Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Dozen Travel Tips~New and Revised Version 2

1. Find a hairstyle that is not totally dependent on appliances. I burned up my dryer and had to bury it in Italy and I also burned my hair with my curling iron because even with a transformer/converter it was way too hot. If I had not been with Laura who had a 220 dryer/ styler gadget that I never did master~I would have been totally out of luck! As it was my hair looked pretty scary~ I wished I'd have had that cool shaggy wig then! So just be forewarned. Try to get a 220 dryer before you go or when you arrive.

2. Practice at home using the bathroom with no toilet seat...they don't believe in them apparently. Hmmm, and carry some TP and hand sanitizer. Take heart in knowing it is a step up from China!

3. Make sure your ATM has only a four digit password if you want to be able to get euro out of ATM's in Europe.

4. If you see something you love,and you have budgeted for shopping, buy it. It is very expensive to return another day for it! You may only pass this way once. No non-buyers remorse allowed!

5. Make Rick Steves your new best friend~bring his travel book along with you. You will refer to it often while on your trip. We liked it better than any other travel books and it's easier to read. We also invested in the Rick Steves' Italy Cities and Countryside DVD's and they are great before you go and like watching your wedding video once you get back. So much fun!

6. Buy a pictorial type souvenir book of each important place you go. They are great to have and helpful when journaling your experiences when you get back. In Italy they are between 8 & 10 Euros and worth it.

7. Save money on food by eating local breads, cheeses, fruit and chocolate easily found along the way. Buy or bring bottled water.

Never drink the local water per Laura.

8. Travel light, bring less but coordinate your choices for more options. Carry a purse or bag that crosses over your shoulders and is small. Wear comfortable walking shoes~don't even think about your feet looking good~go orthopedic if you have to but be comfortable. I saw women in stilettos walking on the cobblestone, they looked ridiculous and they did not have happy faces at all. Use a waist pouch/money belt tucked into your pants for your passport, cash & credit cards. Graffiti in one bathroom I was in, "Stealing For Life." Some are "Into It". If you are an American Tourist you cannot blend in no matter how hard you try. They can spot you a mile away. Leave your precious gems at home. I didn't even bring my diamond ring.

Photo-copy all your documents and credit cards with numbers to call from another country. Put one in your suitcase, and give one to your traveling companion to carry in their waist pouch. Carry a second passport photo. Be aware of people around you. Backpacks can be easily gotten into in big crowds. Look like you are familiar with where you are and what you are doing, even if you aren't.

9. Cell phones are a pain and very expensive to use. We brought some great walkie-talkies for connecting when separated.

10. Take lots of pictures and notes about the places you visit and continue to learn and process the experience when you return home.

11. Prepare for the trip by educating yourself in advance.

12. Have an itinerary planned but be flexible. We found that planning more than two sights per day was too much. Think morning and afternoon or evening and then allow flex time in between. Enjoy the adventure.

P.S. Jim has pointed out that the Tom-Tom was invaluable and fun~Don't leave home without one if you plan on driving at all. Trust me on this one!


Laura said...

I love all the tips. Thanks for sharing. I just need to figure out what to do with the five kids while I go on my dream trip to Italy. That may take a while!!!!

Jim said...

Bon-Bon you have forgotten the Tom-Tom, which has become our real and first best travel friend. For a funny and insightful view our adventures in Italy with said Tom-Tom see Jim's blog.