Dr. Miroslav Koudelka
Ancestry Research, Tours, Translation
Ancestral Trips &
Just for Fun Tours
A trip to your ancestral area is usually the highlight of your ancestral search. I am happy to help you disclose your heritage as your guide, interpreter, driver and photographer. If you like, before your trip, I may also be able to locate your living relatives and make arrangements to meet them. Most of my clients say this is the most meaningful part of their "home coming". And really puts a human face on the history they've spent so much energy in uncovering.
But your trip needn’t be limited only to the places your ancestors lived at. If you want to get acquainted with the Old Fatherland, I can assist you too. The Czech Republic is a country with one of the highest density of tourist attractions. And I will be happy to bring you to the best known historical, cultural and natural sites, as well as those that are not listed in every guide book but yet very enjoyable. Trips to other countries are possible too. I have already been with my clients to Slovakia, Austria, Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro.
Preparing for the Trip
I can schedule your trip, arrange lodging, provide you with maps, etc. This service (correspondence, phone, etc.) usually costs between $10 (a simple one day trip) and $50 (a week or more). I will book the term in my schedule for you upon the receipt of a $30 advance fee. This fee is not refundable.
In Olomouc I and my colleague are fellow members of the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International, doing the same job with approximately equal rates. If I am unable to comply with your wish, my colleague will gladly fill in. In case neither of us can accidentally carry out the trip because of serious reasons, I will return your advance fee and recommend another alternative.
Though public transportation is quite good in our country, I recommend for any ancestral trip arranging for a car. Especially if you are interested in smaller villages. If you wish, we can use my MPV, Renault Grand Scenic (five regular seats, spacious trunk, dual air conditioning, ABS, ESP, air bags, GPS, etc), with me as the driver. Travel expenses are billed according to my price list (see the RATES page of this site). This would definitely be the cheapest, but still safe and convenient. Added benefits include airport or hotel pick-up and return.
Another way for you to get around is to rent a car at one of the car rental agencies, e.g. at the Prague Airport. Car rental runs around $50-$200 per day with unlimited mileage. However, be aware that gas in Czechia is around $7-$8 per US gallon and in some western countries even more.
In Prague I can arrange lodging with a family living in the city center. They offer one or two rooms and a bathroom with WC in a separate wing of their apartment. Bed and breakfast is from $30 per person. For Prague, it is a very fair price.
I can also arrange hotels. In Prague, they are on par with hotels in western countries. Outside Prague they are quite cheaper. It is possible to get a bed and breakfast for around $30 to $70 per person per night.
You can consider altogether $30 to $70 per person per day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a fair restaurant. If I accompany you on your trip, my expenses (hotel, meals, parking) are in addition to your other service fees. These can be added to your final bill or paid by you as we go along. Most of my clients prefer to do it this way as they often can charge many of their expenses on their Master Card, Visa or American Express (with a better exchange rate), rather than find the need to change money more often.
I carry my cellular phone on guiding trips, which means you can also be reached. Feel free to give my number as your contact while staying on a trip with me. You can also place calls to any place including the US. Unlike America, in the Czech Republic, outgoing calls placed using the cell phone are cheaper than calling card, pay phone, or private land line calls. The charge for your calls will be added to your final bill.
The Czech Republic has still preserved its own currency (“koruna ceska”, i.e. Czech crown), the transfer to Euro is in the mist. It is not necessary, however, to bring Czech currency. Our exchange offices generally offer better rates than American banks. The easiest way to get Czech currency is to draw from your Master/Visa Card. ATM’s (cash machines) are in every bigger little town. From this point of view, travelers checks are less convenient and usually more expensive. If exchanging cash, private exchange offices mostly offer rates a bit better than banks or hotels. However, this does not refer to Prague. The offices in the city tourist zones (airport, railroad station, Wenceslas Square) charge a premium of up to 10%! An American Express office (upper part of Wenceslas Square) or bigger Czech banks are better in that area (premium around 2%.) In many of our hotels, restaurants and stores you can pay with credit cards too. Note that in Europe, though Visa is widely accepted, Master Card and Visa are not always BOTH accepted. Master Card is the older of the two (in Europe it's tied with EuroCard) and is the most widely accepted (as well as American Express). Make sure, before your departure for the trip, if your card has a daily limit for cash withdrawals and/or payments. You may want to temporarily establish a limit somewhat higher than regularly.
For my services I will always charge fees for the actual number of hours, kilometers, etc. according to my price list. Direct guiding and interpreting usually take around 8-10 hours a day, i.e. approximately $150 - $200 a day regardless of the number of persons accompanied. Every evening or morning I usually agree with the client on the bill for the recent day, covering all items. The payment is expected at the end of the trip, and a personal check is an easy way to perform it.
A kind of common travel insurance is highly recommended.
"I look forward
to welcoming you here
to the Heart of Europe!"