Traveling to Europe-what do I bring?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by GatorGal, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. GatorGal

    GatorGal Cohort

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 18, 2008

    I've never been out of the country before, and I have no clue what to pack or how to prepare. Any worldly people out there able to pitch in some suggestions?
    (By the way...I'm trying to fit everything in one medium sized suitcase. We will be taking a train from Rome to Florence to stay overnight, so we'll be dragging our luggage with us).

    Here's what I have so far:
    -comfortable "walking" tennis shoes
    -lightweight jacket
    -a few pairs of jeans/casual attire

    Here's what I know I should do before I go:
    -call my bank to tell them I'm going so they don't cut my card
    -bring traveler's checks (though I'm not sure how much??)

    :help::thanks:
     
  2.  
  3. carlea

    carlea Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Messages:
    401
    Likes Received:
    1

    Mar 18, 2008

    I've traveled quite a bit (several times to Italy - my fav!) and these are some of the things I always take:
    febreze, aspirin, kleenex (their little packs of kleenex are like napkins-ouch), a journal, camera (of course), spare camera (a cheapie - once my good one broke & I was lucky I had a spare), ziplocs, and a travel guide (my favorites are the Dorling Kindersley Travel Guides - they're filled with great pictures & maps).

    clothes: I never want to look like a tourist, so I wear comfy but nice clothes (really nice jeans, washable slacks, sweaters, layering is good). I'll wear tennis shoes but they're usually black or some other type of dark slide, loafer, or boot. One thing I like to do is take old clothes that I don't want, wear them, and throw them away - usually they're old socks or little t-shirts that I use for layering.

    I also put a copy of my passport/plane ticket/hotel info/etc kept in luggage & give a copy of my info to someone at home.

    I took traveler's checks once & they ended up being more of a hassle to me than just using my credit card. I just get cash from the atm. I always exchange some money before I go so that when I land, I can buy a water or map or pay for a taxi without worrying about finding a place to get cash.

    Congratulazioni e buon viaggio!!! (Congratulations and good travels!!!)
     
  4. Learner4Life

    Learner4Life Cohort

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    720
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 18, 2008

    Italy specifically, if you're going to the Vatican or ANY church in Italy for that matter, they like you to have your shoulders and knees covered.

    I agree on the travelers checks thing. You'll get the most imediate exchange rate and it's easier to track if you use your ATM card.

    You are SO LUCKY!!!! I LOVED ITALY!! Drink a glass of Sangria for me! OH! and get LOTS of Gelato!
     
  5. GatorGal

    GatorGal Cohort

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 18, 2008

    Good tips about the traveler's checks. :thanks: What is a good amount to exchange before we leave? $50 or so?

    I also wasn't familiar with covering your shoulders and knees--good to know!! :)

    Carlea, is there a specific type of bag that you recommend carrying your wallet, camera, kleenex, etc? I have a bag similar to this one that I was thinking of bringing. I have heard so many stories about pick-pocketing! http://www.llbean.com/webapp/wcs/st...ry=5236&cat4=3153&shop_method=pp&feat=5236-tn
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,170

    Mar 18, 2008

    Moleskin. You'll probably be doing a little more walking than you're used to, and you will be walking on cobbles more than you're used to... you'll get blisters, and moleskin can be very helpful.

    More than one pair of shoes. Shoes in March in Europe can get wet.

    Imodium. The generic version, loperamide, will do nicely.

    A prescription for any prescription meds you take. Oh, and Chapstick or something like it.

    A carryon in addition to your suitcase, because suitcases can get lost and you don't want to be caught without a change of underwear.

    One fairly nice top and one fairly nice bottom that can be combined with the other things you're packing.

    Sunglasses and a hat (you'd be amazed how much warmer you can feel when your head is covered.)
     
  7. cMcD

    cMcD Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,214
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 18, 2008

    I went to Italy in April last year. I agree with carlea, don't look like a tourist. Pickpockets will target you. I wore comfy, stylish sandals, skirts, dark denim jeans, and cute tops. I brought a cardigan if it was chilly. Bring a lightweight jacket.

    In terms of purse or bag bring a purse that fits snuggly under your shoulder (underarm area). DON'T CARRY ANYTHING IN YOUR POCKETS! I saw a guy pickpocket a guy's razor cell phone out of his back pocket. The guy didn't even notice.

    You should be good exchanging $50 before you go. Then using your traveler's checks to get Euros. I used the ATM to take money out.

    If you want to see David in Florence get there VERY EARLY!

    I locked all my valuables in my luggage when I left my hostel. just as a precaution.

    If you use a blow-dryer bring an adapter and converter.

    Make sure you know what train is your's! We almost missed ours. They will call the train by the last stop it makes.

    Eat gelato twice a day. YUMMY! (You'll walk it off. Trust me.)

    Be prepared to barter in Italy in the street markets.

    I heard that you could get in trouble for buying the fake Chanel purses from the men on the street. FYI.

    Things you must buy (or at least look at):
    *Glass jewelry!!! (I get so many comments on the pieces I bought. They are very cheap, especially if you barter.) (They will say that it's Murano. It's not. they put a Murano sticker on the back. But it doesn't matter.) Even if you buy pendants you can switch the chain.
    http://www.venetianglassart.com/venetian-glass-art-decour/glassjewelry.html
    http://www.gems2behold.com/
    *Ties (Very cheap. Very colorful.)
    *Pashminas (I bought like 8 of them for me, and some for friends)
    *Pasta (They have the most colorful pasta! I brought home some bags. They are very pretty in my clear canisters in my kitchen)

    Have fun!!! I've been yearning to go back!!! Eat a tasty pizza and some wine for me. If you lived closer to me I would have you bring some glass necklaces back for me! :)
     
  8. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,377
    Likes Received:
    809

    Mar 18, 2008

    I agree you will need an adapter for your hair dryer or travel iron.

    I wouldn't take too many pairs of jeans -- they are heavy and if they get wet, they take forever to dry. Slacks will work better.

    Instead of taking a purse, get a travel bag (sort of squarish) so your new hubby can take turns lugging it around. Always keep it under your arm. Don't keep anything you can't live without in your pockets -- because it could get pickpocketed.

    Personally, I like taking a travel iron -- not that I'm an ironing freak, but that you can use it to help dry your clothes (like socks and undies) if the socks get wet or you have to rinse out something for the next day.
     
  9. cMcD

    cMcD Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,214
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 18, 2008

  10. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,377
    Likes Received:
    809

    Mar 18, 2008

  11. carlea

    carlea Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Messages:
    401
    Likes Received:
    1

    Mar 18, 2008

    I've never had an incident with pick pockets. But I always used an across the body purse (not too big) with a zipper closure AND a flap. Then I wore it UNDER my jacket. I kept my camera in my pocket so I wouldn't have to fumble around with the purse.
    This year I bought an across the body purse that unclips on one side so I can shorten it and wear it like a belt.

    Also, I don't know where you're staying - but I always stayed at hotels & they had hair dryers. They use a higher voltage than we do, so if you use yours, don't put it on 'high' - the 'low' setting will be like it's on high. And it may overheat quickly.

    I forgot that I also took my camera & cell phone chargers. Make sure they can be used worldwide - neither of mine needed a voltage adapter, just a prong adapter.
     
  12. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,377
    Likes Received:
    809

    Mar 18, 2008

  13. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    2,403
    Likes Received:
    1

    Mar 18, 2008

    here is a tip I learned the first time I went to Europe in high school (thanks to my french teacher!): take all your old underwear and socks, tees for sleeping, etc. Then throw it away and use the extra space for all the souvenirs you will buy!
     
  14. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,377
    Likes Received:
    809

    Mar 18, 2008

    Great advice silver..I do the same thing (tho' the OP is going to be on her honeymoon, I think, so she might not want to take "old undies"... LOL

    I also took thin slacks and tops, that I could rinse out if needed, and they would dry over night. You can't do that with jeans. I was glad I did, because on one trip overseas, I got sick and couldn't fly, so I had to stay in Japan an extra TWO WEEKS! Being over a size 6, it was impossible to find clothes to buy in Japan. (At least, I couldn't find any.) Thank goodness I could wash out clothes and let them dry overnight. I had to use the travel iron to get my socks to dry.

    Also, pack as light as possible. You don't want to be lugging around big heavy suitcases. Those cobblestones are not kind, even to wheeled luggage. And if you stay someplace "quaint' (ie no elevator) you really won't want to lug heavy bags up stairs.
     
  15. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,377
    Likes Received:
    809

    Mar 18, 2008

    Oh, another piece of advice -- put your name and address in EVERYthing (or use your business address if you are concerned about your private address.)

    My elderly parents, many years ago, were rushing to get back to the ship (cruise in Europe) and left an incredible camera and camera bag on a table at a cafe. When they realized, it was too late to go back, or they would miss the boat.

    They couldn't really remember the name of the cafe or the address -- they had just been wandering around sight-seeing when they found it.

    They were on this cruise for like 20+ days, but when they got home, there was a strange message from someone with a very thick accent. They couldn't make heads or tails of it. It turned out that someone (we never could find out exactly who) found the camera and turned it in to the police, who tracked my parents down from their phone number and address which was in the bag. When they couldn't reach my parents on the phone, they shipped camera and camera bag to the address, and my folks actually got the camera back! Amazing to know there are so many good people in the world.

    They did have the name of the police station, so they sent them the money for the shipping, but no one had asked for it.

    There had even been money in the camera bag, and every cent was still there. Just amazing.
     
  16. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2006
    Messages:
    1,947
    Likes Received:
    34

    Mar 18, 2008

    Tips from my mom who travels with her hubbie all around the world on the cruise he works on (I know we all hate her LOL)

    Those space bags for bulky sweaters, those ones that roll up. Bring at least one, or you will end up buying one. (most public places get quite cool due to air conditioning or weather) Roll your clothes in your suitcase, you will get double in. Clear bags for shoes, makeup and all small items. Do NOT overfill, if they search your luggage they take out the bags, glance over them quickly and you are on your way.

    Shoe lace free shoes that are comfortable walking shoes, for the airport, so you are not getting searched forever, oh and see through socks. (makes it go even faster)

    Bring small amounts of hygenie products not only due to the regulations, but trust me you will find great things to use over there.

    Bring a way to carry lots of change with you in Europe, most countires in Europe you need to pay to pee. You either use a coin for the public restroom, but in many areas, especially in the rural areas you will pay a person to use the bathroom. Oh, bring a roll or two of toilet paper, if you don't and you have to pay some old lady to use the bathroom, TP is extra.

    Bring a pouch to carry passports and credit cards next to your skin and hidden from sight, it prevents disaster should you be pickpocketed.

    Bring a pocket phrase dictionary, most people that do speak English will have a hard time with some of our phrasing and will get confused. Save the hassle and be prepared. Know what strange food names are, or you will order something awful on accident! (I ordered an american hamburger in one resturant, I got a ground lamb pita bread sandwich with cous cous....)

    Bring a good attitude, most Europeans think Americans are rude, pushy and impatient, if you act that way you will be treated poorly.

    Have fun, I loved living in Germany oh how I envy your trip. I cannot wait until I can go back!
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,170

    Mar 18, 2008

    If your socks get wet while you're out and about, find a restaurant that has blower dryers instead of or in addition to towels in the bathrooms: pull off the wet sock, hold it over the hot air flow, push the button. (This is a mother-of-small-children trick. McDonald's nearly always has air dryers.)
     
  18. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,492
    Likes Received:
    100

    Mar 18, 2008

    So many good tips! I went to London a year ago Christmas and here's what worked for me.
    *Take only half of the outfits you think you'll need. No one will care if you wear the same outfit more than once. I doubt anyone will notice other than you.
    *Take only 4 pairs of socks (if you are taking socks) and wash them in the sink at night.
    *Take Two extra pair of undies in your carry-on luggage in case your main luggage gets lost. Actaully, I took my travel sized toothpaste, toothbrush, hand gel, and a few other things on the plane as well. Nothing worse than an overnight flight and being forced to live with morning breath for a few hours.
    *Like someone said, put your address in everything (suitcases, camera case, travel bag, etc.) but also put your destination address in your checked and carry-on luggage. If it gets lost they will know where to find you. May also want to include a copy of your itenerary if you are moving around a lot.
    *I would suggest a body wallet rather than a purse of shoulder sling. I used a shoulder sling and it worked well for me, but that was winter and I hid it under my coat. When I travel next summer I plan on taking a body wallet (also called a wallet belt). You strap it on under your shirt so it is hidden and you would definately know if someone was trying to lift it.
    *Only carry what you think you will need for the day. Never carry your passport or ID and only CC if you will need it. Try to take only cash and only what you'll need so less will be stolen if you do get picked.
    *Most importantly, have a general plan in mind, but be willing to change them if something else strikes you. have fun and enjoy yourself!
     
  19. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    2,403
    Likes Received:
    1

    Mar 19, 2008


    haha, sorry, I wasn't even thinking. By all means, please don't take your old ratty undies on your honeymoon. Ship the souvenirs back! :lol:
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,170

    Mar 19, 2008

    One needs an adapter because electrical receptacles in Europe aren't shaped like American ones - typically, they have two round pins instead of two flat prongs. Adapters are fairly cheap.

    Whether one needs a converter is another matter: the issue is that 110v current is standard in America but 220v current (which is standard in Europe) can fry an appliance in short order. Travel irons and dryers these days can switch between the two: the switch is often near where the power cord enters the appliance. Transformers for digital cameras or laptops may be another matter, however.
     
  21. janlee

    janlee Devotee

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,157
    Likes Received:
    9

    Mar 19, 2008

    Not to put a damper on your trip but bring MONEY!!! My son's girlfriend just returned from Florence this past Saturday. The exchange rate jumped 13 cents in 8 days.
     
  22. brothermouse

    brothermouse Guest

    Mar 19, 2008

    I've lived in Europe and have returned several times.

    Next time I go I will absolutely, positively take a simple GPS. Probably a wristwatch-formfactor one (I have a forerex 201 that fits that bill).

    Being able to backtrack from "breadcrumbs", mark the trainstation, hotel. Upload a list of important waypoints before you go...
     
  23. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,610
    Likes Received:
    52

    Mar 19, 2008

    I think you can get a cell phone plan that will work in Europe. You may want to check that out.
     
  24. DaveF

    DaveF Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 20, 2008

    Get a neck pouch for your passport, money and atm card. It tucks inside of your shirt and it is impossible to pick or leave it behind. I never carry a wallet, nor does my wife carry her purse in Europe.
     
  25. GatorGal

    GatorGal Cohort

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 21, 2008

    Wow! I haven't been on in a few days...thanks for all the replies!!! I'm heading out to the mall today, so now I know exactly what I need to look for. :) (No old undies for me! :lol:)

    Wldywall, I'm shocked by the idea of having to pay to use the restroom and TP?! :down: I will always have change on me!
     
  26. brothermouse

    brothermouse Guest

    Mar 21, 2008

    Agreed completely.

    About 15yrs ago I found one that was made of a very soft goatskin leather. no chafing at all, even in hot climes.
     
  27. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,888
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 22, 2008

    I'm pea green, I'd love to go back to Florence.

    I was so worried about pick-pockets that I bought an around the neck passport holder and wore it under my shirt where it couldn't be seen.

    Have a fanatasic time!!! Take lots of pictures.
     
  28. blueskies

    blueskies Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 24, 2008

    We just got back from a trip to southern Italy this weekend. Don't count on good weather this time of the year. It was snowing when we drove past Rome, so better bring something warm along, too.
     
  29. janlee

    janlee Devotee

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,157
    Likes Received:
    9

    Mar 24, 2008

    My neighbor just returned from 16 days in Italy. Not to put a damper on your vacation but she said that she and her husband would have been better off eating the $1600 they paid for their airfare and not going. Prices are outrageous due to the value of the dollar. I am hoping your vacation is paid in full for everything!
     
  30. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Messages:
    5,882
    Likes Received:
    159

    Mar 24, 2008

    I'm jealous! I've never been to Europe, but I plan to someday. I agree w/ everyone's ideas. Here's what I bring when travelling in general: (as you can see, I'm a very germ cautious person!)

    - Lysol spray to spray hotel doorknobs, etc. for sanitary purposes.
    - Cheap thongs to wear in the hotel shower (don't want to catch athlete's foot or anything else!)
    - my own pillowcase to put over the hotel pillow (after all, that's where you lay your face!)
    - I've even brought my own hand towels to bathe w/
    - clothing that can be layered, a good coat/jacket, few pairs of shoes, & 1-2 fancy outfits, maybe umbrella once you check weather
    - 1 good durable purse w/ a zipper that matches w/ all your clothes
    - hat & sunglasses
    - mk sure your cell phone plan will work there
    - at least 2-3 types of money, so if one thing doesn't work, you have another way to pay

    And yes, it's best to not look like a tourist for security reasons, but if you're snapping away w/ cameras/videocameras, etc., it's easy for others to tell anyways, so don't be too paranoid about it! Have a fabulous time!
     
  31. GatorGal

    GatorGal Cohort

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 26, 2008

    Snowing?! Wow. :2up:
     
  32. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Messages:
    2,518
    Likes Received:
    9

    Mar 27, 2008

    Yes, the "tipping" for using the bathroom and getting TP was just crazy to me! When I went, I had a guide who let us know all the different customs so we wouldn't act in an offensive manner.

    But, those ladies kept those bathrooms very clean! Those coins we gave out were worth it all.
     
  33. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,492
    Likes Received:
    100

    Mar 27, 2008

    One of the restrooms at a London tube station had a turnstyle you had to feed before it let you pass. I didn't go in that restroom, so I have no idea how clean it was. I'm not a huge fan of public restrooms in general unless I know how they are kept up, and sometimes not even then.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. TeacherNY,
  2. Ima Teacher
Total: 415 (members: 2, guests: 394, robots: 19)
test