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Pre-trip Checklist

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Jul 1st, 2014, 02:10 PM
  #1
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Pre-trip Checklist

We've been planning this trip for 2 months and even though we aren't leaving for another 2, I'm hoping to have everything finished by this weekend so I don't have to think about it until after mid-August as I have a major exam to write in August and most of my focus will be there. I'm worried about missing something as I'll only have a week pre-trip to get final things together (which will be everything under etc). I have a travel companion but I've planned about 95% of this trip myself, so it's been slightly overwhelming but thank you to all the Fodorites that have helped me a lot in sorting out so many portions of the trip - Dukey, Jean, Peter_S_Aus, PalenQ, neckervd, annhig, kybourbon, cathies, ellenem, Pepper_von_snoot, Ackislander, isabel, Toucan, SeeDee, Andrew, MmePerdu, bvlenci, maxima, mamcalice, tedgale, trotsky, DonTopaz and everyone else who gave me some great suggestions! I really appreciate all the help I got here because some of it seemed very complex, especially not having any independent travel planning done outside of North America before.

I made a list of all the things I would have to prebook prior to the trip and this is what I came up with. I THINK I'm fine with all the reservations (I'll sort of the pending things this weekend) and trains but I've been checking non-stop to make sure I didn't miss anything because I don't want any surprises near the trip.

For Paris, I will be by myself and got some recommendations from friends to buy tickets for Versailles, Louvre, Orsay at Fnac. I also will be returning next summer.

Accommodation - all booked

Travel
Flight from/to Canada - booked
Switzerland Pass - pending
Flight to Paris - pending
Trains (Italy)
Tirano to Milano - regional
Milano to Varenna, Como to Milano, Como Ferry - on the day of
Milan to Verona - booked
Verona to Venice - regional
Venice to Florence - booked
Florence to Pisa - regional
Pisa to La Spezia - regional
La Spezia to Vernazza - at station
Vernazza to La Spezia - at station
La Spezia to Rome - booked

Reservations
Jungfrau Mountain Railway - book at Interlaken
Bernina Express Reservations - booked
Bernina Express tickets -
Last Supper - booked
Vaporetto Youth Pass - book at Venice
Secret Itineraries Tour - pending
Uffizi Reservations - pending
Santa Croce - pending
Vatican Tour - pending
Cinque Terre Hiking Pass?
Hotel Danieli -?
Alle Testiere -?
Salotto 42 -?
Eiffel Tower - pending

Etc
Maps
Passport Copies - August
Inform Bank - August
Itinerary copies - August
Train schedule copies - August
Ticket copies - August
Copies of Hotel information - August
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Jul 1st, 2014, 02:23 PM
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Jungfrau Mountain Railway - book at Interlaken

forget that and save about $15 - as per discussions before on other threads you always can get on these trains (Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch) as they put on as many trains as needed (so says some locals contributing here) and I do not believe you can even book a seat on trains Interlaken-Grindelwald/Lauterbrunnen-Wengen to Kl Scheidegg.

Anyway an awesome amount of planning and detail - bravo - looks like a wrap to me!

Be sure to tell your c c issuing banks and ATM ones that you are going to Europe so charges are not stymied by being blocked as a security measure - always call them and tell them exactly which countries you will be going to - and I always so that is all the countries - to prevent the proverbial charges coming in from Romanian banks.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 02:58 PM
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You have no electronics? If so, you need plug adapters.
If you are taking items you don't use on daily basis, do once over to make sure they are working, memory cards emptied, etc. Items with time stamps, know how to change the clock. For example, if you take pictures using a camera, it would be easier to sort them if the time stamps are correct instead of on Canadian time. Do you need a phone, computer/tablet for web access?

If you want to eat at places beyond what happen to be open, have a list of places you want to visit with address, phone numbers, and the opening hours.

How to get around in each city: where to buy a ticket at a time (you cannot buy tickets on board on bus in Rome), transit only pass of some kind, transmit/attraction combo pass, etc.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 03:16 PM
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If you have a smart phone, download the Eat Florence and Eat Rome apps.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 03:18 PM
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Take a copy of your passport, just in case.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 05:13 PM
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Take small binoculars for looking at church ceilings and landscape scenery.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 06:19 PM
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@ PalenQ, my bad, we were going to book when we were there rather than in advance, but I had CP'd this from another list I had. I'll edit that. I'm waiting until August to contact my banks, etc I think it will be fine there.

@greg, I have the adapters on a separate packing list. We will only be taking our phones, no laptops or tablets. I haven't finished my list of restaurants yet so ekc's suggestion will come in handy (thank you!) We have most of the cities covered minus Rome, Zurich and a couple of places in Florence, my TC was supposed to be looking at those.

For local travel we will use the Youth Pass in Switzerland, but we need to write down bus numbers, etc to get familiar with them for all our journeys. I think I'll do this around August though just because I'm pressed for time now. Thanks!

Thanks denisa and Jean!
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Jul 1st, 2014, 06:34 PM
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Do you have eyeglasses or contacts? I always travel with a copy of my prescription in case I break a lens. Copies of any medical prescriptions.

Copy of your driver's license.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 07:59 PM
  #9
 
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When taking local transit, make a mental note or write down the name of the stop you want to return to. Also know the names of the last stop, so you will know that you are traveling in the correct direction.

your credit cards, atm/debit cards have contact numbers on the back of each card. write down the phone numbers along with the country code in case you have any problem and need to contact the bank or credit card company.

you seem to have it all under control and will have a wonderful trip

when makin a copy of your passport you only need to copy the page that has your photo and info on it, and keep it separate from your passport.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 09:16 PM
  #10
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Thank you both!

No eyeglasses, contacts or any medical prescriptions besides the pill for either of us. We are going to assemble a mini first aid kit, though anything we forget we can just get there.

Local transit will probably be the biggest challenge for us just because we have to validate tickets on the back on trams in some cases? I hope we figure it out much more smoothly when we're there. Though I will try to sort out exactly what trains/trams/buses etc we'd need to take and where to catch them/get off.

I had a Travel Documents section under the packing list. This was all that was in it:
- passport + copies
- emergency numbers (personal, bank/cc, airlines, hotels)
- flight details
- insurance info
- itinerary copies
- guidebooks/maps
- train schedules
- swiss pass
- adv. traintickets
- adv. museum tickets
- license + copies, student ID
- 1 cc/person, 2 debit cards
- BNL ATM locations
- Barclays ATM Paris location
- hotel information copies

Looks like I had missed out a little bit from the etc section but would have gotten it covered luckily when packing. We are going to circle our hotels + restaurants + attractions on the maps before we leave so those would help us when actually there. And we will be using a phone to guide us.

A lot of the emergency numbers, addresses, etc are going to be written in a small notebook plus loaded into the Notes section of our phones.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 09:31 PM
  #11
 
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>And we will be using a phone to guide us.

This wil chew up a lot of data. If you haven't already covered it (and sorry if I missed you saying so), see about getting a local SIM, or using CityMaps2Go before you leave, or you might have a big headache with a fat bill or alternatively use up all your data allowance.

Lavandula
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Jul 1st, 2014, 10:17 PM
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I make a binder with copies of hotel reservations, maps, airline tickets, train tickets, etc. and divide it with tabs and by category, especially on a trip with multiple stops and multiple forms of tansportation.

Also when you make xeroxes of both sides of credit cards, license and passports and let the other person hold the copies.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 10:18 PM
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I'm actually not too sure about that because it's my TC that is using the phone, though we first plan to consult the map/our info, etc so it would be something we'd use if we get lost. Thanks for the recommendation about CityMaps2Go, I actually had no idea about that before but I'll download it!
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Jul 1st, 2014, 10:23 PM
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Hi LR220,

I'm a bit concerned as it looks like you're flying from Switzerland to Paris -- which is a bad idea imo.

Flying will probably be even longer than taking the train. It is only about 4h from Zürich to Paris, and that's city center to city center, without having to touch your bags enroute. If you fly, you'll have to get to the airport from Zürich (about 20 minutes), wait about 90 minutes, then fly (60 minutes), then wait for your bags (20 minutes), then get from the airport into Paris (45 minutes). And all that time, your "scenery" is just a bland, boring airport.

Really, taking the train is fast and easy and loads of fun. If you buy your tickets 90 days ahead of time, the fares are around 39 € per person. You can take a look at

www.capitaine.com

Looks like you've got everything under control!

Oh, instead of a binder (too bulky), put everything on 3x5 cards.

s
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Jul 1st, 2014, 10:45 PM
  #15
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@swandav2000 I'm flying from Rome to Paris. It would have been easier to go the other way around and take the train from Geneva to Paris, but I'm traveling with a friend and we had originally just planned Switzerland and Italy, going from Geneva to Rome. I added on Paris a bit later as I had an extra week, but she has to be back for work. Thank you though! And IMDonehere was being sarcastic (also based on his other threads). We won't be taking any tabbed/colour-coded binders, etc. Just the small book and using our phone + storing the copies in pouches we've traveled with before.
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Jul 2nd, 2014, 05:42 PM
  #16
 
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Validating tickets on local transit somehow sounds more difficult than it is in practice. Generally, you will see a mounted box where you put your ticket in a slot, it is then stamped and you remove your ticket and then make sure you hold onto it.. in case you are asked to show your ticket.

on the metro in Paris you will need your ticket to enter and exit the system, if you are using single tickets.

you will undoubtedly see other passengers validating tickets, those who don't may be using monthly passes.
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Jul 2nd, 2014, 09:56 PM
  #17
 
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Being a complete novice to European travel, my suggestion may be shot down by others, but I uploaded copies of everything (passports, ID, itinerary, etc) to my Dropbox account. Seemed overkill to carry around all the paper copies. You can access Dropbox from anywhere you can get Internet, which seems readily available in most of Italy. Am I nuts?
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Jul 2nd, 2014, 10:39 PM
  #18
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Thanks maxima! I'm just a bit nervous about that since when looking through these forums I've seen quite a stories about people being fined, etc. I think after actually going through the process the first time we'll be ok for the duration of the trip. I think probably the only city that we'd have the hardest time navigating is Milan because all their clubs are so far away but we are just taking cabs for them.

@taralnathan, that might be a good idea thanks! With the itinerary, schedules, etc I will be emailing a copy to myself so that will also be available.
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Jul 3rd, 2014, 12:30 AM
  #19
 
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I love your organization!

In Cinque Terre. You can buy the hiking pass at a small booth at the start of the the section of trails that requires it. I imagine it might also be possible to buy it at the train station. I hope you have a few days there for hiking and taking the boat along the coast. It was wonderful.
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Jul 3rd, 2014, 11:08 AM
  #20
 
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Fabulous! What a terrific trip!!! What I find works really well for me for organization is to have 6X9 envelopes with the sticky resealer that you can open and close. I make one master one and then one for each travel day (or travel area) that has everything I need in it, and one for receipts. Then I can just grab the envelope for the day and it has everything I need (itinarary, tickets, small maps, restaurants, etc). And toss at the end of the day. It seems like a lot at first but it fits in one large ziploc and can be squished down. And at the end just one envelope for receipts/ticket memorabilia comes home.
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