Friday, March 28, 2008

Travel Leisure

1) What are the best airlines to use in France?

2) How many breaks are there in the school year that would allow students to have travel time?

3) How many group trips  does the Aix program provide?  Where? 

4) Is the TGV always the cheapest way to travel in France?

5) Is the Euro rail pass worth the money or is the TGV pass sufficient?

6) Are leisure travel trips cheaper when booked as a group?

7) What are some tips for car rentals in France for short trips?

8) Ho much is a bus ride to Marseille?

9) What are you recommendations for places to travel to in Europe.

10) Do you guys have any good travel tips/tricks for students on a budget?


Hayley said...

1) Ryanair is the cheapest airline ( You can find basically free flights (the cost goes up with taxes etc. by only 10 or 20 euro). It's definitely the best option for students. And if you find that Ryanair doesn't offer many destinations from Marseille, you can fly out from Nice also - you can just take a train from Marseille to Nice, which isn't any more than 30 euro, round-trip.

2) You can check out breaks for the Universite de Provence on their website here:
Your biggest travel dates will be over winter break and over the Paques break, which is pretty much the entire month of April.

3) How many group trips does the Aix program provide? Where?
We've had maybe around 5 trips to various cities - Marseille, of course, also Arles, Nice, Luberon, Glanum, Pont du Gard - it's nothing all that exciting, but they're worth seeing.

4) Is the TGV always the cheapest way to travel in France?
It depends. You can get a 12-25 carte - it costs like 40 euro and gives you major discounts on all train rides - it definitely pays for itself. You can also find really cheap flights once in a while. Around Christmas, AirFrance had some sort of promotion where students could fly to Paris for around 50 euro - you just have to look at for things like that.

5) Is the Euro rail pass worth the money or is the TGV pass sufficient?
I'm not sure, because I have not bought the Euro rail pass. I'm planning on buying it after the school year ends to have one last European tour.

6) Are leisure travel trips cheaper when booked as a group?
Only if you have a very large group. Although that may actually make it more difficult (to find a hostel etc. that fits that many people).

7) What are some tips for car rentals in France for short trips?
I haven't rented a car and don't know anyone who has, so I'm not sure.

8) Ho much is a bus ride to Marseille?
7.85 each way

9) What are you recommendations for places to travel to in Europe.
Anywhere! Traveling around Europe is really easy, so just look for good deals. You definitely have to see Spain and Italy. Barcelona was amazing, and if you get a chance to go to London, do that, too. Amsterdam is pretty accessible as well. Go to as many places as possible!

10) Do you guys have any good travel tips/tricks for students on a budget?
Check web sites regularly - there are always new offers. Also, book things in advance! Vacation dates don't change, even if there are greves, so book winter break/April break as soon as you know what you want to do!

Eric said...

3. Although i agree with what Hayley said, there are countless excursions around southern France through the office of tourism with a guy named Georges. These cost 20 euros and normally take you to three cities in a day. They're worth it, you'll learn a lot


8. Just to add to the comment already posted, you can actually get to Marseille for 1 euro each way on the weekends. You can do this by buying a "carte treize" this card will only cost you 5 euros and you can put as many rides on it as you want, including refills.

Nicole said...

Hayley answered this one rather well, but...

5) I think yes. My roommate got a France/Italy rail pass for Christmas, it was good for 3 months, and she got crazy deals. It's a little pricey up front, but if you're planning on doing a lot of traveling, I think it's a good idea. We went to Paris - my ticket was (I think) 60 euro one-way on the TGV, her's was like 2 euro. And then she went to Italy with it and her ticket was like 20...I'm not sure what it would have been normally, but at least 100, I would estimate.

6) I think you're going to find that the smaller the group, the easier to do things. A lot of people now are doing trips solo because they get to see what they want, when they want, and they don't have to worry about getting people to confirm. We had lots of problems at the beginning with people saying they'd go and then backing out, so our travel plans always fell through.

7) I'm going to start this by saying that every rumor that you've heard about French driving is entirely true. They really do drive like maniacs - and this is coming from a girl who drives horribly and is 22 with like 5 accidents behind her. Nothing scares me more than getting in the car with my friend's French boyfriend at the wheel - I'm always entirely sure he's going to rear-end the person in front of him, and they never EVER use their mirrors.

I knew some people who were going to rent a car, but that fell through. I'd say the best tip is to get a friend with a car who wouldn't mind hauling you around a bit. I went with my friend's boyfriend, and two friends to Sisteron for the day, and it only ended up costing us like 6 euro a piece for gas and tolls (because those are all over the place).

But I would be absolutely terrified to drive here.

ps - all of their cars are manual...

9) I just want to second Hayley's response - anywhere. You are so close to so much, and everything is worth seeing. Belgium was really nice, but if you choose to go, I'd suggest going for maybe a two or three days at the most. We went for 5 and it was WAY too long. I went to Paris for the first time and LOVED it. I've heard great things about Barcelona and Berlin, and Stockholm.

One little tip - try not to pack your days completely full. Do things while you're in a country, for sure, but don't do so much that you get back and you can't remember everything you did every day. We went to Paris, and our days were PACKED...we saw so much. We'd get back at night and be completely dead. One girl's leg cramped up, the other one practically broke her knee, and I had blisters everywhere. I'm glad I saw what I did, but I wish we'd have done less every day. We were always doing something, walking somewhere, etc. The best day of the trip was when we missed our TGV back (metro problem) and had to stay an extra night...we had all the time in the world to relax.

10) The earlier you buy your ticket, the cheaper it will be. That's probably the best one.

Liz Dushaw said...

1.) Best website ever: This will scan all the cheap airlines in any country they have them. They also give you when during the month is the best time to go, ie the cheapest.

2.) Lots of breaks. I managed to have class only four days a week so I had a three day weekend to travel and stuff. The second semester has more breaks and longer. there is christmas which is like two or three weeks, time between semesters (exam time if you have any break because of no exams), feb break and easter two weeks of break. school ends mid june.

3.) the trips with the program were nice, but only one day. Marseille, nice, st. paul de vence, arles and avignon. Only really close in the region. they are spread throughout the year and are subject to change.

4.)TGV is not the cheapest. I found using sckyscanner it was better and faster. Not all trains in france are tgv either. the one from marseille to nice said it was but it took 3 hours and my bf and I drove in two hours.

5.)euro rail is sooo not worth it unless you have like a month break and seriously plan well.

6.)I didnt like traveling as a group. esp with grils. too many conflicting agendas. Find two or three poeple you travel with well (and you will find out quick) and stick with those people. Remember, not everyone has the same amount of money to spend on doing things and its hard to organize trips with soo many people.

7.) Dont rent a car. unless you can drive a manual, its not really worth it. gas is expensive and do you really want to get in an accident in france?? my friend did in monaco and hes not being sued by the person so its not a good idea.

8.)to marseille, hmm I think its like 4.5ish euro but you can get 6 trips (one each way) for 19 euros i think. you could also invest in a student pass which makes it the bulk rate all the time but you'd have to go to marseille alot to make up the cost. Now that aix has h and m there really is no need to go to marseille anymore.

9.)I went to spain (madrid, barcelona), germany (munich, berlin and francfort), greece (athens and santorini), london, paris, brussels, rome. My favorites were barcelona and all of greece. Its pretty cheap in greece, in the non turist areas but then it can get pretty scary. Berlin was very east quad and indie.

10.) Planning makes things cheaper. Going on a whim i found usually ends up being super expensive. Talk with your hostel about places that are fun and cheap. europe in not cheap, niether is the program.

There is a scholarship available second semester for travel. If you apply you could get like 500-1500 american dollars for travel which is nice.

Also, Students in Aix does tours anywhere from a day(25 euros) to three days somewhere else for around 100-200 euros. These trips are worth it in my opinion plus Souheil (sp?) does tours around aix which are nice to see other places. I my favorite was les gorges d'ardeche where we went kayaking and saw some of the most beautiful sceanery in france. I think it was like 35-40 euros or something to do all that. Food is not included in these trips so hit the market and Paul beforehand. ;)

Jonathon Zilber said...

Renting cars:
If you plan on renting a car in France, try learning to drive stick this summer. Automatics cost more, and when I rented one, it was already 100-120 euros for a manual (think 150-170) for automatic. Only do it if you're in a group and it's cheaper than using the train.

If you buy a carte-treize for 5 euros, or something like that, you can buy a bus ride for 1 euro to marseille on the weekends. go to marseille! they have really good fleamarkets on fridays and saturdays and cool music venues and festivals. check out 'cabaret aléatoire' venue, and marsatac, a festival. The program takes you to see several plays in Marseille and you should go, cause they are really enjoyable.