- People often travel on business, for pleasure, for relaxation or even for education or for their health. I love it too, but the snag is that I can’t afford to travel as much as I’d like to. I’ve neither the money nor the time for it. But I usually go for a trip/journey at least once a year in summer. In a package tour you travel with others and follow a prearranged itinerary covering all the famous landmarks. You pay a single, all-inclusive price that covers everything such as transportation, meals, accommodation, sightseeing tours and guides. With independent travel you pay as you go and during the journey you can change your mind if you want to. But you can go in a travel agency and ask them to give you cost estimates and secure reservation for you. It used to be long time ago. Nowadays people who have Internet they manage all services and goods of the journey on the net. Lots of travel agencies advertise themselves on different web-sites. You can browse among the pictures of the accommodation; you can read some details about them and of course their prices are shown for a night. You can book a room in a hotel or in an apartman and you can pay a deposit, too. I prefer individual travel to group travel. If you go on a package, you have to be adaptable, you have no time to look at everything you are interested in and the worst thing is when you have a bad guide. He can spoil all your holiday. I can be my own master, depend on nobody and can always do what I like. Although, package tours have some advantages too: everything is arranged for you by travel agency from the necessary documents to hotel reservations. And it doesn’t seem to be very romantic to arrive in a strange town at night with no idea where to go.
I plan my holiday well in advance and make a lot of arrangements. First of all I decide where to go. Fortunately, we have unlimited possibilities to go practically anywhere in the world only you need have enough foreign currency. It is enough to have a valid passport if you want to travel abroad. Passports expire from time to time and people have to extend them or apply for a new one. Your passport entitles you to go any country in the world without restrictions. As our country is a member of European Union, today you don’t have to have your passport to step the borders at least your new type of identity card may be needed. You don’t need a visa in none of the countries of Europe but it is needed to the USA or Australia now yet. You need to have some foreign currency though, which you can get at a money changer, a bank or a travel agency. The exchange rate is always changes for the forint’s value. The things that you need for a holiday are always determined by the length, the time and the type of the holiday. The general rule is that you should try to travel light and take the fewest possible clothes with you. You must also pack your toilet goods in and don’t forget about your camera either, provided you have one. Customs officials examine the luggage of out-going and in-going travellers. You may be asked to produce all the articles which you are bringing in with you. You must truthfully answer any questions put to you by the Customs officer. There are goods liable to duty and you have to pay taxes on them. If you have nothing to declare you tell the officer about it or if you are at the airport you simply go through the green channel. If you have dutiable goods, you go to the red channel and declare them. Most of personal belongings are exempt from duty. You must pay duty on a large amount of spirits, tobacco, coffee, on electrical appliances etc. If you try to smuggle and then a dutiable article is found in your baggage, you have to pay a fine and your article may be confiscated.
If you like sleeping in a tent in the open air then camping is the most ideal way of spending your holiday. Apart from hot showers most camping sites offer other facilities like flush toilets, drinking water, cooking areas, guarded parking places, electricity, bungalows, restaurants, bathing and fishing facilities and sports grounds. It is so exciting to arrive at a camp-site and pitch your tent wherever you want or park your caravan. Furthermore you can cook your supper over the camping gas fire and you are close to the nature all the time. You can enjoy absolute freedom and have none of the headaches of advance hotel booking. For a ludicrously small sum you can enjoy a comfort. Camp-sites are usually situated beside clear streams, in green valleys between high mountains, by a lake or pond, or at the seaside. All of outdoor sports are available including water sports and hiking. Foreigners in Hungary can stay in well equipped, modern camping-sites all around Lake Balaton in guest-houses, motels or hotels. The most popular form of accommodation in the Balaton region is renting private rooms or flats for a certain period of time. There are a lot of people letting their houses to foreigners in summer. In Budapest, there are a lot of nice first-class hotels where people from abroad can spend some pleasant and comfortable nights.
You can book a hotel room on the phone or you might as well book on the internet. If they have vacancies or they are not all booked up, they can usually offer you a choice of single/double rooms or suites, rooms with or without showers. While booking, you have to make sure what room you want to take. It can be faced to the main street or it can be on the ground floor/top floor. Besides you have to decide whether you want a breakfast or full board or not. When you have arrived at the hotel you go up to the reception desk and show your passport or I.D. to the receptionist. It can quite easily happen that he isn’t at the desk. In such a case you can ring the bell. He will fill in a registration slip for you and write your name in the hotel register. If you haven’t done it previously, it is good to ask him about the price of the room per night and what meals and facilities this price includes. Then the reception clerk will give you your key (ticket for the room) and the porter will show you to your room and he’ll also take up your luggage (hotel valet). When you decide to leave, you give your key to the receptionist, check out and settle your bill.
- Train/rail: I hardly ever travel by train, perhaps once in a blue moon. However, I like travelling by rail because it’s very comfortable and quick. Besides it’s an excellent way to get to see the countryside too. And although the trains don’t always leave and arrive on the dot, they are usually punctual.
Tickets can be purchased from railway stations and travel agencies. If you go on a day trip it is better to buy a return ticket than a single one as you pay less and you don’t have to worry about buying another ticket for your journey back. Children under the age of 14 get some reduction, you just have to ask for a special children’s ticket at the booking office. I think that the railway today still carries the bulk of passenger traffic. There are a lot of commuters who can’t afford to use their cars every day so they choose to travel by train. Others choose the railway because in a train they always have enough space to move about, and they can be absolutely relaxed and calm on a train. In Hungary you have the choice of following kinds of trains: express trains, fast and slow passenger trains. Express trains are usually through trains while slow passengers trains stop at every single station. You have to make a seat reservation for express trains, but not for fast or slow passenger trains. In the hall, in front of the booking offices there are long queues of people buying tickets. Some of them are already nervous because they are afraid of missing their trains. Others are waiting patiently for their trains to be announced over the loudspeakers. Unfortunately, there is a growing number of homeless people who find shelter in the waiting rooms of railway stations. Having bought a cheap fare, I go to the platform where I’m waiting for the train. You mustn’t step over a yellow painted line because it is dangerous. Inside the first-class carriages you can find very comfortable upholstered seats while in a second-class car the compartments are less comfortable and the seats are covered with fake leather. That’s why the latter one is cheaper. In each compartment there are luggage racks over the seats where you can put your trunks, holdalls or suitcases. I like sitting facing the engine as opposed to sitting back to the engine. I always choose a non-smoking compartment and preferably a seat by the window. During the journey an inspector can come to clip every passenger’s ticket. Without having a ticket you’ll possibly be fined by the ticket inspector on the train. You can go to the corridor and look at the beautiful scenery. There are some people who are smoking; others are trying to get past them while they go away to be more precise people are coming to and fro. If it is not a direct train you have to change to get your real destination.
Apart from passengers, trains also carry goods of many different kinds. Railway transport is still one of the cheapest ways of carrying freight over long distances. For example milk, coal, cars and many other things are transported by loaded containers. Most railway accidents happen at level crossings where there are no crossing gates and inattentive drivers go across the track without checking if the signal is red or white. Sometimes trains go off the track it can cause delays or even casualties.
Types of trains: slow train/passenger train/fast train
through train/direct train/non-stop express
freight train/goods train
- Air(port): Air travel is definitely the quickest way of transport. Air travel does save time. I have flown once or twice in my life and the mere feeling of flying was really a memorable experience for me. I wish I could fly more often. I enjoyed travelling in a jet because it was so nice to be above the clouds, not to mention clear weather when you could see everything underneath and everybody tried to look through the window and drunk in the sights. MALÉV, the Hungarian Airlines operate flights to all important cities abroad all the year around. Some internal flights have been started recently which enable you to get to another town within Hungary in the shortest possible time.
Before boarding the plane the passengers must register at the check-in counter. While checking in your luggage is weighed and the attendant attaches a special tag to it to prevent it from getting lost or misplaced. If you exceed the baggage allowance you will have to pay an excess fare. After the officer has checked your passport you go to the departure lounge where you usually have to wait for some time before your plane is due to take off. It is wise to check the flight list on the TV screens to see if your flight is going to be delayed or not. Departures, calls for flights, delays, cancellations or changes are also announced over loudspeakers. When your flight is announced you go to the right gate and boarding begins. Stewardesses greet you on the board the plane. You show your boarding card to them and take your seat. They help everyone to put the hand-luggage into the luggage-compartment, to sit comfortably in the reclining seats and to adjust the safety belts.
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