This August Ryan and I are using our generous European vacation allowance (the German legal minimum is 24 days) to visit Ireland and Scotland, with a quick stop over in London. We've chosen to forgo our beloved Rick Steves this time around, even though we love his books, because of the crowds at his recommended sites. The plan is to fly into Dublin for a few days, then hit the west coast of Ireland, drive over to Belfast, take a ferry to Scotland, visit the highlands, hit Edinburgh for the theater festival, and then train to London, visit our friend Bonnie, and then fly back to Frankfurt. This amounts to a lot of planning.
While scouring the internets, Rough Guides, and Lonely Planet, I've discovered a few travel tips I thought I'd share.
Car rental: Stranraer, the Scottish village at the end of our ferry ride, only has a Hertz rental car. I originally used the English website (with the ".co.uk" ending) and got a reasonable price. But when I tried to order the car, I had to enter my country of residence (Germany) it took me to the German website and doubled the price! I emailed tech support thinking this had to be a mistake. But no, apparently they hate German people. (My interpretation, not theirs). Luckily I found which is a US-based consolidator. They got me a much lower price from that same Hertz rental in Stranraer. (And they are Rick Steves-approved.)
My second travel tip is this interesting article from The Boston Globe about what makes a vacation enjoyable. The findings are rather surprising. A short, novelty-filled vacay is better than a month long expedition. Maybe Americans are on the right track after all with the two-week vacation? Not that I'm trading in any of my days...