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Questions about a first trip to Europe for a 13 year old

Questions about a first trip to Europe for a 13 year old

May 30th, 2007, 07:39 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Yes, the trophy was shipped to the school. And the young man who left it behind recieved a "special award" at the choir banquet the following weekend.
missypie is offline  
May 30th, 2007, 08:02 AM
  #22  
 
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For first time travelers pondering a train trip, which i think you should, i always refer two good sources: www.ricksteves.com has lots of rail travel as well as a listing of cheap airlines to mix in with trains and www.budgeteuropetravel.com to request the excellent and free European Planning & Rail Guide which is not only a great primer on planning a train and or railpass trip but also has tips on packing, changing money, etc. Of course Fodorites i have found are the very best resource so just ask questions.
PalenQ is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 03:19 AM
  #23  
 
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I can't imagine the kid is expected to make his own travel arrangements on the trip.
nona1 is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 03:38 AM
  #24  
 
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I wouldn't rely on the debit card only (I'm assuming that's what this Buxx thing is). A lot of the things he will want to buy during the day such as soft drinks and snacks will be sold in shops that won't take plastic for payment - there's usually a minimum spend require - often as much as a tenner.

The same applies in France

So he will need smallish amounts of cash for those things - to give a guide priice a can of coke is around 60p (€1) and a chocolate bar about 50p.
audere_est_facere is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 07:14 AM
  #25  
 
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so uses the debit card at ATMS to get spending money - which in London is not trivial amount - one of Europe's most expensive cities
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 07:28 AM
  #26  
 
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<<Make sure to remind your son that one euro equals about $1.30. And, that one pound equals about $2.00. It can be very tempting to buy something that's "only 2 pounds" when, in fact, it equals $4 US.>>

Go to http://www.oanda.com a currency conversion web site and check the euro/dollar exchange and then click on "Travelers Cheatseat" on the right side of the screen and print out the cheatsheet for him. Make a few copies in case he loses one.

Do the same for the British pound.

Sounds like a wonderful opportunity for him.
Luisah is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 03:39 AM
  #27  
 
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My mobile phone offers an exchange calculator and it's a cheap Nokia - maybe your boy's does as well?
audere_est_facere is offline  
Jun 4th, 2007, 07:14 AM
  #28  
 
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Unfortunately England and esp London is one of Europe's most expensive places so consider that when providing him spending money.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 04:42 AM
  #29  
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Again thanks for the tips and suggestions! And yes, the travel arrangements have been made by the group, so that's all taken care off.

I forgot to ask another question, does the hotels in London and Paris provide soap and shampoo? He will be staying at the Brittannia International Hotel, Ramanda Birmingham East Hotel and The Farmhouse Innlodge in England. In France he will be staying in the Suite Hotel Porte de la Chappelle. What little bits of info I've found about these places, they aren't that great, but I'm sure they weren't going to stay in a luxury hotel, at least most of those places had 3 stars though. But the one in Paris said it didn't have airconditioning!!!! How do you keep cool in a hotel in Paris in July with air???
iluvmyrott is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 04:58 AM
  #30  
 
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Yes the hotels will have toiletries, but what they wont't have is flannels (or whatever you call them over there)

If it's hot he can open a window - it'll make a man of him!
audere_est_facere is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 06:19 AM
  #31  
 
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I don't remember having shampoo provided in hotels in Paris and the soaps were very small even in 3* hotels. However, there are numerous where he could purchase shampoo if he needs to.
Luisah is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 06:34 AM
  #32  
 
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Almost every hotel I've stayed at in the past 5 years (and that would be about 150 of them), from 0* on up, has provided shampoo and soap. So he doesn't need to pack any, but tell him to take the tiny bottle and any wrapped soap with him to the next hotel, in case a) there isn't any or b) he doesn't like what's on offer.

As for hotels with no AC in July in Paris, well, I've learned to live an un-airconditioned life since I moved to Paris two years ago. The temperature in my unairconditioned office sometimes rises to 37C in July.

The single most useful tip - and I'm sure it's one you'll be pleased to give your son and he'll be pleased to learn about (not) - is cold showers Really, it works and it's not as unpleasant as it sounds. Start with warm water for washing but then turn the water down gradually until it's as cold as you can comfortably bear it for a few minutes. Take a cold shower in the morning, when you get home and at night before bed. It works wonders.
Kate_W is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 04:15 AM
  #33  
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QUOTE "Yes the hotels will have toiletries, but what they wont't have is flannels (or whatever you call them over there)

If it's hot he can open a window - it'll make a man of him!" UNQUOTE

In the states, hotels ususally don't have windows that open, now that I know he can open the window in Paris, that does make me feel better--as long as it's safe. I don't know what "flannels" are though???

I love the idea of taking the cold shower, I'll be sure to tell him. I think I'll pack one small sample bottle of shampoo and one small bar of soap, that way in case one of the hotels doesn't provide them, he'll be okay.
iluvmyrott is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 04:25 AM
  #34  
 
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flannels are washcloths to you. We see them as personal items here in Europe and hotels never (or very rarely anyway) provide them.
nona1 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 05:05 AM
  #35  
 
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I'd second your suggestion about packing some soap and shampoo, just in case. We always put a couple of shampoo bottles and small soap bars like you get in hotels into a baggie with small washcloth and throw it into the suitcase. Comes in handy if needed. Also put in a small piece of plastic wrap so he can rewrap the soap and use it again - and it won't mess up other things in the baggie.
dfr4848 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 05:30 AM
  #36  
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Thank you SO much for telling me about the washcloths, I never knew this!!! So they provide towels, but rarely wash clothes--correct? I'm be sure to pack him some. And also, great idea about bringing some plastic wrap to wrap the soap in!

I know I'm asking a million questions, but I really appreciate the help!
iluvmyrott is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 06:57 AM
  #37  
 
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Yes, they'll provide towels.

Using someone elses or a generic washcloth is just thought to be a bit yuk here, rather like using someone elses toothbrush. Which I know is totally illogical as we do all use the same towels!

Is he sharing a room or a dorm? I'd pack a pair of foam earplugs just in case I got stuck with a snorer. It's not the sort of thing he can pick up that easily once he's here without knowing where to look, unlike basic toiletries.
nona1 is offline  
Jun 14th, 2007, 06:42 PM
  #38  
 
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Hi. I'm a new student ambassador and I will be taking my first trip to Europe on July 21st. I am asking whether I should take a debit card or just use plain Euro? Please answer soon.
hthefuture is offline  
Jun 14th, 2007, 10:03 PM
  #39  
 
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hthefuture: If your debit card is part of the Cirrus or Plus networks (look for the little symbols on the back of your card and at your bank branch ATM) and you have a 4-digit PIN, then it should work in Europe. But where in Europe are you going? Is it a country that uses the Euro?

Kate_W is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 08:10 AM
  #40  
 
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Try to use your credit card for any purchase - now for me at least better bottom line than ATMs

credit cards charge it seems a fairly universal 3% no other charge

ATMs charge 3% plus a $3-5 transaction fee (all your local bank charges)

Call ATM issuer and Credit Card issuer to check on conditions with your.

A few cards i guess like Capital One may not have fees for foreign purchases.

But whilst for ten years ATMS for me were the better way to go last year my credit card took preference wherever i could use it - many many places even mcDonalds and supermarkets.
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