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Things you wish you knew/did before you traveled to Europe

Things you wish you knew/did before you traveled to Europe

Old Mar 29th, 2011, 12:08 PM
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Things you wish you knew/did before you traveled to Europe

I feel prepared for our upcoming trip, but wanted to know what you wich you had known or did before one of your trips. I think we have everything we need. What do you think?

My husband and I will be leaving in a few weeks for a 3 week trip to Zermatt, Milan, Cinque Terre, Rome, Dubrovnik, Plitvice and Bled.

We have all flights, hotels, apartments and rental cars booked and confirmed. We have photo copies of all of our reservations, passports (for us and for apartments), contact numbers, numbers of credit cards, banks (for ATM card) etc... We have our lists of sites, directions, pages from travel books etc...

We have a packing list ready that includes: cell phone (bought an international SIM card already), camera, inflatable travel neck pillows, eye mask, ipods, Purex sheets for laundry, Dramamine, Pepto, earplugs, sunglasses and of course clothes, shoes and tolietries.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 12:29 PM
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"<i>What do you think?</i>"

Honestly? I think you have too much travel to too many places in too short a time. If you actually mean 21 days, after subtracting arrival/departure days and 1/2 to 1 full day every time you move from one town to the next -- you will you'll really have about 2 to 2.5 days per city.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 12:31 PM
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I matched your packing list with mine and you seem well-organized. You may have thought of this already, europe2011, but if you bring the packing list with you, it will prevent you from leaving things behind in your hotels.

It may be chilly, but if you can possibly wear sandals when you arrive at any airport, you will not have to remove them on the security line --- while others struggle, you will just breeze through.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 12:45 PM
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One thing that I brought on my last trip was was INVALUABLE was the new chewable Immodium tablets. Travel and different foods/drinks can give me "troubles" and they worked miracles. Don't forget packets of kleenex that you will likely use as TP in some spots.
Charger for your phone and/or camera?
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 12:47 PM
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poetess: I did think about bringing the packing list - thanks! Good idea about the shoes, too.

ekc: Immodium tablets are a great idea - thanks!
I do have kleenex, wet ones etc.. and the chargers on my list!
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 12:54 PM
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I have gotten really sick several times after flying so I researched it and took a few precautions last time and didn't end up getting sick on 5 flights. I brought some anti bacterial wipes, antibacterial gel, and nasal spray.

Once we boarded I wiped down the tray table and anything plastic around our seats with the antibacterial wipes. We both used sanitizer gel and nose spray every few hours.

It worked great and I plan to do this on every flight from now on. I don't care if I looked like a germaphob. I didn't lose the first week of my vacation to a stomach bug.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 01:12 PM
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Have you got your IDP for Italy?
Do you know the rules of the road in the countries in which you will be driving?

Micehle_d - I have never got sick from flying, never. Nor has my husband who has flown a heck of a lot more than me (every week this last three months for instance). I think such precautions are rather ott tbh, and probably rather annoying for your fellow passengers.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 01:12 PM
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Purex sheets for laundry. What a good idea. I also think anti-bacterial wipes on the plane are a good idea. Will keep these in mind.

Of course you are taking some zip lock bags in varying sizes I hope.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 01:26 PM
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Maybe you should get one of those surgical masks like they wear in China, Korea and Japan. No ... wait... might make the aircrew and passengers nervous! ;^)
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 01:33 PM
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I too think you have crammed too much into your trip.

The main imgredient is that a trip is about the places and people you are visiting and it is not about you. The more you concentrate on which hotels, what I am going to eat, what about my clothes, the more you will miss your own trip.

If for any reason this may be your only trip to Europe or there may be one another, then I can udnerstand cramming in al lot. Otherwise dedicate some time to sitting at a cafe and watch the world the go by, it is part of the experience.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 03:52 PM
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I agree your trip is too ambitious. But that said, all I would add is to bring a miniature flashlight. Can't tell you how many times it's come in handy: locating my daughter's contact lens on the floor of a dark airline, finding the keyhole in an apartment in Paris where the hall lights didn't work, locating the fuse box in a rental villa...I always bring one.

As for the Purellists, it would drive me nuts if someone started wiping everything in sight down with antibacterial wipes. I'm a firm believer in exposing myself to as much bacteria as possible. Perhaps that explains why the last time I was even a tiny bit sick was more than 30 years ago.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 04:05 PM
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Sunscreen is much more expensive over there so bring enough if you'll be using it. Small flashlight is a very good idea too.
I email copies of passports and itinerary to myself as attachments so they can always be accessed. I also keep all the emails of my resevations, air, hotel, car "live'for the same reason as above.Just in case, give a freind or relative a copy of your passports. It helped me out in an emergency one time before I emailed them to myself.
Be ready to enjoy the unexpected.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 04:13 PM
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Wash clothes, rechargeable batteries and charger, small portable fan that is 120/240 volts and plug adapters for chargers and a small extension cord with multiple plug-in on one end, small tube of sun screen, lip balm, washing machine tablets (they do not spill all over clothes if bag is broken), clothes pins, 30-40 ft of para-cord, small first aid kit with white tape,bandaids, neo-sporin, safety pins, roll of gauze, asprin or... stomach stuff already mentioned above, packaging tape, pen/pencil, small magic marker, pad to write notes on. Laptop is a maybe as is a cell phone. Print maps from google or mapquest and take with travel books. Discard when used. Itinerary with phone numbers to friend, child, etc. who can get in touch with you if needed. Have you notified you bank and credit cards about your travel plans? Check again to make sure it was noted. Remember, get cash from ATM as needed and be sure to have a under the shirt safe/money pouch, for extra cash and cc. Do not assume you can see or feel a pickpocket. They practice 24/7. It is their lively hood.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 04:19 PM
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I never thought a small flashlight. Everything else I have thought about.

@ hetismij - Yep, got um! We are driving in Croatia and Slovenia.

@kay_p - Of course!

@ HappyTrvlr - Got some small bottles of sunscreen already! We have scanned and emailed those documents and have given copies to family, too.

Great ideas! I am feeling good about the thought I have given this trip! Then we can just fly there and enjoy!
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 04:27 PM
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Have you checked to see if you are driving in countries that might require an international driving permit? We never get one and go every year, but we are getting one this year as more and more countries require that you have it. You can get it at AAA and they also can take the required photo there. There is a discount for members but anyone can use the service.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 04:39 PM
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Can't tell if you are American but if so, you can register with the State department (trip locations, dates there, etc...)-could be helpful if there is trouble, they will know you are there.

Also, do leave a passport copy with a friend or family member in case there is a problem.

I like to arrive with Euros, as well.

Have a great trip.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 04:54 PM
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Might your bank have any branches or ATMs where you're traveling (or reciprocal agreements / surcharge-free ATMs)? If so, bring the address/location so you can find it easily.

I almost always bring laptop, if not for the internet access at least to download photos so I don't have to hang on to a bunch of memory cards.

If you want to cut down on the paper (and you have a kindle) you can load all your itineraries, maps, etc as pdf documents onto the kindle. as well as i do all my guidebooks as e-books rather than paper copies.

i also try to pack small snack (even if it's just a couple power bars) in case i'm too exhausted when i arrive to even go out and find myself food.

toiletries should definitely include feminine products, even if you think the timing's wrong. very hard to find when you need. and motrin. and those heating pads that attach with adhesive.

moleskin or those sticky pads you can put on the heel of your shoe when you realize it's rubbing you wrong.

lately i've been packing a small reusable cloth bag with me after going to too many stores in Germany, Netherlands and Poland that did not supply (or made me pay) for plastic bags.

an extra washcloth?

if you want to be careful, tape your name and contact, plus an emergency contact inside your luggage, just in case.

and if you want to be super-duper careful, register your travel with the State Department travel registry ( https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/ )
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 05:22 PM
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Agree that yo are heading too mnay places in too little time - but perhaps you like a really high speed travel with no relaxation.

As for what to bring - I never go without:

A knife (small steak type - for fruit or making sandwiches snacks)
A small flashlight (have used it twice - once a power outage and once stuck in a hideous storm with a car with dead wipers)
A small complete medical kit (band aids, neosporin, Pepto, aspirin, Advil, dramimine, tweezers, Benadryl)
An extra pair of glasses (if you really need them)
A menu reader (a tiny book with 16 languages - we just take those of the countries we will
visit

What I wish I knew - many people that travel on tours are frightened (either just overall or of somehow being separated from their tourmates). I have been pushed, knocked into and stepped on by tour members in a public place who were horrified at being separated from the rest of the group - even by 2 people that got mixed up in the group. In one case I used my subway experience - a cocked elbow in the gut - to get rid of a guy who was really pushing me. For the hysterical nuns in Rome I stepped aside - they were old and REALLY scared.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 05:30 PM
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Wow, sorry for sharing my tip.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 05:42 PM
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Luggage tags:

I actually printed out SEVERAL of them for each luggage, each with a different destination address, so before taking a flight to Prague, I attach the tag with our Prague hotel address and phone number info.

Also our international cell phone number is on each of the different tags.

Otherwise, if a piece of luggage is lost on the way to Prague, it will do no good if the info there is of our home in Chicago....

Makes sense, no?
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