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Jenny and Charlie's Travel Tips
Cities and Airports
and how well credit cards work in that country

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Country by Country - Europe

The free emergency telephone number across Europe is 112

France

In addition to 112, there are other emergency numbers in France such as 15 for medical, 17 for police, 18 for fire, and others.

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport: The train into the city essentially becomes a subway within the city; if it doesn't stop near your hotel, you can transfer to any subway line without a new ticket.

We were warned that credit cards were not widely accepted. In 2013 we were able to use credit cards for almost all expenses.

The service (tip) is included in the restaurant prices - not a service charge added to the bill, nor are you expected to tip. The second time we raised the issue, the waiter said "If anyone says that you should add a tip, they are taking advantage of you as a tourist." Yes, it was a waiter that said "no tip."

If you have a drink or coffee at a bar, the price is lower than at a table (which includes the service charge for the waiter). Don't buy something at the bar, then sit down at a table.

Ask the waiter for a "Carafe" if you would like a (free) glass of water with your meal.

Germany

In addition to the universal 112 emergency number, 110 is used for police emergencies in Germany

Berlin Airport: The good way into the city is the TXL bus (TXL is also the Berlin airport code), that leaves from the front of the airport terminal every few minutes. €2,60 each, or about US$3.40. Buy your ticket from a vending machine or from the bus driver. Once you are on the bus, "time stamp" the ticket in the machine on bus aisle. For the return we left our hotel at 5am so sprang for a Taxi (under €30 with tip).

Credit cards are widely accepted. I hear that sometimes a chip and PIN card is necessary for tickets and unattended gas stations. Your chip and signature card may also have a PIN that sometimes works for these situations.

In Berlin we were able to get cash, with no ATM service fee (better than in the US), at our choice of ATMs, available every block or so. Credit cards are widely accepted but not universal - for example, at one place there was no apology or regret about "our machine is broken." We carry enough local cash to cover a meal, and if we don't want to bring the local currency home, we use what's left towards our hotel bill.

If you have a car in Germany, you will travel on the Autobahn (at well over 100 mph). I made a web page of the experience (and driving hints for the German speed and driving customs/rules).

Italy

In addition to the Universal 112 emergency, you can use 113:police, 115:fire, or 118:medical in Italy

Rome Fiumicino Airport: The airport is a long way from town, so if you travel reasonably light, as we do, take the Express train (€11 each, runs every 30 minutes), to center city, then switch to a subway (or a taxi) to your hotel. Taxi is a flat rate €48 (about US$54) from the airport to your hotel. Illegal taxis that approach you in the airport reportedly often charge €90.

Credit cards are widely accepted, but chip-and-pin cards are required for some vending machines (like train tickets). If necessary, use an ATM; the inter-city ticket machines accept large amounts of cash that you just took out of a nearby ATM. We got €50 notes (US$60 each) from the ATM which were readily accepted by the ticket machine.

See our notes on eating in Italy. And our notes on museum and train tickets.

Netherlands (Holland)

The universal emergency number is 112, answered in Dutch, German, and English, within 3 seconds.

By Dutch law, the service charge in a restaurant must be included in the price of the food, so no tips are necessary. At a snack bar, a "different" waitress than had served us brought our check, so I asked if tips were shared. No, management just takes all the tips. At nice restaurants, a tip of 5-10% is accepted with great appreciation.

Credit cards are widely accepted, but there may be an extra service charge for using the card. The surcharge was about 50 cents for the train tickets into town, 35 cents at a snack bar, but no extra charge at nice restaurants or museums.

Amsterdam Schiphol (SKIP-pull) airport is about 5 miles from downtown (and incidentally 6 meters - 20 feet - below sea level). The recommended way into town - to the central train station - is via "NS train." Tickets available from vending machines for €5.20 each (€4.20 plus airport surcharge of €1.00), runs every few minutes and takes about 15 minutes. You can buy several tickets at once, and use a credit card (some vending machines do not accept cash) for a credit card service fee of about 50 cents for each purchase.

In town the transit tickets for tram, metro and GVB buses are purchased from a vending machine or on the tram (cash only); a one hour (one trip) ticket is €2,90 (about US$3.20), unlimited travel for 24 hours is €7.50, for 48 hours is €12.50, etc., up to 7 days for €33. The time on each ticket starts the instant it is first used.

On the airport train and on GVB public transit in town (all but a few buses), the proximity ticket is passed near a validation machine (single beep) at the entry to the tracks (in the airport) or as you enter the tram (in the city), and again as you exit (double beep).

The highly promoted I AMsterdam city card for 1-4 days (€55 to €85) includes a 1-4 day GVB public transit ticket, a "free" canal cruise (worth about €16), and a free ticket to many (not all) museums (you still have to get in line for the museum ticket). The big advantage is access to shorter lines even if the entrance is not free. We found it a convenience, but not a financial savings.

Hungary

In addition to the universal 112 emergency number, 104 is used for medical, 105 for fire, and 107 for police in Hungary.

Budapest: Do NOT take the airport shuttle bus. In 2007 it took us 2 hours and $22 and a high stress trip (including a fender bender) to get the 10 miles to our hotel. The return to the airport in a 30 minute $40 taxi ride was worth it!

Poland

In addition to the universal 112 emergency number, In Poland 999 is used for ambulance, 998 for fire, and 997 for police

We flew in and out of Warsaw, and used the train to get into town. Krakow was added to our trip after we had our air tickets, so we took the train from Warsaw to/from Krakow. Looking back, we could have flown into Krakow if we had planned better, but at this instant Krakow is more expensive than Warsaw (150 miles away).

We were able to use credit cards for everything, so had to work to use up the balance of the $100 equivalent we withdrew in local currency. There was a modest fee for using the airport ATM, refunded by our bank.

We only go to McDonalds overseas in an emergency, such as early morning in the Warsaw airport when that is all that is open. They have a slick way of placing your order electronically in a choice of languages on a large touch-screen with pictures, but if your credit card is mag stripe or chip and signature (rather than chip and PIN), your order is canceled and you have to speak to a cashier with very limited language skills. We have since seen these order kiosks in other countries, and have used them without problems - maybe it was start-up kinks in Poland.

Tips in a restaurant (up to 10%) are always paid in cash, never added to the bill on the credit card.

Spain

In addition to the universal 112 emergency number, in Spain 091 is police, 092 is local police, 061 medical, 080 fire.

Barcelona: The recommended way from the airport to center city is the Aerobus A1 to Plaza Catalunya for €5,90 each. Plaza Catalunya is a park that is a few blocks from the port and the center of everything.

We were able to use credit cards for practically everything. No problem with excess currency if you travel like we do - they use Euros, and you will certainly be back to some European country!

Most tourist attractions and locations in Central Barcelona are in Zone 1 for Metro, city bus, tram, and RENFE (airport train). A metro ticket is valid on everything except the airport bus. You can transfer between modes - a single trip is up to 75 minutes from when you start - you can switch metro trains, but cannot leave the metro and reenter. A single trip is €2,15

A T10 ticket is for 10 transit trips and costs €9,95, so is less than half price if you take 10 trips. Multiple people can use a single T10 ticket. First person goes through the entry puts in the ticket and takes the ticket completely out to open the gate. Leave the ticket on the machine surface for the next person to use. Purchase at a vending machine.

Every city has pickpockets, so how could Barcelona be worse? Any pick pocket under 18 years old is not prosecuted. Therefore crooks have kids working for them, who are immune from prosecution. I hear the loophole is being addressed, and we saw no problem in 2015.

Portugal

In addition to the Universal European 112 emergency number, 115 is also available

Americans visiting an Italian restaurant at home often find a bottle of water and a bottle of wine on the table, and have no problem ignoring them. The waiter often makes them disappear when they are not purchased. In Portugal you may have 5 or more appetizers on the table... bowls of olives, pate, cheese, bread, etc. If you eat (or even sample) them, you will be charged for them. If you don't want them, just set them aside, and the waiter will make them disappear, they will not be on your bill unless you taste. Many restaurant reviews by Americans cry foul at this "scam." It isn't a scam, it is a different country, and that is the way they do things for the locals as well as the tourists. Even bread is not free - consider it a cover charge if you are offended by paying for the bread!

Credit cards are widely accepted. Service (tip) is not routinely included in a restaurant bill, and is not easy to add on the credit card - leave a cash tip of around 10%. Many restaurants don't open for dinner until 7 pm or later, and don't get busy until 8 pm - dinner is late!

Portuguese is naturally the language, but English and French are widespread. If you are not good at languages you may think it is similar to Spanish, but the locals reportedly prefer English and French to Spanish.

Porto (Oporto) - the recommended travel from the international airport into town is via the metro. The fare is €1.85 plus €.60 for the rechargeable ticket. (Taxi is €20-30 and potentially slower.) There are vending machines, but you can also buy them from a person in the tourist office in the station. Escalator down and under the road, then up to the train - be sure to "validate" your ticket for the ride at the base of the escalator (touch the ticket to the machine). Everyone seemed concerned about whether they were on the right train... it is the end of the line, so any waiting train is the right one. It runs every 20 minutes, and in about a half hour you will be at the Trindade station in town - a 10 minute walk from our hotel, but we switched to the yellow line and went two more stops to São Benito metro station next to the train station of the same name, and very near our hotel.

The inter-city train station (Campanhã) is about a 12-15 minute taxi ride from center city, also accessible by metro. The in-town São Benito station is for commuter (suburban) trains. We took a taxi to Campanhã as we were leaving.

Lisbon (Lisboa) has two major train stations... Estação do Oriente is the primary station but quite a way out of town; we were able to get a train from Porto to Santa Apolónia station closer to central Lisbon.

The recommended connection to the international airport is by metro, but the metro only starts about 6 am and we had a 6:55 flight. Uber (taxi) in a Mercedes was €6.56 (USD 7.50) and took less than 15 minutes, door to door, and picked us up at our hotel at 5 in the morning in just a couple minutes.

United Kingdom

The new EU universal emergency number of 112 is used along side the older 999 national emergency number.

London Heathrow is on the underground (subway) lines, so this is the "normal" way to get into the city.

If you are staying "at the airport" the "Hoppa bus" with several different routes replaces the traditional airport shuttle to most hotels, and runs every 20-30 minutes, for about £5 per person. Not great, but they didn't ask my opinion.

No problem using credit cards for everything in 2015. In 2012 (before we had a chip card) chip and pin cards were virtually necessary in gas stations and grocery stores. (For example, in one 20-pump gas station, there was no magnetic stripe card reader; in a large grocery store only one of the 10 registers accepted a magnetic stripe, so we had to cancel our purchase and start over to check out on that one register.

Edinborough Scotland and Manchester in Northern England are good starting points, but we have rented cars in those cities so have less advice about getting from the airport into town.

Is the money the same in England and Scotland? Well, simple answer is yes, but only "sort of." The Bank of England pound sterling works everywhere. In England and Southern Scotland that is all you will see. But as you go farther north in Scotland you may start to get Royal Bank of Scotland notes, or even money from other banks like Clydesdale bank. In general, they are fully interchangeable, but we did have one Englishman, far from Scotland, who was reluctant to take the Scottish note.

For my technical friends... I put the notes in the scanner, and the scan preview worked fine, but when I said "scan" it gave an error and stopped within the first inch - the scanner somehow detected that it was currency, and would not proceed. I had to take a photograph rather than a scanned image.

Country by Country - Asia

Singapore

The emergency number to call police is 999, fire or ambulance is 995

Singapore has one of the world's most beautiful airports. Plan on taking a taxi to/from your hotel for about US$20.

In the city you cannot hail a taxi on the street - it might interfere with traffic flow. Get a taxi at a taxi stand or hotel.

It is illegal to chew gum in public in Singapore. Notice how there are not black gum spots on the sidewalks - the city is super clean!

Going to Singapore from the United States you will probably have a choice of changing in Tokyo, with a longer leg on JAL, or changing in Hong Kong, with a shorter leg on Cathay Pacific. The total trip is almost exactly the same length (44 miles different out of 10,000 miles), so the choice of stopover can be based on club privileges, schedule, and possibly on cost.

Japan

Emergency phone number for fire and ambulance is 119, for police is 110

Tokyo Narita airport is a long way out of town - over an hour on the train. Plan on taking the Narita Express (N'EX) train that runs about each 30 minutes into the city. Round trip tickets are about US$40 each way, and are purchased on arrival at a JR (Japan Railway) East Travel Service Center. All seats are reserved, so you have to get a ticket for a specific train. If you are on a foreign passport and buy a round trip ticket on this train, you get a free subway pass with $15 credit. This "suica" card makes travel on the subway system extremely convenient, it can be used for many small purchases (even vending machines), and can be "refilled" as required. We liked it so much that we kept ours for our next trip to Japan.

To our surprise, credit cards are rarely accepted outside of hotels. Many in-town ATMs are domestic only. Go to a post office or a 7-Eleven for an international ATM. (Yes 7-Eleven has more status internationally than it does in the United States.)

Japanese hotels often collect payment when you check in, so you cannot use the hotel bill to "spend" your excess yen. You may have to sell your excess yen when you leave at a ... ugh ... money changer at the airport.

Tipping is rare in Japan - most believe good service is standard and tipping is rude. If you feel you must tip (perhaps a tour guide) place the cash in an envelope. It is rude to give cash directly from your pocket. Staff sometimes chase restaurant patrons to return the change that was left as a tip.

Hong Kong

Emergency phone number for fire, police, and ambulance is 999

Hong Kong has a relatively new, large, attractive airport, built on recovered land at Lantau, one of the outlying islands. Plan on taking the airport express train (about US$10 each) into the city; from there your train ticket entitles you to a free bus to shuttle you to most hotels.

Buy an Octopus card for the subways; when you leave you turn it in for a refund of unused funds on the card and all but US$1.16 of the card cost. If you are a senior citizen, be sure to get a "elder" octopus card which gives you discounts in museums, the subway, busses, and ferries; the savings are huge (in some cases, the ride is free).

We were able to use credit cards for major purchases. Use the octopus card for small purchases. You must use cash for individual MTR trips (where you do not use the preferred octopus card) and for some smaller purchases.

New Zealand

The emergency phone number for fire, police, and ambulance is 111

Much of what you want to see is the great scenery between cities and visit many of the smaller towns, so a rental car is the way to go - but be aware that they drive on the left, like England, Japan, Australia, South Africa, and many other countries. Rental car pick-up and drop-off in Auckland is just outside the international terminal - no bus ride required. Gas in New Zealand is over US$5 per US Gallon, but diesel is universally available and MUCH cheaper, so if you are offered a diesel rental car, I recommend it.

The North Island and South Island of New Zealand are a significant distance apart. The ferry is about 3 1/2 hours, and a couple hundred dollars for one car and one driver. Our rental car could not be taken between islands... but Avis would arrange for us to turn in one car at Wellington (North Island) and pick up a similar car in Picton (South Island), continuing on the same or related rental contract. We didn't check out those logistics - this first trip was filled with just the North Island. Wellington was far enough south that we never got there. Having seen a portion of NZ in the North island, we want to go again to see the South Island.

As usual we picked up 100 New Zealand Dollars from a bank ATM at the airport. Unlike Europe, but like the USA, there was a $3 ATM fee (total US$ 75.54 to get NZD100). We only used NZD70 in 11 days. Visa or Master Cards were readily accepted for most charges, even small purchases. The balance of our cash was used towards the final hotel bill.

Our suburban Auckland hotel was a block from a stop for a frequent express bus to the center of the city, for about the same cost as parking our car in the city. Over half of our cash was used on the NZD5.50 bus fares for trips for two of us on two days.

Before we left home, we found several natives who posted that they had never given anyone a tip in New Zealand. At many restaurants, you took your bill to the counter or bar to pay, and there was no provision for tipping. On a couple bills there was a blank to add a tip, and the natives were thrilled with 10%. At one place I had filled in 10% but the cashier said "that money goes into the til - who was your waiter? Can you give them a couple dollars cash?" I found her and gave her NZ$5, and thought she was going to kiss me - like she had never been tipped before. It appears the culture is changing to allow us tourists to leave more money.

Admission fees to museums and parks is far higher than I am used to paying in other countries. At one museum the admission was NZ$ 55 each (over US $40 each). We can afford it, and it was worth it, but we are certainly spoiled by the Smithsonian in Washington and the V&A in London and others with free admission. One park ranger, giving a talk, joked about how expensive admissions were in New Zealand.

No tourist visa is required by Americans for brief visits. New Zealand is very strict about what food, etc., may be brought in. They have the concept of an instant fine (often NZ$400, and if you pay it immediately - even by credit card - there are no court costs, and it does not go on your record.) If they find any food items that you did not declare, you get an instant fine, and may lose the food. We declared even the smallest thing, like a bag of trail mix with dried fruit and nuts, and were passed through without hassle.

Vietnam

Emergency number for police:113, fire:114, ambulance:115

Hanoi has crazy traffic and unusual traffic patterns - you almost certainly do not want to rent a car. Our hotel provided airport taxi service with reputable drivers for US$17 each way for up to 4 people - a great bargain.

Some of the taxis appear to have a credit card reader, but the one time we tried to pay by credit card the reader did not work. Thankfully we had enough cash.

Credit cards are a mixed option. Many restaurants accepted them, but our hotel added a 3% credit card surcharge. Costs are very low, so we only withdrew VND 1,000,000 from the ATM for our 6 day visit (don't panic - that million was US$47). Our 6 days in a nice four star boutique hotel was US$ 202.50 with daily breakfast for two.

Numbers in the local currency are so large that it is hard to realize that a fancy dinner for two that costs almost a million is only about $40. Prices are sometimes displayed in thousands - 12.5 is 12,500 or 62 cents. Museum and theater admissions are often cash only, but the 50,000 VND fee is only a couple dollars, and they often take US dollars. Sometimes a 5% service (tip) is added to the restaurant bill, or other times cash tips are preferred, in VND or USD. Dollars are accepted at many stores in tourist areas, but the exchange rate is suspect.

Country by Country - South America

Argentina

Many emergency numbers including 100:Fire, 101:Police, 107:Ambulance. In some cities these three numbers are merged into 911

Buenos Aires - we took a taxi from the airport to/from our hotel - about $40 for the 22 mile trip. Buy a taxi-ticket from a vendor/booth inside the airport to avoid a long line, and to use a credit card.

No problem using credit cards for most purchases. Several guides suggested we would get a substantial discount (30% was suggested) if we paid in US Dollars. We carried a lot of cash and tried but never got the promised discount.

ATM fees at in-town machines are about US$5 if you need more cash, so plan ahead.

You will take a lot of taxis in Buenos Aires (US$2-5 equivalent for in-town trips) since the subways are radial from the suburbs into the city, and do not go across town. Pay the meter rate plus about 10%. Hail a taxi on the street. If the hotel calls a cab for you, and they wait more than just a minute or two, you may be hit with a $10 wait fee.

Confusing point, you have to constantly keep in mind: The currency symbol for the Argentina Peso worth about 12 cents is "$". The currency symbol for the nearby Uruguayan Peso worth about 4 cents is "$". And you know the currency symbol for the US Dollar.

Peru

Emergency number for police:105, fire:116. Both offer medical, but one web site says the fire brigade is probably better. They are just starting a medical service on 106, but it has limited coverage.

Credit cards are not universally accepted, even at hotels. By checking before we chose, we never had trouble finding a desirable restaurant that took credit cards, so we didn't need a lot of cash.

Our Cusco hotel included "free" transportation to/from the airport; they just hired a taxi for us, so I don't know what advice to give.

Riding in a car in Cusco and the surrounding area was very exciting. The line in the center of the road was a suggestion that was often ignored - or treated as a guide to be followed. I doubt if I would want to compete with the local drivers.

Chile

Emergency phone for Ambulance:131, Fire:132, and police:133

Santiago Chile - The subway system does not reach the airport, and using the bus system for the airport is complex. Buy a taxi ticket inside the terminal (using a credit card, if you wish). In 2015 it was 21,000 pesos from the airport, or 22,000 pesos back to the airport (about US$33).

Credit cards are widely accepted, but inconvenient for very small purchases. There was a substantial fee for using the ATM at the airport.

Taxis do not expect a tip.

Panama

Emergency number 911, or 103 for Fire/Ambulance, or 104 for Police.

US Dollars are widely used as legal currency = we rarely saw the local Balboa (equal to US$1). Credit cards are widely accepted.

Panama City - Take a taxi from the airport (about $35). The new subway doesn't yet reach the airport, and bus connections are not simple.

Don't even think of renting a car - there are virtually no street maps, and the streets rarely have signs.

The Taxis do not have meters, so negotiate a fare before you start. The negotiated price is assumed to include the tip. The bellman or guard at the hotel entrance may call the cab for you and negotiate the fare. Most in-town trips are $10 (10 Balboa).

The hop-on hop-off bus is NOT a good deal in Panama City ... only a couple busses so we often waited an hour or more for a bus, which then said "we are on a special (unpublished) schedule today." At most, sign up for one day, to get to and from the Panama canal, and a general tour of the area, but don't plan on getting on and off at each site.

North America

The universal emergency number is 911

Credit cards are widely used for "everything" throughout the USA and Canada. Carry some small cash for tips and vending machines.

New Orleans Louis Armstrong Airport (MSY): The airport is only 11 miles from town but the taxi fare is $36 ($40 with tip) for one or two people, or $15 plus tip per person if more than two. The hotel shuttle is $20 per person, so with tip and shared ride, is more expensive than a taxi. When I can get the 20+ miles from JFK Airport into New York City for $7.50, the idea of dropping into New Orleans for dinner becomes expensive!

New York - Newark New Jersey - Liberty International: The challenge at Newark is that Taxis can go to New York, but (since they are not licensed taxis in New York) have to come back empty, and vice versa. Therefore, until recently, we have avoided using Newark like the plague. Now you can buy a train ticket to New York in the air terminal (they even have Senior fares). Use the inter-terminal shuttle to take you to the train station, and get on the next train that stops, heading for New York. It will drop you at Penn Station, under Madison Square Garden, for $8 to $12 each. For the return trip, buy a ticket from a vending machine in Penn Station, and look for the little airplane logo on the departure board for the trains stopping at the airport.

New York - JFK Airport: The connection from JFK to the city has been a major problem for years, since the airport is a long way from the city. The system appears to have been fixed. There is the easy answer, and a slightly different cheapskate answer. The free AirTrain airport shuttle between terminals and parking now also stops at the nearby subway and Long Island (commuter) rail station. This otherwise free train has a $5 fare to get off or on at the train/subway station (but more on this later). The train is theoretically fastest way into the city, it takes you to Penn Station at about West 32 Street (under Madison Square Garden) in about 30 minutes, and costs $15 per person ($10 plus the $5 AirTrain charge). We haven't tried the train, but found the far cheaper E (express) subway line takes about 30 minutes to the Theater district, and continues south to the financial district, connecting (free) to any of the other New York subways. 30 minutes on a subway to the theater district is better for me than 30 minutes on a train to Penn Station in the garment district. On the way back to JFK, get off the E subway train at the Jamaica station labeled "Sutphin Blvd-Archer Ave-JFK Airport" (next to the last stop).

New York Subway: If you buy one ticket for the subway, it is $2.75 plus $1.00 for the MetroCard, or $3.75. If you buy a 4 ride MetroCard from a vendor (not at a machine) the cost is just under $10, you can use the one ticket for up to 4 people, or four rides for one person, or any combination, and you add value to it as often as you like at vending machines, until it expires about a year later. If you add $5.50 or more, you get an 11% bonus so adding $10 gets you four more rides plus some small additional value on the MetroCard.

How to win at AirTrain? The same vendor just outside the Jamaica train/subway station (or elsewhere) can sell you a 10 ride AirTrain ticket (used by airport employees) for $20, good for about a year. If there are two of you traveling, round trip, that means the Air Train will cost you $20 for 4 rides, so you might was well buy the 10 ride ticket for $20. The front of the AirTrain ticket looks identical to a MetroCard, but the back is green, labeled AirTrain JFK. It can be used for multiple people.

New York City, has 5 boroughs (counties), but most visitors are only concerned with Manhattan Island. Some tips... The Streets all run east and west, and most are numbered, starting in the South. The Avenues run North (uptown) and South (downtown); those that are numbered start on the east side. The "house numbers" written ahead of the street name/number, start at 5th Avenue, about the middle of Manhattan, and increase as they get farther away from 5th Avenue. Thus a New York street always has an East-West designation. For example, a jewelry store is at 55 West 47th Street - a New Yorker would know because West 47th Street is called Jewelers row. If you are walking (as New Yorkers do) it is only a short distance between streets, but a much longer distance between avenues. Broadway runs diagonally; where it creates spaces too small to build skyscrapers, there are "parks" like Times Square.

Washington - Reagan National: The Washington Metro (both yellow and blue lines) stop at the airport, so that is a great way to get into the city. The paper tickets ($1 surcharge) are being discontinued, so you will get a plastic "SmarTrip card" ($2 surcharge), but you can add as much value as you want to the SmarTrip card with no more surcharge. The fare is based on distance traveled so each person must have a separate card/ticket, used to both enter and leave. "SmarTrip" cards may be purchased at a vending machine or on line/by mail. Fares vary from $1.75 to $5.90, and can be determined on line or at each station; the simpler solution is to put plenty of cash in the card, but if you do it on-line, you must first use the card within a short time (days or weeks) to get the money "transferred" to the card when you next use it.

Boston - Logan Airport: The MBTA or "T" or Metro subway trains go to/from the airport so are great if you are not over-burdened with luggage. The MBTA also runs an express bus service with baggage facilities to Back Bay and perhaps other Boston locations - $5 and departs every 20 minutes.

Los Angeles - LAX The American Airlines terminal is T4. The Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) is next to the American Airlines terminal, and supports some American international flights, as well as American Partner flights. The only way to get between the terminals today is to leave the secure area and walk along a narrow sidewalk, then go through security again. As of today there is no TSA PreCheck at TBIT, and the lines are long. Good news... a connector tunnel will be open between T4 and TBIT "in weeks" (early-mid 2016) and the tunnel will be airside (inside security). Unfortunately Alaska Airlines is in T6, and switching terminals is bad enough that I recommend Seattle rather than LAX when changing flights to Alaska.

Canada

We spent several days in the Calgary area, and used only credit cards - never had ANY Canadian cash.



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