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We are typically in Toronto cottage country for a week or so prior to our fall trip.  The only thing we need to watch on Transat is that every second flight from Toronto to Athens makes a stop in Montreal.  So we avoid those.

 

What we like about Transat is their open pricing.  When we book Toronto-Athens, and then return to Calgary from Paris or London the base price has typically been $300, sometimes less, per per person than AC or BA.  I like London because we can leave from Gatwick and on occasion get a direct flight home.  I suppose that it might be a new ball game, pricing and schedule, post covid.

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We got burned once on Transat when they substituted a Thomas Cook  plane and used British rules, charged for tea and even water!  No thanks!  

 

We prefer the space and with our points  on BA, AC ... only use premium or Business  long haul.   

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On 10/1/2020 at 1:38 AM, bennybear said:

Italy also requires an international drivers license,  as long as you aren’t stopped it’s not an issue,  but twice we’ve had spot checks with carabineri  and we are glad we’ve had it as your North American license doesn’t cut it, and they have machine guns! 

 

Don't be scared off,  just be aware it’s different and you need to pay careful attention.

 

 

You are right, forewarned is forearmed 🙂 If you say that Italy requires it as well, they I need it for sure.

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On 10/1/2020 at 1:42 AM, bennybear said:

 

Again depends what island, most have very good bus service and taxis, unless they’re on strike.   We choose towns near a beach with good restaurants to choose from.   Some islands have water taxis that work great like Skiathos.   We usually rent for about half the time,  except Crete where we prefer a vehicle due to its size.

Public transportation on strike can cause huge problems, it's true. I have seen it a couple of times in Germany where I was about to miss my flight to the US and once in Barcelona airport, a security check took 3 hrs!!!

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I think some people may be 'put off' by the requirement of an International Drivers Licence.

 

This is a bit of a misnomer.  All it is is a little booklet with details of your own drivers licence plus info in multiple languages.  No test, no nothing.  It takes no effort to obtain one.  You need a D/L, a passport picture, and $20 or so for the fee.  Your local auto club sell them.  Takes me about 10 minutes from the time I go in until the time I come out with the International Drivers Lic. in my hand.

 

The EU regs have changed. In 40 plus years of travel and renting cars in Europe, Asia, Africa I have only been asked for it in the last two years in Greece.   But I always had one...just in case.  Even if it might have been a little out of date.  Best was when the auto club clerk neglected to place a date on the lic. and her date stamp was smudged beyond recognition.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/25/2020 at 10:25 AM, Fran2020 said:

Thanks Iancal, I already checked locally and found out to my big surprise it was much easier than I thought. Worth doing it anyway, even if it is "just in case". 

 

I will repeat for the masses that it is simply a minor inconvenience and does cost a little money.  In most places you need to visit your AAA (or CAA) office and it will take about 10-15 min since they must first take a Passport Photo (they use instant photo systems) which is simply pasted in a small booklet.  The IDP is good for exactly 1 year.  I honestly think the document is a ripoff which serves no useful purpose, but it is the result on an International agreement adopted by many countries.  We have been driving in Europe for about forty years and sometimes we have an IDP and other times we do not bother.  Nobody has ever asked us to see the darn thing.  But it is the law in a few places (such as Italy) and not required in many other countries.

 

Hank

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I agree.  It is a bit of a ripoff.  We were fortunate on our second to last one.  The clerk forgot to insert the date, and the stamp was not legible.  Used it for three years.  Well not really.  It travelled with us but not once was I asked for it.  It was pretty mashed up by the end of those three years after living in my carry on.  We have passed through police stops in Italy, Turkey, Greece, and Portugal over the fairly recent past.   Never once was I  asked for it.

 

Last fall was very different.  Autoeuope gave me a heads up notice that I would one in Greece.  Budget did the same fo ra  Cyprus rental.   I did not think much of it at the time but did decide to go and get a new IDL prior to leaving home.  Thankfully...because I has specifically aske for it at five different car rentals.   I asked the agent at one rental what would happen if I did not have the IDL.  His response...no IDL, no car.

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We’ve been  stopped twice at checkstops in Italy and the carabinieri with machine guns were not amused with first our regular drivers license.  We were glad to have the IDL and would never drive in Greece or Italy without it.   

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We have spent a fair amount of time in Greece over the years.   We love the ocean, the food, the people, the hospitality.

 

We primarily do independent land tours with the occasional last minute cruise. .   One reason we keep going back is that it is so 'easy' to travel in Greece in terms of transportation, food, accommodation, etc.   We feel exactly the same way about Thailand.

 

We keep going back to both.

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