SO a friend’s cousin was heading to Europe on a trip and asked for some packing tips. I wrote the following. Sorry about the “>” things. Thought it might be helpful for some trip some time. :)
> -Pack everything Ziplock bags that could possibly pop open and break. I
> always take a few with me just in case. You don’t know the meaning of pissed
> off until you open your bag on the start of vacation and see all your
> clothes covered with shampoo.
> – Take a Nalgene bottle with you and fill it up at water fountains rather
> than buy water in the cities. It’ll save you money and isn’t hard to toss in
> a backpack for the day.
> – Take traveler’s checks if you can. I tried to do the atm thing over there
> and ended up getting smacked with tons of fees from my bank later. I’d say I
> got at least $100 in hidden fees when I used atms. OR you can go to your
> bank and ask them Euros ahead of time. I try not to travel with a lot of
> cash though so I’d only get maybe 200 bucks or so to start with. I try not
> to do a lot of traveler’s check cashing at the cambios/money exchangers. I
> would just check with my hotels and restaurants to see if they take them.
> Then you’d get cash back as change and were good to go. The cambios are
> really expensive sometime and will charge you a surcharge to cash stuff.
> – Take a printed out copy of your passport, driver’s license, the front and
> back of your credit cards, AAA’s contact # for the traveler’s checks and
> student ID in case anything is stolen. I try to travel with a print out of
> the embassy’s number, my bank’s #, the credit card company, my parent’s work
> number and anyone else I might need in a bind.
> – If you have TMobile or a phone with a SIM card, it might be cheaper for
> you to take that and use a native SIM card while you’re there instead of
> getting a phone card. However, I found phone cards were pretty cheap in
> Greece to call the US. In Africa they weren’t so good and I bought a phone
> when I was there.
> – The Euro has changed everything. It’s really expensive to do even simple
> stuff now in Europe because basic things like food, beer, wine, hotels, etc.
> are so expensive. SO I’d recommend doing some things like: take beef jerky
> and granola bars with you in your bag to save you from buying snacks at the
> touristy spots; take instant oatmeal for breakfast and asking the hotel for
> a cup of hot water which most will do that no problem; go to a local
> grocery store or fruit stand and buy some bread, cheese, fruit and have that
> for lunch instead of paying at a restaurant every day;
> -Don’t forget a Leatherman. That’s my most cherished possession sometimes on
> a trip. If you don’t have one, get one! :)
> – Don’t carry your wallet in your butt pocket. I don’t think you need to do
> a money belt but it’s not a bad idea. There are thieves all over
> the cities of Europe. I even had a very dapper looking man in a suit try to
> pickpocket my bag in Rome and then two little American looking kids tried to
> do it at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. One woman was breastfeeding on a train
>and tried to get into my mom’s bag. So you never know who they are! Be sure
> you don’t leave your valuables in the hotel if you can avoid it.
> – Read this article:
> I contributed to it but it’s got some really good advice whether you’re
> traveling alone or not. ;)
> – Finally: Rick Steve’s Best of Europe is the greatest travel book you will
> ever buy. I know books like Let’s GO and Fodor’s and the like are what
> everyone might tell you to get but TRUST ME you want Rick Steve’s. He’s got
> the best tips in there. We literally would keep that book on us constantly
> when I lived in Italy for 6 months and I took print outs with me of his
> advice and walking tours when I was in Greece recently. You MUST get this
> book. Especially if you’re on a budget!