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user name, whether people really get gassed on trains has been an interesting topic here. I have no opinion, but many thing it’s an urban legend. So to be clear, did you meet people who specifically said they had been gassed, and how did they figure out that was what had happened? Nonetheless, I agree with your safety tip.

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did you say gassed? great, i’m already paranoid about travelling alone.

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quote:
user name, whether people really get gassed on trains has been an interesting topic here. I have no opinion, but many thing it’s an urban legend. So to be clear, did you meet people who specifically said they had been gassed, and how did they figure out that was what had happened? Nonetheless, I agree with your safety tip.

When I got to Krakow from Budapest..which was like at 5 am or something I saw a couple backpackers at the station looking really pissed off and confused. I approached them and asked them where they were going, they happened to be going to my hostel (Strangers Hostel by the way, kick ass place). On our way there they told me that they were coming on the train from Prague and at one point in the night they caught 2 fatasses going through their stuff. When the theives saw them, they surprisingly gave them their things back and just told them to shut the hell up and not tell anyone if they wanted to avoid a problem. These guys said they agreed and watched the theives leave. After that they agreed to stay up. However, they go from remembering being up and talking to not remembering anything else until one woke up(followed by the other) groggy with all their crap in a mess and their cameras and money stolen. They had their drapes drawm but saw a vent near the floor after they woke up and saw the grill had openings where one could insert a conduit for the gas. The crooks left their passports and credit cards. They say they were gassed because they were so on edge from the attempted robbery that they were wired and talking to eachother after it..and then boom, they wake up w/ their cash and cameras gone. When we got to The Stranger, another guy who came from Prague on a different night said he and his buddies took the same train and saw a compartment get gassed. These 4 guys I met were huge, awake, and pretty menacing looking so the crooks avoided them..but one of the guys said he saw the thieves go down the hall and saw them slip a tube in through the door opening, waited, and then casually went in there and took their sweet time robbing the compartment. Obviously, I cant guarentee these things happened 100 percent, but these people seemed very nice and honest about everything, I do believe them. And w/ all the others I met who were simply robbed, it didn’t seem like something inconceivable.

I got couchets and didn’t have a problem(I still stayed awake because I was so paranoid)..I’d suggest doing the same if you must take the night train in those areas(cuz you dont want to waste precious daytime). It gave me a piece of mind. By the way, I blocked off the floor vent in my couchet just in case.

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damn, just damn, Thats crazy

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wow! You guys are all pros at this! IT’s awesome reading it and just KNOWING what everyone is talking about because I live for backpacking. I don’t have anything to add, but going back to my backpacking trip this past May, I would say: when giving your laundry to a hostel (ie Four Courts Hostel in Dublin), make sure you separate colors because they will wash them in hot water (not the cold H20 that I prefer) and EVERYTHING that is white, will turn a bright pink. I’ve NEVER had that happen to me before, even when I didn’t separate my clothes. But, the hostel was nice, met the coolest people there!

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Another train gassing story.

Y’all are too fucking gullible.

I don’t know what happened (ie. I am stupid and/or ignorant) it must have been gas.

Never been any proof about it, do some searches here and find out for yourselves before you believe that Elvis and the Virgin Mary in tortilla form pumped gas into your poor travelling asses compartment to steal all your dirty stank clothes.

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quote:
Another train gassing story.

Y’all are too fucking gullible.

I don’t know what happened (ie. I am stupid and/or ignorant) it must have been gas.

Never been any proof about it, do some searches here and find out for yourselves before you believe that Elvis and the Virgin Mary in tortilla form pumped gas into your poor travelling asses compartment to steal all your dirty stank clothes.

Guys I met saw people do it. If you dont believe it, what is this &quotroof" you are looking for? Theres no way for someone to &quotrove" anything. You either believe or you dont. Quit asking for &quotroof" because you’ll never find any. This is an internet messageboard. The most we can do is relay stories that we have heard or experienced. No one can realistically certify the truth of whatever is posted here.

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I met people who say they saw someone jump off a building, eating a sandwich while doing the Charleston and lived. True story, I was told this. Makes it fucking true, doesn’t it?

Like I said, go look around the site for the threads about this subject, although, you probably did that already right?

If not, go read that before the alligator crawls out of the toilet and gets you.

And please back up your "sizeable percentage" claim of people being robbed in Poland. I would like to hear about this survey and its results. Oh shit, you made that up didn’t you?

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quote:
I met people who say they saw someone jump off a building, eating a sandwich while doing the Charleston and lived. True story, I was told this. Makes it fucking true, doesn’t it?

Like I said, go look around the site for the threads about this subject, although, you probably did that already right?

If not, go read that before the alligator crawls out of the toilet and gets you.

And please back up your "sizeable percentage" claim of people being robbed in Poland. I would like to hear about this survey and its results. Oh shit, you made that up didn’t you?

Like I said, no one can &quotrove" anything. Theres no use asking me to prove something when it would be impossible to do so. Nothing I could say would make you believe otherwise. You think no one gets gassed or robbed, thats fine – I dont get why you have to be belligerent and condescending to those that do. Agree to disagree.

As far as making things up, there is nothing to gain for me in doing that. I loved my backpacking trip and encourage anyone thinking about it to go and do it. That said, there are precautions and safety measure I would recommend based on my experience. If you dont agree thats OK but try to do so with respect. I’m not acting like a jerk with you, please dont be one with me. Thanks.

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My problem is that rather than giving opinions : ie. I think Eastern Europe could be dangerous, you are saying things like "a sizeable percentage were robbed" which has no basis in reality. There is a big difference between the two.

As for the gassings, that is just hearsay, again no basis in reality.

If the gassings were happening why haven’t they been covered in the media?

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quote:
quote:
My problem is that rather than giving opinions : ie. I think Eastern Europe could be dangerous, you are saying things like "a sizeable percentage were robbed" which has no basis in reality. There is a big difference between the two.

As for the gassings, that is just hearsay, again no basis in reality.

If the gassings were happening why haven’t they been covered in the media?

I never claimed that a sizeable percentage of ALL passengers on night trains in the countries I mentioned get robbed. I wouldn’t have the faintest idea if that were true. I’m speaking from one persons perspective. I dont think its necessary to include "I think" before everything I say..because the very fact that I’m typing the post should make that obvious to the reader. I did meet a sizeable % that claim they were robbed. Seriously. Could they have been lying? Absolutely, but this is my experience. Its perfectly possible that I just happened to have the misfortune of running into such a large number of robbery victims. Wrong place wrong time sort of thing. I’m just one guy and not a representative for all travelers in Eastern Europe. Unless I claim otherwise thats what I intend all my posts to reflect…just one experience. I can only base the advice I administer on that.

I used this site before my trip and now I’m here afterwards, I have no time to waste lying to people that were in my exact position prior to my trip. I’m being sincere and just throwing what I encountered out there. How people choose to take it is upto them.

I’m not focusing on doom and gloom..I didnt have one thing stolen from me on my whole trip. It was a blast that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Peace.

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Hey i am a new member and have never been on a trip yet. I found alot of the stuff you put on this thread very helpful (& funny). Its suprising how many people have asked the sort of things that have been included on this thread (myself included). So i thought i’d try and bring it to the top of the forum so any new-comers could have a look and get some great hints!
Regards – Jade

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Hey everyone,

I have to agree too. This post has been extremly helpful. I’m new here too and am a virgin traveller… Hopefully i can use some of your knowledge and experience to make my time there more enjoyable!!

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You might want to pack Immodium incase you get gassed!!!

Sorry, I couldn’t help it!!

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LOL Jack, actually people do forget to pack that, so good suggestion

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Unless you’re travelling someplace really remote, there’s probably no need to waste backpack space taking common OTC medications like Ibuprofen or Immodium. Believe it or not, people do get sick in Europe and there are these wonderful things called pharmacies just about everywhere. (Usually you can spot them by a green cross insignia). Some places, like Greece, even sell antibiotics over the counter, as I found out when I got an ear infection in Corfu.

Sure, the brands and dosages may be a bit different from home, but you can usually get something that’ll do the trick for whatever’s ailing you. It’s often helpful to learn the international or generic names for drugs (e.g. acetaminophen as opposed to Tylenol) because brand names differ.

And yes, something will be ailing you at some point. Travel can be taxing on the system – lack of sleep, temperature changes, jet lag, heavy drinking, unusual foods, different routine, etc. You can either stock an entire drugstore worth of medecine from home "just in case" you get anything from stomach pains to the flu, or you can just buy as you need.

The exception of course is prescription medication, which you should always take in an adequate supply and bring a copy of the prescription from your doctor at home in case of emergency.

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Thanks! The Immodium line was a JOKE making fun of the train "Gassing" debate.

I thought it was pretty funny!

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Indeed it was.

I was mainly responding to Jennifer&Chester’s post that said it as a serious suggestion.

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This has probably been said before, but when taking the Eurostar from Paris, London, Lille or Brussels, read your ticket. When they say be there 30 min before departure they mean it, and they will NOT let you board if you’re late. The Eurostar does not work like a regular train – you can’t just waltz in 5 minutes before it leaves. And you will go through security, and they will check your passport.

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back up!

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just back from a three weeks trip in europe. One comment about money. Try to use the ATM for money soure, don’t charge on the credit card unless you really need to. I found out after the trip that the restaurant charge on the credit card is much more expensive , then if I look for the ATM and paid with cash.. The reason is the exchange rate on the credit card is suck. My ATM exchange rate give me almost 20% better rate then my credit card. The credit card charge high exchange rate and plus fee. so stick with paiding cash if you can.

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Back up!

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quote:
Unless you’re travelling someplace really remote, there’s probably no need to waste backpack space taking common OTC medications like Ibuprofen or Immodium. Believe it or not, people do get sick in Europe and there are these wonderful things called pharmacies just about everywhere. (Usually you can spot them by a green cross insignia). Some places, like Greece, even sell antibiotics over the counter, as I found out when I got an ear infection in Corfu.

Sure, the brands and dosages may be a bit different from home, but you can usually get something that’ll do the trick for whatever’s ailing you. It’s often helpful to learn the international or generic names for drugs (e.g. acetaminophen as opposed to Tylenol) because brand names differ.

And yes, something will be ailing you at some point. Travel can be taxing on the system – lack of sleep, temperature changes, jet lag, heavy drinking, unusual foods, different routine, etc. You can either stock an entire drugstore worth of medecine from home "just in case" you get anything from stomach pains to the flu, or you can just buy as you need.

The exception of course is prescription medication, which you should always take in an adequate supply and bring a copy of the prescription from your doctor at home in case of emergency.

I usually take an empty prescription bottle and put a few of each medicine in there so it doesn’t take up a whole lot of room, but I have stuff just in case I need it. Yes, there are pharmacies in every country, but they aren’t open 24/7. Its not like you’re at home and can run to the medicine cabinet. It really doesn’t have anything to do with travelling in a strange continent, either. I always bring medicines with me even if I am travelling domestically. Its just convenient to have it with you. Its all about saving money too! Smile So, yeah, take one bottle with a bunch of different types of pills – but only if you know what each one looks like!

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This is a good thread. My (repetitious) two cents:

1. You’ve packed too much.
2. Your itinerary is too long.
3. Barcelona is not "on the way" from Paris to Prague.
4. Moving from hostel to hostel or hotel to hotel each day will wear you out. Stay put for 2+ days and relax.
5. If you don’t like crowds, go off-season or off the beaten path.
6. If you do like crowds, bathe and they will like you back.
7. You can buy things in Europe, so don’t worry about forgetting something…
8. Except your passport. That’s one to remember.
9. Save your souvenir-buying for the end of the trip. Dragging wooden shoes for your Aunt Thelma all the way to Greece will make you resentful and cranky.
10. If it’s against the law, don’t do it. Don’t think that being from another country will get you out of trouble. Not true. Your embassy will commiserate, but they’re not going to pull strings to get you out of that Bulgarian prison.
11. Wear comfortable shoes while traveling!
12. Italian pizza is nothing like Chicago-style pizza. Still good, though.
13. You itinerary is still too long.

Cheers!

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I’m not going to post a long list until I read the rest, but I’m fairly sure noone has posted this tip:

The best daypack I have ever used (and still use) is the[url=‘http://www.timbuk2.com/’]Timbuk2 Messenger Bag[/url] with the [url=‘http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/catalog/categories.t2?categoryId=15’]strap pad accessory[/url]. It’s amazing on how much it holds in such a compact size. It’s also waterproof. With the need to wear your daypack on your front in crowded areas and in markets, this bag is perfect – but it also feels comfortable on your hip or back. I use the Large Classic Messenger. They are available at REI or can be ordered from the website.

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Kahunna,

Those are nice bags. I’m looking for a day pack and really like those on the site you gave. They come in small and medium sizes. Which do you suggest?

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Tips that worked for me on a backpacking trip:

* I never bring my own music. Not only does it make me less approachable by locals and other backpackers, I would miss out on the sounds of my surroundings. I like to listen for songs in the ambiance of where I travel. When I return home, I search for the songs and burn them onto a cd. I’ll never hear Phil Collins’ (Can Feel It) In The Air Tonight without remembering when I heard it outside the Zagreb trainstation.

* Items I have and will always pack on a trip: zip-lock bags, journal, pocket knife, baby powder, moleskin bandages, and well broken-in shoes/boots. (Never go on a trip in new shoes. It will lead to blisters.)

* I always have five questions I can ask fellow backpackers to start a conversation:
1 – Where are you from?
2 – How long have you been traveling for?
3 – How long do you have left?
4 – Where have you been?
5 – Where do you plan on going next?

* I always draw out a basic itinerary before I leave home and sculpt it as I travel. I never stick to the original itinerary for it should never be set in stone. I control my itinerary, it doesn’t control me.

* I spend a moment after/before a photograph to take in the scene. I try to spend a moment to listen, smell, and hear what I am photographing, for the photo can only take in what I can see, and even that is limited.

* No matter if I am using digital or not, if I don’t believe the shot is going to have personal value, I won’t take it.

* To keep informed on any relavant situations, I go to http://www.google.co… a month or two before my departure date and sign up for Google Alerts. For instance, when I went to Peru and Bolivia in December, I signed up to have Google send me every news story that included the words &quoteru" and "Bolivia."

* Make sure your Bank card’s pin number is four or less digits long. Some machines in Europe will not accept cards with longer numbers.

* On my trips, I never forget to visit a supermarket to check out the similar, slightly different, and completely different products they offer.

* I also try to get a haircut in a foreign country. If I can’t speak the local language and the barber can’t speak English, it makes the experience all the more interesting. Plus, it is a great way to save money. (I received an excellent haircut in Bolivia for $0.75 that would have cost me $13 in the US.)

* I try to stay ignorant to one or two places I plan on going on my trip so I can surprise myself on what the place has to offer (if any). Despite if it has anything interesting to see or not, it is the joy of exploration and discovery that makes the experience enjoyable.

* I try not to let bad experiences ruin my trip. In fact, the bad experiences make my journey more interesting.

* Everyday, I find a spot to stand and take in the location. Stopping on a crowded street corner, at a viewing area overlooking a city, or a busy central plaza and listening, smelling, hearing, and seeing all that I can take in adds to the quality of the trip as a whole. I sometimes list as much as possible of the scene in a journal to make it easier to recall later in life. Nothing seems better at relieving stress than recalling a pleasant scene from a past journey.

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Bumpity, bump bump!!!

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Those are great tips, Kahunna. I especially agree about not bringing music and about visiting the local supermarket, barber shop, etc.

The only thing I disagree with is your comment about making sure a photo will have personal value before taking it. I always take a shitload of pictures, because I believe that if you see, for example, a funny sign that doesn’t really mean much except to give you a slight chuckle, take the picture anyway, because you may regret it later if you don’t (I have).

Oh, and bring contact lens solution from home. It’s different overseas.

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Daft as this may sound, but start walking around your neighbourhood every day for about 2-3 weeks before you leave on your trip, cause you will be doing loads of walking on your trip and this is where people get tired from

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quote:
Daft as this may sound, but start walking around your neighbourhood every day for about 2-3 weeks before you leave on your trip, cause you will be doing loads of walking on your trip and this is where people get tired from

in your new travel shoes so you can break them in.

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I agree, those suggestions are great Kahunna, EXCEPT for the one on the haircut. You are obviously a guy because I have tried doing that haircutting thing in a different country and yeah, wouldn’t do it again. For a guy, if they mess up your hair, it takes 2 weeks to grow it back out. For a girl, if they chop your hair off and give you a 12-year-old boy haircut, guess what? You’re going to look like a 12-year-old boy for like 2 months!

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quote:I try not to let bad experiences ruin my trip. In fact, the bad experiences make my journey more interesting.

I feel this is one of the best tips that can be giving. If you are going on a long or even a short trip something will go wrong or at least not the way you planned it. This could become one of your best memories from your trip or your worst. It is up to you to make the best of it. For example I showed up in Muchen and there was an event going on so there where no hotel rooms or hostels available. I stayed at The Tent if anyone knows it. It is a big circus tent where you sleep on the floor and there were 10 year old children running around all night. But I had a great time with the people I met. We sat around the campfire and had a few beers and it was one of my most memorable experiences.

I am leaving from New York with $2000 for 19 days
Warsaw, Kraków, Lviv, Suceava, Bacău, Focşani, Bucharest, Helsinki
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I might be repeating somone else but here are some more:

- collect a ton of condiment packages before you leave (your favorite kinds) and toss them in a ziplock. I totally regretted not doing that.

- instead of a traditional money belt consider having someone modify your favorite pair of jeans with an inner pocket big enough to hold your tickets and passports (also never forget a good pair of jeans… they are heavy but are the best for traveling)

- get an international cell phone… I bought mine for 50 bucks through mobal (UK based) and I even got free incoming calls when I was in the UK. In two months my cell phone bill was about 300 bucks. It was a life saver if you are used to having the ease of cell phones

- if you motto is "be prepared" then I suggest to map out how to get to your hostel or hotel from the train station or airport before you get into the city or at least have a printed map of somewhere to sleep to get you started

- get some web space in which you can upload your pictures in batch mode (or just install front page server extensions on your PC) and when you get a chance backup your memory cards by plugging in the USB at cafes. Along with this you should sign up for traveljournals.net
(check out my site http://www.traveljournals.net/travelers/incubus158/) or some other kind of journalwriting sites and keep your family posted, I found this was a great thing so that you dont have to tell everyone all the details about the trip

- bring along a tool kit with somekind of leatherman (or stop by in switzerland and pick up a swiss army knife) include a can opener, a little light and any other thing you need on this utility belt

- if you see someone with a good map or if you see a map for tourists and you dont have a map TAKE A DIGITAL PHOTO OF THE MAP. Many digi cams allow you to zoom in on the pictures in the viewing mode and you can actually use this to help you not get lost.

- if you like music, buy a cd from each country

- save all the little things/keepsakes that you interact with in your travels (ie receipts, candy wrappers, broken plates pieces that were slammed across your head, beer coasters from the hopfra house, and things that people give you) They make for really great scrap book content.

- bring postcards from home

- dont pack anything more than you need to http://atibweb.atiblab.sba.oakland.edu/dkrenne/Europe/Photos/Images/mini-Img_0607.jpg
for example

- if anyone wants any automatic scripts to reference the photos you upload as an actual URL friends can click on or wants the source fla of my site, just let me know

http://atibweb.atibl…

or email me at krenne@oakland.edu”>dkrenne@oakland.edu

happy travels

Jack
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Bump!

showtimestafford
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Cool pics incubus, glad you liked Scotland so much, I love living here… apart from the constant rain and the neds… but up north is amazing!
I havn’t looked at all your pics cos theres so many, but well done on some cracking pics.

shawnsninja
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lake orion michigan, now thats the place to see

Jennifer&Chester
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Sending up

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quote:
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.

In Koln, Germany, my friend and I’s cameras both got stolen- the next night we ran across the Koln Dom. It was absolutely amazing and awe-inspiring. We just stood there and stared at it, and weren’t able to take pictures. I will say that the memory I have of it is much more intense than any pictures could have been.

Jennifer&Chester
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Up she goes again

redkat
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BUMP

In honor of auher’s post!

hope
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1) Don’t be a whiner
2) Expect the unexpected
3) If you have no common sense either shut your mouth or go home
4) Never take anything too seriously
5) Don’t plan too much

auher
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Lose your passport (or be friends with one who loses their passport) near the lovely Hungarian town of Gyenkeynes on the way to Budapest from Zagreb.

There you will encounter a mind-bender of a catch 22.

The town offers no exchange office, the ticket back to the American Embassy in Zagreb must be purchased in forints ONLY, and everyone in town believes it’s illegal to assist you..

You may get the the point of wondering what would really happen if you found a open field and ran across the border….

Or instead you may do as we did and end up with a Croatian policeman in a small butcher shop, about 2 KM out of town, drinking home-made beer and eating horse salami at 7 AM, just to "buddy up" with the propriotor so that he might exchange money for you at a horrendous rate

-A

Malibu
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This thread is wicked!!

My two (probably repetitive) cents:

-waiters are an invaluable resource (especially if you’re a woman travelling alone…they can’t resist seeing you eat by yourself). They know everything about the city, and will usually offer to show you (obviously not all are to be trusted, but they’re good for inside information).

-try to find the local library for free internet service whenever possible

-don’t sweat the itinerary…the best things happen when everything goes to shit

-your first order of business should always be to find a place to sleep if you haven’t booked a hostel beforehand. Walking around with your pack on gets really irritating really quickly and does not count as sightseeing. Do your nerves a favor and ditch it asap when you arrive.

-girls with long hair – pack tons of headgear (ie. hats, scarves, bandannas) for the days you can’t be bothered (in my case, all of them…)

-little black dress, little black kitten heels…big problem solved

-always always always photocopy your ID & passport…take it from one who lost their identity in Barcelona like a chump.

Safe travels everybody!!

segacs
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Bumping it up again.

And adding a bit of new advice from my just-completed trip to Costa Rica:

Money belts worn under clothing are good protection from surreptitious crime, like pickpocketing. They offer ZERO protection from the assholes who jump you with guns and knives and demand to take your stuff, and then pat you down and frisk you looking for money belts.

Luckily, when this happened to me, I’d left my money belt with my passport locked in my hotel safe. If I’d worn it under my clothes I woulda lost it.

Yes, this can happen to you. Even in relatively "safe" places (Costa Rica is not known for being particularly dangerous, especially among Central American countries). Yes, it can happen even in daylight, even in not particularly dangerous areas, and even when walking with a friend.

If you are mugged, don’t resist – just give them whatever you have. Your main priority should be getting away safely and unhurt. Everything else is just stuff.

Cancel your credit card immediately if stolen. Call the local police and go through the hassle of filing a report. No, it probably won’t do much good, but at least you’ll have the report for insurance purposes.

In all cases, take only the valuables you absolutely need with you when out walking around, and leave everything else locked in a hotel safe whenever possible. Always store photocopies of important documents, emergency cash, passports, etc. away from the rest of your valuables just in case. Try not to carry your passport on you more often than necessary, because it’s the most important travel document you have with you and if it’s stolen, it can be a major headache.

Don’t be paranoid either. Random crime can happen but don’t let it stop you from enjoying your trip.

petitepaulette
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There are many people on the look-out for those tell-tale white ipod earphones. I am actually not sure if you can plug another set of earphones to the ipod – but be aware that ipods are highly sought after,and might get nicked.

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Yeah you can pp. Mine were a piece of shit so I went back to my old Sonys. Now I may lose points in style, but I will be safer from all those pickpockets here, in, uh, Tokyo.

Yeah, FULL of crime.

Andrew_T
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If you happen to get stuck somewhere because there is a train worker strike don´t freak out! Just find out where you have to go to catch a bus, it´s usually close by. This of course may take a bit depending on the level of communication you can attain with the people at the train station. These strikes seem to appear out of nowhere and usually only last a couple of days, but can be very annoying when you want to get to a place. This happened to me yesterday when trying to get from France to Barcelona. very annoying

I am leaving from Fredericton and traveling for 19 days
Paris, Nantes, Bordeaux, Bilbao, Santander, Oviedo, León, Vigo, Valladolid, Burgos
I am leaving from Fredericton with $2000 for 19 days
Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Gibraltar, Tangier, Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech, Fes, Meknes, Málaga, Madrid, Barcelona
Requesting help with Transport, Itinerary, Sights
I am traveling for 18 days
London, Bath, Bristol, London, Edinburgh, Inverness, London
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
Dark Angel
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One thing you need to keep in mind that Europe is a continent, not a country. It is made up out of something like 25 counties and all of them will be different. There is no ‘European way’ to do this or that, no ‘European point of view’. All these countries have their own cultures – and differences with the neighbours. Dutch, German or Scandinavian tourists in Italy might be just as out of the water as you are.

Something that rings true in one country may well be completely different in the next. Just because the beer in the UK isn’t cold doesn’t mean the Dutch don’t cool their beer…

There also isn’t some kind of great natives-only memo doing the rounds about how we’re going to handle those tourists today, either. You’re not being conspired against when things go wrong or people are rude.