Is a car essential, or is public transportation adequate?
Travel Q & A
Posted on Sun, May. 29, 2005
Q. We're traveling to Slovenia and Croatia to see Ljubljana, the Julian Alps area and the Dalmatian Coast. Is a car essential, or is public transportation adequate?
Jim Luini, Orinda
A. Although there's a convenience factor when you leave the driving to someone else, you're probably better off visiting both countries by rental car.
That's not to say you can't get around on buses and trains. For instance, the driving distance between between Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, and Lake Bled at the foot of the Julian Alps, is less than an hour. Many visitors choose to stay in the Lake Bled area and catch a tourist bus, available at most hotels, for a day trip to Ljubljana.
In Croatia, a visit to the Dalmatian Coast would also include a stop at Plitvice Lakes, a UNESCO World Heritage site. But there's no direct bus or train from Slovenia, so a car is necessary. However, you could take a bus from Slovenia to the Croatian capital of Zagreb, then take a bus to Plitvice Lakes. You can find links to bus stations, plus other traveling options, atwww.croatiatraveller.com/transport.htm .
Driving in Slovenia and Croatia is relatively easy, and the new highway to the Dalmatian Coast that opened last year has cut travel time significantly.
Q. I may be traveling for an extended amount of time and expect that my passport will expire while I'm gone. What should I do?
A. You're better off renewing your passport before you depart. Although it's possible to renew it at the U.S. embassy of the country you'll be visiting, lines can sometimes be very long and embassy locations might not be convenient.
Also, if your passport expires in the next several months, you may have to renew it anyway before traveling. That's because some countries, including Costa Rica, China, Norway and Japan, won't accept a passport that expires within three to six months of your visit. Check with the U.S. embassy in the country you're visiting to see if it has this requirement.
To renew your passport, go to http://travel.state.gov/passport and download the appropriate application form.
Have a question? E-mail Michael Martinez atTravelQA@mercurynews.com .