] Palais des Papes, Avignon, France
It’s not easy to start planning a trip abroad, but once you start it’s hard to stop. The internet affords bountiful information, the trick is to know which sites to use. I usually start with where I want to visit. Once I’ve zeroed in on a region, I go to Expedia.com to get the best fares. I usually have some flexibility with dates and I find you can save a lot by checking multiple days.] My husband Jake and me near La Tour Eiffel[/caption]
Once I’ve booked my tickets, I hop over to Airbnb. Use the filters to set a price range, choose amenities, and whether you want the whole home, or to save money, just a room in a private home. This may seem unappealing, but I’ve had good luck staying with families who are eager to help with insider info about the area. For more info on Airbnb see my blog post Tips on Using Airbnb. This converted church I found on Airbnb was our home for two weeks in Brantôme, France
Lastly, unless you’re traveling to an urban setting like Paris, I like to rent a car. I use autoeurope.com which is similar to Expedia for cars. They check rates for all European car rental companies so you get the best rate. Be sure to request a GPS when you pick up your car as you will want to keep your phone in airplane mode to avoid hefty data charges. Another note about phones, be sure to pick a place to stay that has WiFi, and you can use it to text, call and use data for free!