When thinking about your vacation habits, do you travel to places that feel familiar or do you look for destinations that offer a new and exciting experience? Many people are simply looking to escape their everyday life and go to a place that satisfies simple needs of sun, fun, and relaxation -- in California, Hispanics often choose Mexico, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, or other familiar places. Challenging yourself a bit to go somewhere truly different, though, will reward you in ways not possible by following your usual crowd.
For people who have never been to Europe or any overseas destination, there is great adventure and value to be discovered. Beautiful cities, picturesque towns, pristine nature, and medieval homes, cathedrals, and castles make Europe a fairytale book come alive. Much of Europe’s stunning beauty is due to a deep devotion to its past – it’s easy to find well-preserved homes, hotels, and castles dating from 500 or more than 1,000 years ago. Europe is a living museum that easily fascinates any visitor. It’s a playground of great food, culture, and history hosted by some of the friendliest and most interesting people in the world. And if you want the beach/sun/party experience, there are many options in Europe.
Flying out of Oakland on Norwegian Airlines, Vision Hispana recently took a low cost European adventure and experienced the many advantages and rewards of a vacation in the ‘old world’:
• Europe is a great value in what you receive for your money and for the richness of the experience. Food, alcohol, and accommodation prices in Europe are usually lower than in popular destinations in the U.S. and Mexico. The value is also increased by the high quality of things in Europe.
• Flights to Europe from Oakland and other U.S. cities are now available at a much lower cost. The first low-cost European airline to serve the U.S. market, Norwegian Airlines (https://www.norwegian.com/us/) began offering flights in 2013. In September, Norwegian offered direct, one-way flights from Oakland to Stockholm, Sweden for $199, and return flights to Stockholm or to Oslo, Norway for $438. Their regular fares are significantly lower than most airlines flying from the U.S. to Europe.
• The strength of the U.S. dollar against the Euro in the last year has created a big discount on all expenses for Americans visiting Europe.
• The travel value of Europe is even greater outside of the peak tourist months of June, July, and August.
• The trend in accommodations worldwide is about more choice of types of places to stay. Changing the usual travel equation are Airbnb and smart, city hotels such as Citybox (http://citybox.no/oslo-en/) and HTL (http://htlhotels.com/) that provide basic, yet modern accommodations for travelers wanting to limit their expenses.
• Very low crime rates is another advantage of Europe. Rates of theft and violent crime are very low --much lower than in the U.S. or Mexico. In many cities in Europe, we have seen how people don’t lock their bikes or cars.
• Excellent public transportation and infrastructure. Walking or bike paths, subway, train and bus systems, everything is modern, clean, and well-maintained. Especially in Northern European countries, the infrastructure is usually superior to that in the U.S.
• Most people we met in every country on our recent trip spoke English. In Spain, the lower rate of English is “no problema”. “My wife and I celebrated 25 years of marriage and thought that it would be amazing to visit the other side of the world,” says Erick Catalan of Hayward. “We visited Barcelona first and were so amazed about the rich and old history of Spain. We loved how the people are so happy there. We also visited Paris, another amazing place. We are looking forward to visit other countries and learn about the culture.”
“I would love to travel to Europe,” says Silvia Sofia San Miguel of Oakland. “I have never been there and I think it will be an amazing experience” San Miguel adds that she is planning her first trip to Europe next year to celebrate her fiftieth birthday.
With great dollar value and richness of experience, a trip to Europe is certainly not just for special occasions. The entry of Norwegian Airlines to the U.S. market has made flying to Europe less expensive and more comfortable. Norwegian operates one of the world’s most modern and eco-friendly aircraft fleets and uses the state-of-the-art Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner for all flights between the United States and Europe. In 2013 and 2014, Norwegian was voted Europe’s best low-cost airline by the renowned SkyTrax World Airline Awards. Our experience on a flight from Oakland to Norway was very enjoyable and relaxed – the flight service and overall experience is the focus of our next article about travel to Europe.
Most people follow the crowds when choosing vacation destinations. Growing crowds of Americans are enjoying Europe, yet many people still never consider a journey over the ocean. Choose a destination that is truly different and your crowd will likely start following you.
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