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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 31st, 2011, 07:35 PM
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Yes, 2 ATM cards to 2 different sources of money. Once we encountered a problem with one account shutting us out and we had to use the other source. Initially very scary, until we tapped the back-up account.
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Old Mar 31st, 2011, 07:43 PM
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bookmarking - very useful!
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Old Mar 31st, 2011, 07:56 PM
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bookmarking too
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Old Mar 31st, 2011, 08:52 PM
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Wow! Some people do pack a lot of gear. For us it's clothes and shoes (including sandals & walking), basic toiletries, prescription medicines, Immodium, phone charger, multi-region electric plug, ATM card(s), documents including international driving licences and doctor's note to substantiate prescription drugs (esp if going through Asian or Middle-Eastern airports), and copies of emails re any prebooking confirmations. Pretty much everything else (general pharmaceuticals, laundry products, first aid stuff (e.g. for blisters) we buy over there as needed.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 01:19 AM
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Love the holier than thou people who think taking precautions not to get sick is somehow weird. As others have said, it's no skin off your nose anyway.

You just want to make other people feel they are doing something that YOU just wouldn't be caught dead doing. Well, ain't you special!

Go ahead, people, and wipe those seat backs, trays and armrests if you want to and to hell with those who think THEIR way is the ONLY way.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 01:56 AM
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My first overseas trip I bought the biggest suitcase I could find--it was something like 42" and kept tipping over every time I pulled it. I brought a different change of clothes for every day, with color-coordinated shoes and jewelry for each outfit. That was almost 30 years ago and I never used the suitcase again--except to store my winter blankets in! I quickly learned to take carry-on only, and couldn't care less if I wear the same outfit over and over again.

I do however take my own toiletries and OTC meds. It's true that you can buy most things overseas, but it isn't always convenient to do so, particularly when you travel alone as I do.

Two incidents made me pack my own personal products: 1)a raging migraine at 11:30 p.m. when the hotel gift shop and local pharmacy were closed and 2)unexpectedly needing feminine hygiene products in a country where I did not speak the language and ended up having to mime what I wanted.

So my advice is to take a small baggie with essentials, even if only enough to get you through the first few days.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 02:41 AM
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I agree with willowjane and we always take a filled broad spectrum antibiotic. It was only used once, but we were so glad to have it with us rather than to have to find a doctor who spoke English or try to explain in our very basic Italian that our friend had a sinus infection.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 06:57 AM
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One thing I wish I'd known: the HUMIDITY in Europe in June. I packed all these no-wrinkle synthetic clothes which stuck to me in the heat. Yuck. Someone's advice above to place a cloth in the moneybelt on your skin side to absorb the sweat is a good tip.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 07:50 AM
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Hello, everyone! I just joined this Forum. Hopefuly this will help with planning for my trip to Europe in Fall 2011. I contacted couple companies giving private tours in Rome and the prices they gave me are for group of people. I'm looking for people going on a cruise in the Fall 2011 to coordinate with for this tour.Anyone?
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 08:27 AM
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I absolutely agree about feminine products if they are relevant and if you are picky about brands.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 08:55 AM
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Olenka - I suggest you go over to Cruise Critic - there should be a "roll call" for your ship's sail date - you can find fellow travelers there to share the tours.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 12:43 PM
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Comfy socks or lightweight slippers to wear in the hotel; many hotel rooms do not have carpeting.

Goddesstogo, completely agree -- it's very handy to keep the hotel's business card with you.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 01:58 PM
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I tried to skim the posts above, but didn't read them all thoroughly. Some of the suggestions are great ones, but it all depends on how much luggage you want to carry. I've become the carry-on only type, but that might not be necessary for you since you're renting a car. When moving from place to place by train, the one decent size suitcase (with a large purse) is the way to go!
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 02:43 PM
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In our trip to the Cinque Terre and other destinations by train in Italy, I found schlepping the suitcase up and down the stairs a pain. There are no elevators in most small train stations in Italy. So travel light . . .

I'm a great believer in preventive health measures, so swab your tray table diligently. I also take antibiotics, one for upper respiratory problems and one for GI problems.

One more cautionary note: do you and your spouse carry copies of your medical powers of attorney for each other? Otherwise if one of you is incapacitated, the other might not be able to participate in the decisions made in your care.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 02:45 PM
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How are you getting from Plitvice to Dubrovnik? There's about a thirty-mile stretch along the coast that goes through Bosnia. We would have been charged a much higher rental rate because of that, so opted to take the ferry from Split-Hvar-Dubrovnik.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 02:54 PM
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I am one of the "enjoy as many germs as possible" persuasion, but I don't mind in the least if anyone starts disinfecting their environment. There may be valid reasons like GlassCannon's or it may be a simple maneuver to feel safer.

I do however put a definite stop at taking an antibiotic. Main reasons:

1st: Most airway infections are viral: no use to swallow antibiotics. You cannot decide whether your infection is of viral or bacterial origin.

2nd: Broad spectrum is not equal to broad spectrum. Your typical bacterial spectrum in Europe will most probably be quite different from the one at home.

3rd: Don't prevent doctors from doing their job: Even an ineffective antibiotic will make sensitive tests to determine the type and sensitivity of bacteria to antibiotics useless.

4th: If taken without prescription by a doctor, you will probably stop taking the antibiotic as soon as you feel better, i.e. too early. This is the best way to induce resistance to antibiotics (big hello from MRSA).

5th: In all European countries professional help is available within a few hours. If you feel so sick as to need antibiotics, you should see a professional and not try some DIY.

So leave the muck at home (and every doctor who indiscriminately gives out antibiotic samples to lay people traveling abroad should have their license reviewed).
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 03:19 PM
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raspberry7 I have a very conscientious doctor who provides this prescription on the occasional time we travel on holidays. She has known us for over 20 years and knows that we rarely use antibiotics and wouldn't them.

I would like to think that at this stage of my life, I can generally tell the difference between a viral and a bacterial infection.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 03:21 PM
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Sorry, I mean't to say that she knows we would misuse them. We do also know that it's important to take the entire prescription and not to stop part way through.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 03:24 PM
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Cathies, I would be glad for you to say me how you can tell the difference between a bacterial and a viral infection without any test.

You should certainly be on the shortlist for the Nobel Prize (sarcasm intended)
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 03:42 PM
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Besides passport and money, I think 2-3 pair of comfortable shoes are the most important thing. I've never walked so much in my life as I do visiting Europe.

As far as your planning and packing you've done way more and are taking way more than I ever have, and I got along just fine.
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