I’ve used Claus Claussen’s Des Peres Travel PBP travel package in the past, and on the whole it’s hard to beat.
I say “on the whole” because one could potentially save money by making their own arrangements. There may be flight sales betweeen now and next August that could be cheaper and there is a campground near the start that attracts a lot of European randonneurs and more than a few Americans. (I checked today, however, and Claus’ price for airfare right now was as low as I could get, save for one airline that required two stops. No. )
To me it’s worth going with Claus so that I can save my energy for the event. Once we get on the flight in D.C., Claus will get us, our bike and bags where they need to be throughout the event. It may not always be so fast, having to gather in groups for transfers and all, but there’s no guesswork and no surprises.
For instance, D.C. travelers spend the morning hanging around De Gaulle airport on our arrival day waiting for later flights to arrive. But, we don’t have to really sweat anything other than loading our bikes into Claus’ truck, and our rooms aren’t ready until the afternoon anyway. I’d rather spend the money to start the event rested and with my bike in hand, rather than risk complications.
One change from previous years: no free bike transportation on Air France. This time, Claus tells me, AF’s standard luggage rules apply. First bag free, second bag $55, $100 if oversized or over 50 lbs, each way, and that’s 100 euros on the return, bub. We hope that an S&S case qualifies as non-oversize luggage.
One other change. With PBP starting on Sunday night and Monday morning, Claus’s flights leave a day earlier than in the past. They also return on Saturday. That leaves a day to unwind before going to work on Monday — a welcome feature.
We’re looking forward to seeing you all there, less than 10 months now.