Looking for hotels in some of the wrong places…

Oh my gJody Lee Smithoodness, time is getting close. We leave in 15 days. So I feel badly that we spent so much time planning London and Rome and had yet to get a hotel in Venice. So yesterday Al and I worked hard to remedy that issue.

First of all, when I attempted to contact hotels they were almost all booked for our days. That was nerve racking and I felt bad for putting things off. But I stuck with it and found a wonderful Bed and Breakfast. They would not do reservations over the phone; we had to communicate through email. I found this common with several of the B&Bs. So I emailed back and forth and was given banking information for a wire transfer. We are having a bit of difficulty as our bank charges a $25 fee for bank transfers and if any of the information is wrong then the transfer does not go through but you are still charged that fee. So maybe we should have stuck with a travel agent or an on-line booking agent. Lessons learned.

Another interesting, yet shocking event happened as I attempted to make reservations on-line. I emailed one B&B and they emailed back. The name sounded familiar but I really could not place the hotel, so I clicked on their link. My computer blew up with viruses. I am still doing college and all I could think about was my homework that was done, saved on my computer,  yet not turned in. LOL. At that moment I realized that my virus protection was over a month out of date and I was in a bit of trouble. The virus would not let me back onto the internet so that I could renew my virus protection. It let me see the website for it but advised me that I did not have permissions to use the internet on my own computer.  I was a wee bit scared now. It would not let me restore to an earlier date. I could not find the source of the virus on my C drive to remove it and found nothing to uninstall. My computer would have pop-ups yelling at me, stating that I had a virus and it wanted me to push yes so that some strange antivirus software (which I knew that I did not have) to “correct” it for me. NO WAY buddy. I don’t know you. If I say yes it may grant it access to much more of my computer.

I jumped into my computers “safe mode” and plugged in the Ethernet cord. One of the times that I was attempting to get onto the internet there was a weird statement saying that I didn’t have permissions and it had “Rebecca” as the file extension. I took a wild guess that this was my virus and in safe mode searched for Rebecca. I found three places it showed up. Two looked like red life rafts and one had a picture of a female whom I had never met. I deleted all three, restarted my computer, and mentally calculated the cost of taking my computer in for repairs….mostly to save my homework and family photos. Well, what do you know….it WORKED. I was able to get on the computer and internet. I just re-upped my antivirus and it is now scanning (only finding one more virus). I AM SO LUCKY.

I am not sure that the B&B website was bad or when my computer asked if it could run something I didn’t actually say yes (I have been working long hours and had not had my coffee yet). But I am so thankful that it worked out. So words of wisdom…please be careful!  And, now off to upload my college homework :).

Well, in 15 days we leave for London. I am sure everything else will go perfectly as planned 😉

Jody Lee

Life’s Large Adventures-Tips and Tricks I have learned so far

This trip to London, Rome and Venice is the first major trip I have ever taken… anywhere. I wasn’t sure how to start but I am a researcher at heart so here are some things that I have learned so far.

Tips and Tricks:

Al and Jody Lee

Life’s Large Adventures. Having a partner to share your trip with is fun….he can also help with all of your luggage 😀

1. Even if you have a passport..make sure your boyfriend has an up to date passport. 🙂 We knew he had a passport but for international travel it must be valid for 6 months AFTER your expected time of return. We had to send his passport in and get another one. It is scary to send a valid document away when we will need it very soon. The post office was actually really fast and it took less than two weeks.

2. I love looking online for airfare deals!! It is like a challenge for me. I try to figure out what the best time of the week/of the day is to buy tickets, and many times I get good deals. But for this trip of my lifetime….I wondered if I should ask for some help. My boyfriend Al and I went to a small travel agency in Chinatown. It appeared to be in a quite seedy part of town and he was unsure but I was adamant. While I believed that they could never get us a better deal, I figured we could check it out and use them to help us get an idea of what airlines and travel path would be the best. I WAS WRONG!! The man who helped us, Fransisco, was AMAZING. He listened to what I wanted, asked questions, and was able to look up a deal that was hundreds less per ticket! I could not believe it. He sent me an email with two itineraries and hotel suggestions. I then attempted to find those flights and schedules on line and was unable to find them at that price. We went back to the travel agency and bought out tickets. A few days later Francisco sent me an email saying that the hotel in Rome was having a discount (although on non-refundable rooms) and we saved hundreds on our upcoming 8 day stay there. Wow, he was just wonderful. It may not always work out this way for every one/every trip…but it doesn’t hurt to check it out.

3. Plan your trip. I am currently in the process of picking out what places I MUST see. While in London, Al, would love to see Stonehenge. I remember Prince Charles and Princes Diana’s wedding (I was quite young at the time mind you) and want to see Westminster Abbey. I want to go to the local flea market as well. I love deals. 🙂  While doing my research I found that the train from London to Paris (via the Chunnel) is only 2.5 hrs. Unfortunately we will not be able to make Paris this trip.  Al has a friend we will be staying with “in the country” the first night. For our other two night we all have a hotel in London proper as they agreed to show us around. So we shall make the Paris trip another time. But it is always good to know what is available.

This is long and you are probably tired of reading so I will write more soon. Have a great day. 🙂

Jody Lee