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146 replies
Helpful Hints thread
segacs
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I thought of starting a ‘helpful hints’ thread to summarize answers to the most frequently-asked questions. Feel free to add on yours!

1) Yes, you can see all those places in the amount of time you have… out of the window of an airplane. Cut your itinerary in half.

2) Consult a map. Those places are nowhere near each other.

3) It will take you longer to get from point A to point B than you expect. Always.

4) But don’t forget about point C, which is in between points A and B and is a great place to see.

5) If you’re planning to spend every night on a night train, you will drop dead from exhaustion halfway through your trip. Stay put for a night or two and check into a hostel.

6) If you are North American, no, you cannot stay in the Schengen countries for more than 90 days on a tourist visa.

7) Yes, you probably need a visa for most Eastern European countries. And yes, you should have applied for it months ago.

8) A round-trip ticket with a flexible return date is cheaper than two one-way tickets. If you’re a student, ask a student travel agency (like STA or Travel Cuts).

9) Your ATM card will work in Europe as long as you check with your bank in advance and make sure to get a 4-digit numeric PIN.

10) Yes, you packed too much. Go put half of it away.

11) Yes, you still packed too much.

12) McDonald’s with a French menu does not count as sampling the local cuisine.

13) Ios and Corfu are not near each other. You need to take a bus, and some ferries, and another bus, and another ferry, and probably a stop in Athens overnight.

14) High-speed trains and couchettes for night trains require a reservation, even with a railpass. They have surcharges too.

15) There is nothing to see in Pisa besides the tower.

16) Keep your passport and valuables with you at all times, preferably safely hidden in a money belt under your clothes.

17) Learning how to say &quotlease", "thank you", and "excuse me" in the local language is priceless.

18) You will probably get sick when you travel. Take cold medicine and cough syrup.

19) Murphy’s law of packing: if it can leak, it will. Take ziplocs.

20) It’s not wrong; it’s just different.

Anyone have any others?

J�rgen
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You really already covered the essentials. Just a few side notes from me:

— At some hotels, people will ask you to hand over your passport. They do NOT want to steal it, they already have perfectly good passports themselves. They need to write down stuff for the registration forms they have to fill out. Most of these hotel people aren’t native speakers of your language, they need time to figure stuff out. They’ll give you your passport back later (quite a few people here seem to be really paranoid about having their passports stolen when checking into hotels – why??).

— The "Romantic Road" isn’s a road that’s romantic. It’s just a system of highways and roads that links towns and places which are romantic if you take the time to stop and look. Don’t expect anything from the road itself.

— If you go to Paris expecting Parisians to be rude and unfriendly, that’s exactly how they will treat you.

— Once in Europe, flying is often the fastest and cheapest way to get around. Often, but not always. Train stations are in the city center. Airports arent. You have to check in early for planes, not for trains, etc.

— Don’t count on actually getting those cheap airfares you see posted on all the no-frills-airlines’ websites.

— yes, there’ll always be somebody who speaks English. And if not, then you’ll still be able to communicate somehow. It’s fun. Don’t be scared.

— When calculating your budget, don’t just ask others what they needed years ago. Keep in mind that exchange rates change. Currently, the US$ is much lower against the € than two years ago. While prices stayed the same for us, everything got much more expensive for North Americans
—-> you’ll need more money than you had planned. But that’s what always happens.

delfrio
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16(b)) A money belt is designed to go UNDER your clothers, not on top. You’d be surprised how many people don’t seem to understand this.

21) Consider an open-jaw ticket. Into one place, out of another. A good travel agent can hook you up nicely without too much added cost.

22) Are there racist/sexist/anti-American/unwashed people in foreign countries? Sho’ nuff – same as they are in your country. They are not in the majority, however.

23) The people you travel with will begin to annoy you. Deal with it or leave them (nicely?).

24) In places called "bookstores," they make fabulous things called "travel guides." Try reading a few to see what places fascinate you before asking people who don’t know anything about your interests or personality. If that fails, search the internet. Then ask more specific questions here.

25) You won’t get into a club wearing ratty sneakers and a sweat-stained t-shirt (if you’re a guy). Bring black shoes or buy them in Europe (where all manner of domestic good are sold). Girls feel free to show up wearing a dress/shorts/swimsuit/nothing/bodybag – you’ll get in.

26) If you think you want to just bring Tevas (or flip-flops) as your only footwear, strap on your fully-loaded backpack and walk around your town for 2 hours. Do this for a week. If your feet don’t hurt, feel free.

27) If you have a digital camera, bring extra memory cards. Some internet cafes will let you upload your photos, but not all. A hard drive works too but may be extra space.

28) Contrary to popular opinion, they do eat food in Europe. And just as in your country, it will be cheaper to buy food at a market or supermarket. Packing your own lunch is a cheap option. Bread, cheese, juice, water etc. all will stay good without refrigeration for 2-3 days. Best to buy small quantities though, and not lug around a grocery bag.

29) European women will not sleep with you just because you are a foreigner. Unless you pay. Other backpackers might though.

30) If you’re trying to get to a smaller location, check the train AND bus schedules. On-line, you can try one of these sights for train:[url=‘http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en’]best one (IMO)[/url]
[url=‘http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/fares_schedules/index.htm’]raileurope.com[/url]

delfrio
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quote:

28) … Bread, cheese, juice, water etc. all will stay good without refrigeration for 2-3 days.

Well, maybe not the bread. Unless you think those whitish-green spots taste good.

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Bread is fine for 2 days. It won’t turn moldy until after at least 4 or 5.

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Two hours is not enough time to complete a cross-town airport transfer to a nonrefundable flight.

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quote:
Bread is fine for 2 days. It won’t turn moldy until after at least 4 or 5.

Depends on the bread and how warm+wet it is outside. I had some that molded up after 1.5 days. Wonder how long it was sitting on the shelf…

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I don’t really have any bread advice, but you could add these to the list:

31) When posting here, do a search first on your topic, or scroll through the last couple of pages. Your question has most likely be asked a dozen times before. There’s nothing wrong with asking again for more up-to-date or specific info but many times people ask questions that were asked the day before, and are sitting on the same page. I think you will get more thoughtful and helpful answers after doing a search and asking a specific question.

32) Other travelers are a good source of info, but take it as it is, and don’t plan your entire trip on what other people think – since everyone has their own opinion.

33) When on the road, try to keep a loose itinerary. You will meet people, hear of other places, and perhaps want to go there instead of where you were planning to go. It’s great to hook up with others and travel with them for a while – some of my favourite memories and best times are not so much the sights and museums, but the people I hung out with while I was there.

34) When planning your itinerary, think about how much time you have, and the locations of the places you want to go to. If you have only 2-3 weeks, an itinerary of London-Barcelona-Italy-Greek Isles-Prague-Amsterdam may not be the most wise idea. Try to keep the places fairly close together, you’ll spend less time moving around and more time enjoying yourself.

35) Try to get off the beaten track at some point or another on your trip, you tend to appreciate these places more.

36) Take pictures of other people that you are hanging out with (at hostels, the pubs, sights, etc….) some of my favourite pics are of friends I’ve met traveling.

That’s all I can think of at this time….

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quote:
36) Take pictures of other people that you are hanging out with (at hostels, the pubs, sights, etc….) some of my favourite pics are of friends I’ve met traveling.

Good thinking. Also, if you’re taking pictures of sites, try to get someone to take a picture with you standing in front of (the Eiffel Tower, the Parthenon, Big Ben, etc.) instead of just taking the picture of it with no people. Otherwise, you might as well just buy a postcard.

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regarding pics…

put the camera away sometimes and take time to be in awe of the place. so many people run around europe snapping a couple of pics of each site and moving on without really appreciating what they are seeing. no matter how good your pics, they rarely measure up to the wonder of the site itself when you admire it, think about it’s history, etc…. your pics will mean more when you get home if they take you back into these feelings of exhilaration experienced while wondering at your surroundings.

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Segacs, cheers to you for starting this thread! A few more to add:

No, not everyone speaks English in France. Don’t think they are just being rude. How many Americans Speak French in the USA?

Yes, most things are different in Europe. It is a DIFFERENT CONTINENT! Be pleasantly surprised with the differences rather than being bothered by them.

Yes, you are packing too much (as Segacs discreetly mentioned). If it doesn’t fit in a carry-on you are packing too much. I pack the same amount for 4 day trip as I do for a 4 week trip. When you are traveling who is going to know as long as you pack a tiny bottle of liquid laundry detergent?

No, you should not spend just one night in major cities such as Rome, Florence, London, Paris, Dubrovnik, Barcelona, Munich, Amsterdam, unless the only reason you are doing so is to trophy travel (just wanting to say you have been there!).

Yes, spending two week per EACH country in Europe will allow you to get a true flavor of the culture. Don’t just run from here to there trying to catch all the sights. Spend some time drinking a cold one in a square and watching life pass you by.

No, Europe is not going to fall off the face of the earth so you can go back as many times as you want.

Yes, you should pack some sort of energy bar for a quick boost after traveling for hours without a meal. It will be a life saver!

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I thought of a couple more:

*No, we can’t tell you whether you should go to London/Paris/Rome/Amsterdam/Prague/Salzburg/Brugges. You have your interests, we have ours. Everyone’s different. Some people love a city, some hate a city. The only way you can know is by going there and deciding for yourself. Try researching what cities and towns are known for, so you can decide whether they sound like places that would interest you.

*Yes, you still packed too much.

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Camping is better fun and cheaper than hostels.

Girls, when sleeping in an overnight train in italy try to get into a compartment with other women, or with other backpackers.They are tiny little rooms with only 6 seats and me and my friend soon found out that being in one alone with 2 sleazy italians was dangerous as they attempted to grope us…rape alarm comes in handy in these situations and a swift kick in the jewels.

But, dont be judgemental of all local men…you can usually tell with gut instinct the sweethearts and they are handy for free meals especially when they are a waiter in a nice restaraunt!

Dont spend loads of time in cities, they get boring and drain you.The first one you see will be amazing but by the 6th city in a row you wont appreciate anything in it. Better to chill on the coast or in the countryside with a beer and have a swim and go for a walk in between each city.its less expensive and way more fun.

write a journal

take a minidisc player.if you are travelling with a friend these activities are time apart when you are together.also learn when not to speak to your travel buddy these silences will save your friendship.ie:when you have wandered around cities down motorways through fields in search of some where to stay and yet you are still no closer to a bed have some quiet time then discuss the plan instead of getting angry.

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quote:
6) If you are North American, no, you cannot stay in the Schengen countries for more than 90 days on a tourist visa.

You mean without a tourist visa. The visa waiver applies to citizens of the Unites States, Canada, and Mexico.

quote:
13) Ios and Corfu are not near each other. You need to take a bus, and some ferries, and another bus, and another ferry, and probably a stop in Athens overnight.

Yes! People, please look at maps and study the geography of the areas/countries you plan to visit.

To add somethings:

-you are not visiting a theme park where everyone’s job is to smile and serve you. You are visiting a country where people live, work, study, etc. If there’s a strike, it is not being done just to inconvenience you. Labor disputes occur in every country, not just in the US. And in fact, European workers fight for their rights more often than North Americans. Even farmers go on strike, and they sometimes take their bulldozers to block major freeways, paralizing an entire nation. Don’t get all pissy if the museums, trains, ferries, airlines, buses, hotels, or garbage collectors go on strike. It’s all part of the package when visiting another society.

-If someone is "rude" to you, it’s not because you’re American. Yes, they can tell you’re a foreigner, but they don’t necessarily know that you’re American, unless you’re one of those people with the massively baggy jeans, and the 9/11 "don’t mess with us" tee-shirts. A local could be having a bad day…or maybe he’s rude to everyone, including locals…or maybe he’s not being rude at all, you’re just misinterpreting his/her signals. Just relax and don’t assume that the person hates Americans.


beach-lunch-siesta-beach-shower-dinner-nightlife-repeat

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Just my two cents.

You can not change your plans if you do not have one. Read guide books, look at maps, and check out the transportation before you go.

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Im in france, so some things im learning along the way:

1- a note pad will help so much. Writting down times, people emails, addresses and whatnot..youd be suprised how well it will work for you if you use it.
2- keep yourself on the downlow. Watch the locals, act as the locals…life will be easier.
3- learn "exscuse me" "thank you" "sorry" "bathroom" and &quotlease" they’ll get you by, you couldnt even imagine.
4- Make an extra effort to talk to other back packers. They wanna meet you, they are just afraid to say anything.
5-If your lost in the city, get out of the way of people walking by, go hang in the coner, find your way then jump back in the herd.
6-food will be different then the states. Cheese pizza isnt your regular cheese pizza.
7- a day pack(small backpack) will get you through the day,and sometimes a night.

Thats all i can think of for now, aside from the commen sesne in safty. But i guess Commen sense isnt too commen anymore…..

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oh,one last thing.

Like everyone says, keep a loose Int. life will be less stress and youll enjoy your trip. The way i did it and the way other’s ive talked to seem to have done it is: depending on how much time you have per country (lets say a week a country) , write down top ten things you want todo while your there. 1 being you have to and 10 being something you wouldnt mind missing. then work around that. Get enough sleep.

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Bumpin’ up the thread…

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this is a great thread!

1. Segacs still thinks you packed too much

2. Segacs is probably right

3. While meeting other backpackers is great, mingle with the locals as well, they may have a story to tell, a favorite site, or maybe even a free meal

4. Europe does not revolve around you

5. Although the movie "Eurotrip" is a great movie, here a few things in it that are definitely NOT true.
a. Europe is not the size of the mall
b. Unfortunately you cannot walk from London to Berlin
c. The exchange rate in Bratislava isn’t THAT good
d. Paris is NOT a suburb of Berlin

6. HAVE FUN!!! Don’t "overitinerize" your vacation. Spending too much time in a plane, train, bus, car, etc. will ruin your trip

7. Sometimes no plan is the best plan (But this does not apply to your entire trip)

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quote:
5. Although the movie "Eurotrip" is a great movie, here a few things in it that are definitely NOT true. a. Europe is not the size of the mall b. Unfortunately you cannot walk from London to Berlin c. The exchange rate in Bratislava isn’t THAT good d. Paris is NOT a suburb of Berlin

You watched the entire movie "Eurotrip" and those were the only inaccuracies you spotted? LMAO! (By the way, that movie is hysterical… my fave scene is when they get stoned on regular chocolate brownies in Amsterdam).

By the way, yes, I still think you packed too much. And yes, I’m still right.

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#1 Go to Krakow.

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haha, no thats just all i could think of. Smile

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Great thread, just bumpin’ it up again.

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Bumpity bump

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Great thread!

So far, so good. I will add that I always carry a small notebook to write stuff down, starting it before I go with flight information, any hostel confirmation #‘s, and I usually carry 1 or 2 skinny highlighter markers in my daypack to mark on maps.

For that return flight home, don’t forget to put your camera and film in your carry-on.

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quote:7) Yes, you probably need a visa for most Eastern European countries. And yes, you should have applied for it months ago.

Visas are unnecessary for all except a few former soviet countries.

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Notepads are also really useful for language barrier communications. Especially in the Basque region where you can understand absolutely NOTHING that they are saying. A picture of a toilet will mean a lot more to a local than asking "Where’s the bathroom?"

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Try WC instead of "where’s the bathroom?
Some eating out tips…
The bread they bring you at a restaurant is not always free-so ask before you even touch it. The condiments are also not always free. And the water is usually fizzy unless you specify other wise.

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in turkey, even a picture of a toilet might draw a blank- try a hole dug into the ground Smile.

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Where’s the bathroom will meet with odd glances everywhere except North America. In UK/Ireland it’s where’s the toilet / lavatory / loo/ bogs etc

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1. "Toilet" in english is a generally recognised word everywhere in the EU.
2. Americans have a nasty habit of not listening to the directions they ask for.
3. It is perfectly OK to ask somone in the line how to use the ticket machine, pay phone, ATM machine, etc.
4. For just 1 day, throw away your map and walk around.
5. You can buy toothpaste, soap, deoderant, shampoo, bandaids, ibuprofin, and cough syrup in the EU.
6. You don’t need any ID to get a stolen passport replaced, if you are a US citisen.
7. Don’t take with you anything you can’t afford to lose. Then you won’t worry. (But you are unlikely to get anything stolen anyway).
8. If you have an ATM card, do write down or commit to memory the telephone number to cancel it.
9. Never take or buy a mobil telephone or service. Purchase disposable phone cards in the EU. Some now work in multiple countries. Look on the back for the access numbers for different countries. It costs no more than $0.05/minute for within EU and to-North America calls.
10. Do not fall in love with a Greek waiter.
11. Drinking bottled water will not draw undue attention to you, nor will a ball cap, shorts, or a tank top.
12. If you are a female and in doubt about &quotarty" shoes, buy them when you get there (here), after you find out whether you need them.
13. Same goes for "appropriate" evening/party clothes, as you will probably not have seen many of the "styles" over here before. (I have a 22 year-old daughter who lives in the US and shops here). Smaller shops are generally better than the department stores (not only in Paris).
14. Avoid buying a leather or fur coat unless you are an expert, and be prepared to pay more than in North America for equivalent quality in the EU. (don’t know about eastern europe).

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Actually I found that you could get a great-quality leather jacket in Italy for much cheaper than the equivalent would cost here at home. At the time, it seemed like an extravagent outlay of money for a budget traveller. But now, I really regret not buying one when I had the chance to in Florence.

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I guess if one is an expert, then of course how i act on this issue is not relevant. But with things like leather and fur jackets, it is "buyer beware". One anecdote. My wife is a leather coat collector, all over Europe. I stay out of it. But when she went to the west coast with me, she found several "funky" places in Seattle and San Francisco and went wild. I am just going by her experience.

Too bad you didn’t buy the coat.

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If you feel lonely, spend an afternoon in an English/Irish-style pub.

Wander around and walk more slowly than you would at home – you’ll notice and appreciate more.

And don’t be afraid to take a holiday away from your holiday every so often – relax and do nothing for a day or a few days. Travelling can be tiring.

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* Drink plenty of water. Vitamins can be good too, especially if you are keen on sampling the local beer and wine. Travel is a bit of a challenge to the body, so taking precautions is common sense.

* Bring your favourite music on holiday. Burn copies of CDs, load up an MP3 player or whatever. Sometimes you’ll end up waiting around for a few hours. Just put on some music and you can zone out.

* For keeping up with business back home. I compose a big e-mail message which is full of all important numbers (credit cards, phone numbers etc). Then e-mail it to my own account. On certain occasions this has been really useful. Wherever in the world I am, I can always access it.

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Just following what Pedro said, it’s probably not a good idea to e-mail sensitive information like credit card numbers. E-mail isn’t particularly secure. I usually keep photocopies of important documents and a list of crucial numbers at the bottom of my backpack, separate from my wallet or daybag so that if one gets stolen I’ll still have the other.

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I second that. I’m quite careful about not putting credit card #s through public computers and definitely not through my webmail. I usually leave a list of credit card numbers, travel insurance, itinerary, copies of passport / ticket, etc., at home with someone I can trust – along with the phone #s to report cards stolen if necessary.

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quote:
Where’s the bathroom will meet with odd glances everywhere except North America. In UK/Ireland it’s where’s the toilet / lavatory / loo/ bogs etc

Not just in English; same differences occur in Spanish. What Mexicans and Hispanic Americans call "los baños" has an entirely different word in Spain. When looking for the bathroom/restroom/WC/toilet in Spain, ask for "los servicios."

quote: 10. Do not fall in love with a Greek waiter.

-frihed

Here we go again….what is with you and your obsession with this topic?

Besides, I think that your leather-buying advice is Scandinavia-specific.

————
More advice:

I’ve found 800 speed film not as easily available in supermarkets or touristy stores as in the US. However, there are several photo/film stores in European cities that will provide 800 and 1600 film.

Non-EU nationals: bring an international driver’s permit. You never know if you may have to drive. Americans: you can obtain one for $15 at your local AAA office. Bring a passport photo. It’s all processed in 5 minutes.


beach-lunch-siesta-beach-shower-dinner-nightlife-repeat

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Electricity is "different" in Europe. If you have to plug it in, follow these options, in THIS order:
learn to live without it
buy dual voltage (or in the case of your digital camera charger, lap top or IPOD check to see if it accepts 220 volts as an "input.&quotWink and take adapter plugs (1 for UK and 1 for the rest of Europe)
buy it after you get there
buy a converter and appropriate adapter plugs

Don’t promise to buy anything for anyone. Europe if full of frantic tourists trying to find "that German doll" that some friend asked for, or trying to find the perfect gift for Aunt May.

You will lose money on any currency exchange. You will pay a fee for using the ATM. It "would have been" cheaper to travel a different way, stay in a different place, exchange currency at a different place, or do something differently. This will amount to a few dollars for a trip that costs several thousand. Either be willing to dedicate lots of advanced planning time and an hour a day of your trip to saving that few dollars or GET OVER IT.

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Following Oldlady’s helpful hints about electricity converters:

Voltage converters don’t always work the way they should. Because they’re so heavy, very often their weight pulls the plug out of the wall, even with an adapter, since the adapters are usually slightly loose. You can hold them in place with your hand for a moment or two; any longer and you’ll burn your hand because they tend to overheat. In fact, they can even pose a fire hazard.

If you must use electrical or electronic devices in Europe, try to buy them there, or buy dual-voltage items designed for travelling. Or, as Oldlady suggested, just do without.

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Just bumpin’ up the thread…

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Never leave home without duct tape. It saved my trip when I dropped my digital camera and cracked the battery door. The tape held it together….a rubber band around the camera held the batteries tightly in place. Duct tape has many uses so wrap several layers around the bottle of shampoo that can serve as body wash and detergent for handwashing clothes. Take a couple of clothespins

Roll those VERY FEW clothes tight as a bullet and secure with rubber bands.

Panty liners will get you (gals) 2 days wear from one pair panties. Change the liner, of course.

Granola bars and beef jerky will keep you from starving when you can’t get to the grocery store.

Get at least 3 clear, rigid plastic folder/pouches (8 1/2 X 11 inches)with snaps or fold in flaps from school supplies to organize your printed travel confirmation numbers, maps, lodging confirmations, etc. Sort the ones you will need each day into ‘Today’s’ file. When ‘Today’ is over, store in ‘Used’ file. Refill ‘Today’ from ‘Unused’. What you need is always easy to find. Take with you in day pack at all times.

Back up your confirmation numbers and telephone numbers on small card the size of a credit card & store with credit cards. I found a neoprene beeper pouch with velcro closing and nylon neck cord that held credit/debit cards perfectly. I wore it around my neck and dropped it under my clothes. It was more comfortable for me than a money belt, but it isn’t large enough to hold a passport.

Gals, save the little sample packets of makeup. I was able to use one packet of foundation for 3 days. Closed it with a paper clip……..take paper clips and bread ties and zip-lock bags.

You can wear that same little black dress to clubs and church..might need a jacket with it for church. Wear your bulkiest clothes on travel days.

Take baby wipes or moist toweletts (big pack and pocket pack) for those times when there’s no toilet paper or the showers don’t work. It happens!!

At hostels you get to mingle with other travelers. At B&Bs you mingle with the locals in their home. Try to do both.

Always have ‘Plan B’ in case ‘Plan A’ doesn’t work out. Some days it’s nice to just take a picnic lunch to the park and people watch. Just remember……..if everything goes perfectly, you won’t have all the memories that make you laugh later. I have lots of funny memories.LOL

If you’re high maintenance and think you need lots of clothes, makeup, jewelry, luxuries, etc., etc.,………..you shouldn’t be backpacking.

Be frugal, have fun and keep traveling!

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If you will be flying through several time zones, you might want to check out the Argonne Anti-Jet-Lag-Diet at http://performance.n…

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quote:
Non-EU nationals: bring an international driver’s permit. You never know if you may have to drive. Americans: you can obtain one for $15 at your local AAA office. Bring a passport photo. It’s all processed in 5 minutes.

But please realise that traffic over here is often hugely busy, the rules and signs are different, many (rental) cars are handshifted and that the roads are narrower. If you’re not up to it, take a cab!

My other advise it that…

* There are laundrettes over here. No need to take clothes for 5 weeks, just make sure you know the local word for laundrette.

  • Contrary to popular belief things you can buy in supermarkets and pharmacists over here include… shampoo, conditioner, suntan lotion, toothpaste, make-up, monthly pads, pantyliners, tampons, shavinggel and -foam, razors, douchegels, soap, daycream, nightcream, ETC.

There is no need to bring a 3-month stock of these things with you, we do have them, and they might be of a different brand than you’re used to but hey, somehow we survive anyway.

(it’s AMAZING what some people think they need to bring…)

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True, they have those things in Europe, but some people feel more comfortable with their own brands, and you can almost certainly get those items cheaper (often a lot cheaper) if you bring them from home. I was shocked by the prices in Paris for such items. I’m not advocating one way or another, but I can see why someone might bring a stash for a long stay. But of course it would be a terrible idea if you are trying to lug around several months’ supply in your backpack as you travel from town to town!

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Don’t spend the whole time visiting the museums and other tourist attractions. Get out of the tourist areas and explore the back streets. Most of the best food I’ve eaten has been in little places I’ve found off the beaten path.

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Bump

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Important stuff..

1. Keep an eye on your gear at all times. Keep your hands or foot touching everybag, just in case.

2. Try to get to stations and airports well before time, it may take you longer to get through metal detectors and stuff than you think.

3. Yes that beer your drinking taste better if your American. Expect american beer to be compared to water or cat piss. You’ll understand after you drink European beer.

4. Yes that man is naked throwing a frisbee in English gardens in Munich. German people are allowed to get naked in the park, with out getting arrested.

5. Yes that girl sitting in the window in Amsterdam wants your money.

6. Yes the toilets in Amsterdam look backwards. I think it’s to help people find lost objects that they have stored on their persons somewhere.

7. Yes the Tube in London always smells like that. Don’t touch the hand rails on the escalator either, you don’t know what’s on there.

8. Yes you can mail stuff home if you don’t need it. Or you can get your mum or what ever to post stuff to you, if your going to be somewhere for a while. Probably not worth it if your only staying for a couple on nights. Might be cheaper to buy what ever you need in London. If your a girl and you like shopping an extra suitcases and bags can be bought whilst travelling. if your going to do this then make sure you can carry everything by yourself and for a long period of time.

9. Try not to load your bag up with to many books. They can be heavy after a while I found out.

10. free Continental breakfast in Europe usually means a small hard roll and coffee. Not really filling if your planning on sight seeing all day. Don’t buy bananas as a snack and forget about them in your day bag. They go off quicker than the bread.

11. When your travelling europe, try to dress the same as the locals. Dressing in Jordan shirts and boardshorts and generally bright coloured clothes is going to make you an easy target for pick pockets and theives.

12. Goes with out saying not to wave your money around. get cash out in small bills, you can always get more out later if you need it.

13. new cities and countries are fun and exciting, but make sure you are aware of who is around you and what they are doing.

14. if you don’t have a guide book, you can usually get a map of the city from your hostel that has all the sights on it. Ask your hostel if there is anything special going on that day. it can’t hurt to check it out.

15. talk to the locals. Most of the people your age, like the same stuff you like and have learnt english at school. if they don’t speak good english they like to practise on english speaking tourist and they can be really friendly.

that’s all I can think of.

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I know everyone is going to disagree with me but I only used my day bag the first two days. It makes you look too much like a torist. I know this wont work for girls but I wore cargo shorts for most of my trip and got mistaken for a local more times then I can remeber.

If you have to spend all of your time worrying about your pack them you brought stuff you didnt need. No one is going to steal your dirty clothes.

Dont have a plan A, B, C. Just have a general idea and have fun and enjoy yourself. Thats why you are there.

Seeing a museum is not as important as having a beer in a bar with a local you met or just walking around town aimlessly.

Do not sweet the small stuff you will end up being glad it happened.

And last spend the extra money to enjoy yourself I will gladly pay double to do it all again for the first time.

I am leaving from New York with $2000 for 19 days
Warsaw, Kraków, Lviv, Suceava, Bacău, Focşani, Bucharest, Helsinki
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take a couchet if you are taking a night train into and especially out of Poland. I cant tell you how many people I met that got robbed who didnt. Obviously not everyone, but a sizeable percentage..some of them were gassed.

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…if you are so grumpy and difficult, stay rotten at home.