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Special things to pack for a transatlantic trip to Europe

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Jun 5th, 2003, 03:39 PM
  #1
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Special things to pack for a transatlantic trip to Europe

I've traveled all over North America, but only very rarely to Europe. What should I remember to pack/bring/prepare on a transatlantic vacation to Europe that I wouldn't need on a North American trip? I can't think of much...
1. Passport
2. Power adapter & plug
3. Money wallet
4. Call credit card companies to let them know I'll be using my card in Europe

Am I missing anything critical?
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Jun 5th, 2003, 03:42 PM
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The ever-popular washclothes! Seriously, you won't find them in European hotels!
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Jun 5th, 2003, 04:33 PM
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I always make it a point to buy a $20 phone card. It is so much cheaper and easier when trying to make international calls back home. More bang for the buck!
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Jun 5th, 2003, 04:47 PM
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Hi Linda. Consider copies of passports and credit cards (kept separate from originals) in case of loss or theft. Have a great trip.
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Jun 5th, 2003, 04:48 PM
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Dont forget to do the things at home before you leave...mail, papers,grass, water
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Jun 5th, 2003, 05:38 PM
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Clea, another posting recommended buying phone cards in Europe, because ones from the US may not work, and that happened to me on my last trip to Europe. I bought an MCI card, called them to make sure it would work in Europe, got all kinds of special access numbers and codes, and when I tried to use it in Europe, it wouldn't work (the phone recording said it was an invalid number).
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Jun 5th, 2003, 05:47 PM
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I think the only truly critical thing is your passport.

Your number 3 and 4 items would be true travelling anywhere outside your home area.

Aside from passport, and I would also recommend a few Xerox copies, I would not travel to Europe without a guidebook and a foreign language dictionary or travelers phrasebook to the countries I'm going, if English isn't the native language. I also try to make sure to have phone numbers for the airline I have reservations on and to reach my CC companies in case of a problem (although they should be on the back of the card).

I also make sure to send a copy of my itinerary (flight numbers and hotels) by email to several people -- close relatives and someone watching my house. I don't usually do that for a more local trip.
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Jun 5th, 2003, 06:12 PM
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Here's another recommendation for photocopies of your passport, airline tickets, list of credit cards and number you can phone from Europe (preferably collect) - those 800 numbers on the back of your card (useless if you've lost it anyway) along with you and left at home with someone else.

Along with the adapter plugs (I bring only dual voltage electronics), an extension cord is handy (sometimes outlets are inconveniently located, or only in the bathroom, also inconveniently located).

Phrasebook (my favorite is "At A Glance" for the phonetic pronunciations and other useful tips and information). Even if you don't learn much ahead of time, if you're stuck, you can always find the phrase you need in English and show it to someone.

Enough foreign currency to get you from the airport to the hotel. ATM's are terrific, but they are sometimes out of order, there's a long line, they once in a while are out of funds, or YOUR bank is doing it's "overnight processing" and your transaction "cannot be approved by your bank at this time" (think time difference).

Find out which of your credit cards do or do not assess that pesky extra "foreign exchange fee".

If your ATM card is a debit card, request an ATM only card from your bank and leave the debit card at home. If your debit card is lost or stolen, anyone can wipe out your bank balance quickly, and you do NOT have the same rights of recovery as with a credit card.

The most comfortable pair of shoes you can find. Forget brands recommended by others or thinking of "breaking them in". They must feel like a dream the instant you put them on your feet. Even then, since you'll likely do more walking than you can possibly imagine, have a band aid or a piece of moleskin in your pocket. An hour or two total per day in a pair of shoes is nothing compared to being out and about all day and all night in them.

When heading out for the day, take only what you really need for the day. You don't need all your cash or all your credit cards or, most of the time, your original passport (carry a copy and leave the original in your room or hotel safe). A lightweight rainjacket with a hood that folds up into it's own pocket, for example, is a much lighter load than dragging an umbrella all about.
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Jun 5th, 2003, 06:38 PM
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On my last trip to Spain, I brought packets of tissue and antibacterial wipes. A lot of the women's toilets in bars and restaurants in Seville had no tissue, soap or paper towels. It might be because they know that people come in just to use them and don't want to spend money on the supplies. I've noticed that in Italy as well.

Also, bring a phrase book (depending on the country). For maps, I like the Streetwise series. Don't forget to make copies of your passport. Leave one copy with someone at home and bring one copy with you - just in case you lose your passport.
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Jun 5th, 2003, 07:07 PM
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Take a copy of the coverage page of your health insurance policy too!
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Jun 5th, 2003, 08:22 PM
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Suggested items:
* If you plan to drive, an International Driver's Permit.
* Extra passport size photos for any transportation pass that requires it.
* Tie wraps (instead of padlocks) for "locking" checked luggage.
* "No Jet Lag" tablets, eyeshades, neck roll pillow, and earplugs for the long flights.
* A pocket flashlight.
* The address of and map showing your hotel for asking directions or to show a taxi driver.
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Jun 5th, 2003, 08:41 PM
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If you're taking your ATM card, call to make sure your PIN number works in Europe, especially if you have a PIN that has more than 4-digits.
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Jun 5th, 2003, 09:34 PM
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1. caculator
2. ziploc bags
3. camera with lots of film
4. wet naps...these were life savers after picnics and on hot, sweaty days
5. little packs of kleenex
6. maps
7. snacks for the plane ride...airplane food sucks

Hope this helps!
Jamie
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Jun 5th, 2003, 11:58 PM
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We generally do so much more living here than in the states. Especially if you are on a city break. I usually bring bandaid, moleskin for any new blisters, and foot wipes or cooling cream to put on our feet at night after a long day of walking.
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Jun 6th, 2003, 01:24 AM
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Bootman4U
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These are great suggestions I think. I would definitely include a moneybelt and a list of those 800 numbers or the reverse the charges numbers for the credit cards..kept separately in case of loss..try to get dual voltage equipment so you forget that heavy, and often useless, converter. If you take an extension cord make SURE it will handle 220V current. DO NOT take a travel iron..use the shower or bathroom to steam out wrinkles or ask the housekeeping dept for an iron and board. Washcloths are a MUST...unles you sre staying in one of those most-hated (gasp!) CHAIN hotels..you know the ones that have air conditioning, a decent breakfast, etc., but even some five-star places don't provide washcloths (often called a "lavette")..I know this from experience. Ziplock bags. Yes you CAN lock your luggage with regular locks if you check in at airports that bomb-scan your luggage before check in (and some here and abroad do that. A Swiss Army or Leatherman multitool...bandaides, cold medicine (pharmacies aren't always all open on Sundays) Immodium, and ant-acid tablets. I agree about the pre-charged phone cards, too..we used ATT ones this past trip and didn't have to worry about hotel phone charges at all.
Some folks take along a small role of duct tape for quick repairs to soft-sided bags
All that said, talk HALF of all the clothes you packed and for the ladies out there, please do NOT take "capri pants" if you think these will help you "blend in" because they have just the opposite effect. Men: forget about blending unless you are wearing European style shoes.
Remember it is VACATION and a taxi every now and then isn't going to send you to the poor house and enough money so you can tip people and not go away feeling like Scrooge. Enjoy!
 
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Jun 6th, 2003, 06:36 AM
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I don't think anyone mentioned an umbrella. Mine stays in my carry on tote and I have needed it more than once.

The Swiss Army knife is a good suggestion, but be sure you put it in your checked luggage. My husband just lost his because he forgot it was in his carry on bag and they confiscated it at security check.

If you reserve your hotels in advance, be sure to take copies of your e-mail confirmations. Same is true if you have prearranged transfers, or made reservations for operas, concerts, etc.

I carry a penlight in my purse and my husband takes a small lantern type thing that gives off good light (we've lost electricity in hotels in Italy and France for short periods).

I type up an itinerary which lists flight numbers and times, hotels (phone and address) and reservation numbers, any tours, museum times, etc. Leave an abridged copy with my neighbor and my brother-in-law.

We too take guidebooks. We also take a multi-country menu guide which has been very helpful.

I'm sure I've forgotten something, but you have received an excellent variety of suggestions and should go well prepared!

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Jun 6th, 2003, 06:50 AM
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I take a note with telephone access numbers for my bank and credit card customer service offices, plus the account numbers. U.S. toll free numbers mostly don't work when called from outside the U.S.
I keep that note, plus the photocopy of my passport pages, copy of itinerary, address labels for people who will get my post cards, etc. inside my carryon bag. Once at the hotel, I keep those papers in the hotel safe.
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Jun 6th, 2003, 07:00 AM
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If you're going to have a backpack, get a small barrell type lock to lock the ends of the zipper together - keeps the pickpockets at bay and doesn't need another key to fumble with. sunglasses - perhaps a hat; zip-off pants for weather changes and if you're going to a cathedral which requires long pants for men - but its blazing outside so you can zip back to shorts when the tour is done.
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Jun 6th, 2003, 08:44 AM
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One of the handiest things I have found is a little 3x5 Memo Book with spirals at the top so you can flip it open. I put all my addresses, emails addresses, and frequently used "phrases", metric measurements (to use when buying picnic supplies). It's great for writing down addresses of restaurants you discover in your wanderings, phone/addresses/emails of all the people you meet in your travels, shopping lists, and your daily budget, if needed. Last year, while trying to buy tickets for a boat to Procida in Italy, I wrote down the time, type of boat, etc., and just handed it to the ticket person. Worked great! It fits into my purse, or a pocket. Plus, it's kind of fun to look back on after your trip.
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Jun 7th, 2003, 08:06 AM
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Thank you for all these terrific suggestions. I especially appreciate the reminder about bandaids and over-the-counter meds...that's exactly
the kind of thing I wouldn't think to bring.

My husband also suggested a small travel alarm clock for those days when we are meeting a tour or otherwise want to get going (I never trust hotel alarm clocks).
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