Here are my top five tips for travel to Frankfurt Buchmesse
1 ~ Check out the cost of accommodation, which is considerably more than you might expect to pay, even taking into account the fall of Sterling against the Euro. Research the market and the expense carefully. Prices are considerably in excess of comparable accommodation in London, for example, considering location, star rating and available restaurants. Really quite startling differentials exist.
2 ~ Book accommodation early. That is, as soon as you know you will be visiting the FBM. There are hotels nearby, but don’t expect any accommodation to be available there: an enquiry for a single room at a well-known budget chain right beside the Halls complex will raise only an incredulous eyebrow or hysterical laughter.
3 ~ Travel light. Take only what you must, and weigh carefully the extra baggage you will carry around. Walking is probably mandatory, and walking distances previously undreamed of is to be anticipated. Especially if you have extra needs or find the moving escalators scary, as I do, and therefore have to rely on customer lifts, which are surprisingly few and far between. The Messe Halle are not particularly accessible for those with additional needs: there are few public lifts, the doors out to the disabled conveniences are so heavy that you require a strong-arm to lever them ajar, and the disabled loos are kept locked…
4 ~ Find a hotel that offers breakfast included in the accommodation price, and eat well. Then splash out on a proper lunch at the Venue – the catering is excellent, and if a tad expensive, so what? It’s a long way to travel to subsist only on a diet of wilted sandwiches, which I do not recommend. Having had a decent lunch, in the evenings I could relax and rest. My vital survival strategy: at every possible opportunity, do nothing, or invite others to help you with bottles of water, delivery of meals from takeaways… It is easy to be thankful, and hotel staff appreciate it, even if we have to communicate with them in scarcely discernible patois which we think is German, and they probably assume is Norwegian.
5 ~ Cash is useful, but simply being in possession of a wodge of Euros – which we have to spend, because the exchange rate is so bad, innit? (not true, actually) – need not blind us to ways to save on costs: share a cab with other delegates, book seats on the hotel’s morning shuttle bus at a fraction of the cost, use the locally available bus transport to take you direct to the airport instead of travelling by taxi to the main railway station and thence by train to the airport… Ask for advice and it will be given, and people are incredibly helpful.