Update #1

Colette and I are so excited to be travelling with you all, and we hope you will find some new friends in this tour. We’re planning a social event sometime in the new year!

Meanwhile, our first update (of many) is about FLIGHTS.

It’s time to go ahead and book your flights. Prices are fairly good right now, and they will likely only increase. Here are some things to keep in mind, plus a few recommendations:

Timing for the Flight Over to London

When you arrive in London for hotel check-in on Tues. May 23, Colette and I will greet you at the hotel with passes for buses and the “tube” (the subway).

The whole group will gather at Trafalgar Square later that same day at 6PM, where we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner at the Admiralty Pub (details later).

So here’s what you want to know about timing your departure flight:

  • flights from Vancouver or Seattle are overnight, so you’ll be departing Mon. May 22 to arrive in London Tues. May 23.
  • most airlines fly into Heathrow (LHR), and some charters fly into Gatwick (LGW)
  • you’ll be coming through immigration at the airport (a bit of a queue, as the Brits say)
  • train or tube connections to central London are about an hour
  • you may want to freshen up or even nap a bit in your room before heading for our meeting at Trafalgar Square
  • Bottom line: choose a flight which lands at LHR or LGW no later than about 2pm on Tues. May 23

And Timing for the Flight Home from Paris

  • Most flights depart from Charles de Gaulle (CDG), and some charters use Orly (ORY).
  • The train trip to either airport is about an hour.
  • The Paris RER (trains) and Metro (subway) don’t run until about 6am.
  • So considering train, airport check-in, and security, you want to choose a flight out of Paris which leaves no earlier than about 10am on Fri. June 2 (our departure day).

Sample Flights

  • We prefer British Airways, Air France, and Air Canada. But it’s completely up to you.
  • You may also choose to mix and match airlines to find the price and times that work for you.
  • Be careful of advertised sales – prices may not include the airport taxes and fees.
  • All airlines charge for advance seat selection (also check the baggage costs).
  • Also be aware that some charters (e.g. Air Transat) don’t fly daily.

You will be booking a “multiple destination” flight, not a return trip:

  • Vancouver (YVR) to London (LHR or LGW)
  • Paris (CDG or ORY) to Vancouver (YVR)
  • (US guests: Seattle flights seem to be much more expensive than Vancouver)

Here are some sample flights (from www.expedia.ca) which are both convenient and well priced:

Air Canada:     $938.67

  • dep YVR 6:30pm Mon(22nd), arr LHR 11:40am Tues(23rd) – nonstop
  • dep CDG 1:05pm Fri (2nd), arr YVR 9pm same day – through Montreal

Air France:     $966.

  • dep YVR 2pm Mon(22nd), arr LHR 10:30am Tues(23rd) – through Paris
  • dep CDG 10:45am Fri (2nd), arr YVR 11:40am same day – nonstop

British Airways:     $974.42.

  • dep YVR 8:45pm Mon(22nd), arr LHR 1:55pm Tues(23rd) – nonstop
  • dep CDG 11:35am Fri (2nd), arr YVR 6:54pm same day – through Dallas

Flying Together

Choosing to travel with others on the tour can be both enjoyable and helpful, and we encourage you to do this if you can. Check with Dave for email contact information for other guests. (Colette and I will be overseas already by May 21, and are staying for some family travel afterwards.)

Additional Travel

If you plan some additional travel in Europe either before or after this tour, the information above may not apply to you. We look forward to seeing you at the London check-in May 23, and we’ll say bon voyage when we check out in Paris on June 2.

Passports

To enter either country you must have a valid passport which is more than six months from expiry. Make sure yours is up to date. (North American residents do not need a visa for the United Kingdom and France.) For our Canadian travellers, here is the website if you need it:    http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/passport/

Travel Insurance

Make sure you purchase cancellation insurance for your flights, and have adequate medical insurance for out of country travel. These are a must when travelling overseas.

One Last Thing

From time to time there are international incidents which affect travel destinations. Be assured that we take safety seriously for those on university-sponsored trips. Consequently, should something like this arise for Paris (as has happened a few times in the past several years), we have a backup plan to substitute five days seeing the sacred spaces and splendid places of Florence and Rome. But I doubt we’ll need that plan – Paris is generally a very safe city to visit.

Future Updates

Over the next few months we’ll be sending out several updates covering numerous practical things about the trip.

– your hosts –

Dave and Colette Squires

david.squires@twu.ca

colette@colettesquires.com