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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 Apr 1st, 2011, 03:43 PM
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Well aren't you a piece of work raspberry7 - a disgruntled GP perhaps?
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 04:14 PM
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raspberry7,

Your skepticism is a good thing, but my doctor told me it is not an old wives tale. While there is some controversy about it, and many medical caveats, an indication if a respiratory infection is viral or bacterial is the color of the sputum/mucus. The expectorate from a viral infection is often clear, while that from a bacterial infection is often thicker, and a yellowish or green color, due to the byproducts of the neutrophils fighting the bacteria.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 04:15 PM
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Sounds like you've put a lot of thought into what to take. Besides the advice you've already gotten (basically, to take half as much stuff and twice as much money as you think you need), here are the things I never leave home without:
1) a mini-telescope. The one I have is about the size of a fountain pen. I think it cost about $50. Not a great optical device, but good enough so that I can see a road sign a block away, or the detail of a ceiling fresco.
2) a couple of little flashlights -- the kind that come on keyrings and give off a strong led light. I use them all the time to find the keyhole or to read at night if the hotel does't have have a decent reading lamp, or to find my way to the bathroom. But also love having an extra to give as a gift to someone who has done something wonderful for me. And one friend used one as her ante in a card game in Tanzania!
3) a universal drain plug for washing clothes
4) a compass -- so that you know which way to start walking when you get out of the metro.
5) I second the idea of having an extra week of whatever meds you take regularly - just to remove one of the stresses in case there's a volcanic ash eruption or something.

But mostly, remember that you can get just about anything there that you can get here (and some things that you CAN'T get here -- like ibuprofen cream!) So don't overdo it.

Have fun.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 04:42 PM
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My dr. will not prescribe antibiotic unless I am sick..
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 06:38 PM
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nukesafe I was going to add that info to my response but when raspberry7 was so rude, I decided I couldn't be bothered. It is a good way to judge a virus v a bacterial infection.

If say, I developed a seriously sore throat or severe toothache I would be prepared to take the antibiotics and hope that it was bacterial. Obviously if it didn't improve I would seek medical advice.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 07:39 AM
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@rasberry7: "I do however put a definite stop at taking an antibiotic."

My doctor gives me an antibiotic to take in case of infection. I have been bringing it (new ones when they expire) for at least 12 years. I have never used it. If I ever did get a cold, virus or flu, I would know the difference between that and an infection. You can also go to a doctor for confirmation but still take the med you have since it is a medication you know.

I understand there is far too much antibiotic usage and you're correct. But there are a lot of people, like me, who are not pill takers and don't abuse meds.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 07:43 AM
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I also want to suggest to anyone who is going somewhere that they will use laundromats, Purex makes detergent/dryer sheets in one. We put a few in a plastic bag and in the bottom of our suitcase. It takes no space and it makes the clothes smell wonderful. When we go to a laundromat we don't have to spend a fortune on buying the little boxes.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 08:52 AM
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I'm going to pick up some of the Purex sheets next time I'm at the store. Sounds like a great idea. Thanks for the idea.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 09:49 AM
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I did not mean to imply that I ingest antibiotics for no reason. I do have them on hand in case of an emergency. I got a bronchial infection while in Croatia and saw a doctor who recommended "sea water" which seems to be the standard remedy for everything there.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 10:20 AM
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indianapearl....perfect example.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 12:00 PM
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My three BIG million-dollar travel tips.

Take a little computer with skype on it - and a webcam - so you can skpye with family and friends - AND use it instead of a cell phone - and for FREE.

Get all your paper - from books - copies of passports - everything - and scan them into your computer and onto a thumb drive.

Write a document with EVERY bit of information you may need and email it to yourself at your gmail account. If you don't have a gmail account - free - GET one at www.gmail.com Then you can access it wherever you are.

Also copy this file to a word file on your computer so you can search it there too.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 01:38 PM
  #112  
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I'll admit I haven't read every one of the above responses but...I didn't see:

electrical outlet plug adaptor
also, if you are driving make sure you know what the road signs mean...some are different than what you might be used to.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 02:25 PM
  #113  
 
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and one more thing... take time to do nothing .. you will be traveling for a long period of time.. sometimes its just fine to sleep in, sit with a coffee, read a book..do your laundry,,,.and unless you normally spend 24/7 together..allow for some separate time ...split up and meet again in a few hours..and enjoy your trip
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Old Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:40 PM
  #114  
 
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7 weeks away...want to study this thread
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Old Apr 3rd, 2011, 05:00 PM
  #115  
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@indianapearl:
We are flying from Dubrovnik to Zagreb then renting a car to drive to Plitvice and Bled.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2011, 06:16 PM
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In considering the original question - what do I wish I had known - I wish I had known that I would only wear about half of the clothes that I brought and use half of the stuff.

My family had only carry ons, but it would have been a lot lighter! I brought way too much that I didn't need - I could have found items I need there instead of bringing a bunch of things I never used. We found pepto equivalent and immodium there - in the event you need it find a pharmacy, why haul it thousands of miles "just in case"? Do yourself a favor and take out half of your stuff. Since you're going to so many different places you can wear the same things over and over - less stuff to keep track of!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2011, 07:45 PM
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I wish I had known that not only would we not drink the little "sealed" cup of orange juice from our breakfast on the plane, but that it would leak about halfway around Ireland and necessitate a trip to the laundromat. Expensive way to save a few p.
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Old Apr 6th, 2011, 05:59 AM
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I just quickly perused through these so I apologize if I repeated anything:

*Someone mentioned a plug adapter but you'll also need a converter

*I always purchase travel health insurance. It is cheap and helps give me some peace of mind

*Call your credit card and ATM companies to let them know you'll be traveling so they don't think your card was stolen and shut you down

*Probably easily purchased but I always bring a cork screw for enjoying a bottle of wine in your room if so desired

*As someone else mentioned, an International Drivers license isn't a bad idea. Some countries require it. You can get it at your local AAA office.

*If you have a smart phone compliant in Europe, I purchased the cheapest International data plan for a month. It helped me find a few things in different cities like the nearest ATM and a restaurant I wanted to visit. Watch your minutes though as going over the plan is spendy!
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Old Apr 6th, 2011, 06:00 AM
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Also, I emailed scanned copies of my drivers license and Passport to myself so I knew I could access them in even the worst case scenario.
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Old Apr 6th, 2011, 06:05 AM
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Pack light. Several years ago, my young son went on a group trip to Australia. The suggestion from the trip sponsor to the kids was "Pack everything your mother thinks you need and pack everything you think you need in your suitcase. Then carry the suitcase for two blocks, bring it home and unpack all the stuff you don't really need." Good advice even for adults.
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