One or two year old books might be ok but if you go too far out then I would either recommend a new book or a First Class or Premium Membership where you can see everything that is currently recommended.If you feel you do not want the membership please let me know immediately and we will refund your money.

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Category: General

Question:
I will be happy to vote, but I cannot find the correct "button" to click on to votePlease advise how to vote! Thanks!
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jul 5, 2008]


Answer:
If you click on the link in the newsletter it will take you to our award's page which details instructions. But, basically, you need to first login - and then select a category (i.e., Most Romantic, Warmest Welcome, etc) and then type in the name of the property which will result in a search/match. Select the one you want from the search result and then simply click submit. It should then acknowledge that your vote was cast. From the Award's Page you can also review the history of what you have currently voted. The other way to vote (again, assuming you are logged in) is go to the actual property website page and click on the banner-line "Vote for (Property Name)" and then you will be prompted to pick the category and then click "Cast your Vote". Please let me know if you need further assistance and thank you for using our website and voting!!!

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Category: General

Question:
I'd like to order an itinerary for a drive from Paris to the Normany WWII beaches for a 2 or 3 day stay in around Bayeux or some other place that you recommend. Then I'd Like to drive down to the Loire valley on to Strassburg Do you have ny suggestion? How do I view places to stay with this membership?
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jul 3, 2008]


Answer:
Concerning your travels, you definitely want the NORMANDY and CHATEAUX Country and possibly ALSACE itineraries. The pacing and routes are detailed in the itineraries. It is a very logical sequence to travel from Normandy and then south to the Loire. However, it is quite a journey to then cross back south of Paris and east to Alsace. You might want to consider the Dordogne and Lot River Valleys instead (gorgeous region south of the Loire-we also have an itinerary for this region) and then journey back to Paris via train (or book your return flight home from Bordeaux). In terms of places to stay - we have such a variety and I don't know your preference of B&B versus a hotel....but, know that everything we recommend we have personally selected and like and our goal is to provide you with an honest written description so that you can best decide based on your personal preferences. Thank you for using our recommendations, our website and becoming a Karen Brown Member!

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Category: General

Question:
I wanted to send a vote for your 2008 Best Value category in Italy, but cannot figure out how to do it after I log in.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jul 8, 2008]


Answer:
There are several ways to cast a vote so I am not sure where you are having a problem. First of all, the property you wish to vote for must be a participant on the web site. If you go to the property web page of the hotel you wish to vote for there will be a link in blue below the sketch and above the hotel description that reads 'Vote For ...'. If you click on this link it will take you either to a page which asks you to log in or a page where you can cast a vote. The other alternative is to click on the blue tabbed 'KB Community' near the top of any web page. Then select 'KB Awards' from the drop-down list. At the bottom of the page you will be asked to login if you are not already. Once you are logged in the page will give you a choice of four categories. Click on one and then fill in the name of the property in the box.I hope this helps you cast your vote.

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Category: Italy

Question:
We are traveling to Italy and will be in Rome for 6 days and then renting a villa in Tuscany. My question; we plan to take a train from Rome, and pick up a car rental for the second week. Would you recommend taking a train from Rome to Siena or to Florence. If Florence which location should we pick up the car from. thanks
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jul 2, 2008]


Answer:
Thank you for your email and thank you for using Karen's Guides and web site. Unfortunately, we cannot help with everyone's trip as we would not have time to research and write books but I will try to give a quick answer. Are you trying to stay in Siena or Florence for a night or two? If so, I would choose the city you most wish to visit. If not, I would contact Auto Europe and see if there is a small town in Tuscany along the rail route where you can rent a car. This would eliminate the problem of driving in or out of a city. If you need to go to a city check with Auto Europe to find which company has rental cars at the train station or if you need to go elsewhere which will necessitate a taxi ride. The easiest is always to pick-up a car in the smallest possible city. Sometimes it will cost a little more to pick-up in smaller towns but if time is an issue it will save a lot of time and the headache of driving in an unfamiliar city. If you do find a smaller town make sure they will be open during the hours you expect to pick-up the car.I hope this helps. Have a wonderful trip.

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Category: General

Question:
My husband and I are considering having a B&B in northern Italy. He was born in Italy and we both speak Italian fluently. I've just started my search for information on this and wonder if you might have some leads or advice.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jul 10, 2008]


Answer:
Thank you for your email. Before I can answer your question I need to ask one of you. What are you hoping to accomplish from opening a B&B? Is it for the lifestyle, to make money, to meet people, to retire with a little income? I think these are simple yet important questions. They will affect the size, location and periods of time you will be open.Karen and I opened and operated a B&B for almost 16 years living on site for9 years with two small children. We were very successful financially but we also worked extremely hard, 7 days a week. The demands on you are great and you have very little personal time.Very simply, I would say the most important decision to make is where to locate your property. It is very difficult if not impossible to attract guests to an area that people do not travel to. It is much easier to attract people to a popular location such as Northern Italy. Even within N.Italy there are areas more popular with travelers.I would suggest talking to other B&B owners in Italy. Usually, you will find innkeepers to be willing to share their experiences. I have no idea what it would take to open in Italy or if there are any governmental requirements. Even if there are, you may find the requirements differ tremendously from region to region.I hope this helps a little. Usually, I recommend people visit inns rather than open one but if you decide to pursue owning one I wish you the best of luck.Thank you,Rick HerbertKaren Brown's Guides

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Category: Ireland

Question:
We are reading your Ireland book and are interested in possibly booking Belcamp Hutchinson. (Dublin) Do all the rooms have bathrooms and showers? How do we see the rooms? Kindsale 0- the Blindgate House or Perryview? All of these (so far) would be May 11-22. We have used you before and been very happy...How do we book?
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jul 9, 2008]


Answer:
I saw that the office has responded with their normal 'canned' response. Unfortunately, we do not have the time to individually help people with their trips and they have developed their 'canned' responses. However, I have a couple of suggestions in response to your questions.If you go to the individual property pages on our web site you will see a link to the web site of the property. In many cases the properties will have pictures of their rooms on their web sites. If you have questions about the rooms, i.e., does the room have a bath or shower, you can send them an email from our web site by either clicking on 'Contact Property' or 'Request Reservation Information'.The easiest way to access the properties on our site is to click on the blue 'Destinations' tab and then select 'Ireland'. Once the text and map for Ireland has loaded click the green 'Accommodations' button and then choose 'List of Ireland Accommodations'. The list can be sorted by price, region and cities if you prefer one of these to the alphabetical list of properties. Just click on the property name and you will go to the property page for the hotel.I hope this helps and thank you for using Karen's books and web site.Sincerely,Rick Herbert Karen Brown's Guides

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Category: General

Question:
Do you have a suggestion for traveling to Europe from San Francisco by ship? If we wanted to avoid flying (I have respiratory problems), could we do say SF to NY by ship, then on to Europe?Any ideas you might have would be appreciated.Many thanks,
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jul 9, 2008]


Answer:
Unfortunately, we have not researched passage by ship - however, years ago I personally left from NY on the QEII and sailed to England - it was an incredible journey and experience....and my grandparents who didn't like to fly always traveled by freighter. You have to be a little more flexible as the schedule is not dictated by the passengers' wishes but by cargo and I remember them often saying that whether or not a trip was enjoyable was a direct result of the compatibility with the other passengers - unlike a cruise ship, they are fewer in number and you don't have all the social luxuries! There used to be a book published about freight travel and costs etc....but, knowing the internet - I am sure you can track down some information! I found a few on an initial search: www.freighterworld.com, www.travel.world.co.uk/ferries.htm, www.tcpltd.com/tcp_canmarsched1.htm. Also, I believe John talks each week with a cruise expert - you might listen and call in and ask him his advice.Thank you for your interest in our recommendations. Kindest regards, Karen

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Category: France

Question:
Hi. We've been traveling "with Karen Brown" in France for years!! Now we have a dilemma and need your advice. We will be in Paris the 5 nights the first week in October. My husband and I, the grandparents, are traveling with our daughter, her husband and 2 children aged 3 and 3 months. Besides the fact that we're all nuts, where should we stay in Paris? We have followed your advice often and generally stay at Relais Christine or Relais St. Jacques. With the children, we're wondering if there's a better option -- and less pricey. I'm leaning toward St. Jacques but before I book, want to see if you have a better idea. thanks so much!
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jul 9, 2008]


Answer:
THank you for using our recommendations and guides all these years! In terms of where to stay in Paris, I would consider the Grandes Ecoles - it is very well priced has lots of variety in terms of rooms and sizes and is set off the street by its own courtyard garden - which is a great and safe place with children running around for either breakfast or an afternoon break. Another thought would be the Relais du Louvre which has a penthouse and a junior suite that would be comfortable and accommodate a family. Minimal public area however, and breakfast is only served to the room. If you consider this one, be sure to ask Sophie if she thinks the space is adequate for your family. Again, thank you for using our recommendations and website. Kindest regards, Karen

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