Category Archives: travel tips

The Ten Easiest Ways to Avoid Extra Expenses When Traveling

1. Do Transportation Research Figure out what will be the most cost-effective way to get from the airport/train station to your destination. Public transportation will probably be cheaper than shuttle buses, and shuttle buses are definitely cheaper than cabs. Copy down clear directions to avoid complications, and factor that cost into your budget.

2. Measure and Weigh Luggage
Following luggage restrictions is the easiest way to save potentially hundreds of dollars. Most flights only allow one bag per person, and there’s usually a weight and size limit. I’ve paid $100 to check a second suitcase and $200 for overweight luggage (extra pounds add up quickly). Check your airline’s preferences before packing.

3. Bring Entertainment & Food
Chocolate, chips and candy all look really appealing during that boring three-hour layover. Impulse buys are easily avoidable by packing snacks and an empty water bottle in your carry on. Do you really need to buy that WiFi package? Bring a magazine or book and enjoy being disconnected for a while.

4. Pack All-Weather Essentials
A warm sweater, small umbrella and a good pair of shoes will prevent purchases of already-owned-but-forgotten items.

5. Skip the Money Exchange
If the exchange rate is already poor, adding an overpriced transaction fee hurts. ATM’s offer wholesale exchange rates and depending on the card company, withdrawal may even be free of charge.

6. Invest in a Credit Card for Travelers
Reward programs and benefits offered by cards crafted for travelers are too awesome to pass up. From miles per dollar to free hotel stays, at the very least dozens of companies waive foreign transaction fees.

7. Disable Data Roaming
Smart phones can keep sucking data even when we think we’re not using any. Disable data roaming to prevent any unwanted charges and download a WiFi finder app to locate nearby hotspots. Knowing what chains always have free Wifi—such as Starbucks, Panera or McDonalds—is another way to stay connected.

8. Making Calls?
For long trips, skip international SIM card companies and get instead a local SIM card upon arrival. Otherwise, take advantage of those free WiFi areas to Skype or FaceTime home.

9. Texting?
Download a texting app such as WhatsApp or TextNow (or use iMessage between Apple products) to send text messages free of charge through WiFi.

10. Need Directions?
Download an offline maps app. It’s cheaper than a paper guide and who wouldn’t rather look like a techie than a tourist?

Tagged , , ,

The Only Travel Apps You’ll Ever Need (and Yes, They’re All Free)

As we all know, there’s an app for pretty much everything but some are exponentially more helpful than others. Don’t clutter your storage space. Instead, load these eight multi-functional and thorough applications and relax knowing you have everything you need.

Weather Underground

Also known as Wunderground, this app has a network of more than 30,000 worldwide neighborhood weather stations to provide the most accurate weather updates possible. View an hourly forecast with the current and “feels like” temperature, wind speed/direction, humidity and precipitation. Weekly previews and sunrise and sunset times are included on the home screen. The map view shows a temperature overview of your current state or country.


 

OANDA Currency Converter

OANDA provides current exchange rates and factors in the typical ATM or Interbank deduction rates, letting you know exactly how much money you’ll end up with.

Toshl – Your Personal Accountant

While not the most advanced budgeting and financing app, Toshl is the best choice for those like myself who aren’t that great with numbers. Track expenses and incomes, create budgets, set bill and loan reminders, and later export these reports into PDF, Excel, Google Docs and/or CSV.

 

 

Fodor’s City Guides – Never Seem like a Tourist Again

Download the city guides and view them without Internet access to avoid data-roaming charges. Having city and metro maps available off-line on your phone means you’ll never have to pull out a paper map again, allowing you to be an undercover tourist. Fodor’s attention to detail and superiority eliminates much of the nonsense found on review websites such as Yelp; they’ve done their research and only recommend restaurants and attractions they consider worthy. Thanks to their partnerships with Expedia, OpenTable, Viator and Seatwave, all reservations can be made from the app.

Google Earth

A great alternative to Fodor’s app, if a city guide isn’t available for the city you’re traveling to. Unlike Fodor’s map, Google Earth has 3D imagery, terrain and buildings that can be viewed from practically any angle. Metro stops are indicated on the map, as are little Wikipedia links that hover over important landmarks.

GateGuru – Your Flight Manager

GateGuru covers over 204 airports across the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. The home screen lists your current and future journeys. Click on one of these, and see your continuously updated itinerary, listing security wait times, flight delays, gate changes or layover time changes. Clicking on an airport code shows airport maps, tips and amenities, which can be filtered by terminal and advises which amenities are pre- or post-security. GateGuru’s partnership with Avis provides car rental discounts up to 35%, and all reservations can be done from the app.

  

 

Repair Pal – A Roadtrip Necessity

With the Repair Pal app, you only pay when you actually need help, instead of forking out an annual roadside assistance membership fee. For repairs, they provide the average price for your current region and car type, help locate a reputable local mechanic, and track all your maintenance. At the moment it covers US locations and models.

 

Kayak – Your Personal Assistant

Before you step out the door, double check your packing lists stored on the app, and browse through their suggestions as well. Forward all booking receipts for hotels, car rentals, flights, trains or whatever to trips@kayak.com, and the app will automatically organize and store this information. They have airline contact numbers, websites and baggage costs, but I would switch to the GateGuru app if you’re looking for specific flight information.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Inexpensive & Trendy: Where to go for a Drink as a 20-something in Paris

After almost two years, the construction crew around Place de la Republique finally packed their trucks and revealed the new look of the 700-year-old square. At 280 meters long and 120 meters wide, it boasts being one of the biggest, most alluring and versatile plazas in Paris, covering five metro lines and joining the 3rd, 10th and 11th arrondissements. 

During the summer, the 3rd arrondissement hosted their free annual rock festival here, but even during the average weekend it’s not hard to find a guitarist or a small group showing off their dancing skills. Due to its convenient location, Place de la Republique acts as a home base for the bobo’s (french slang for bourgeois bohême) of the surrounding neighborhoods, whether they stop by to wait for friends or to start their evening cross-legged with a flask on the concrete slabs. Other frequenters of the square include teenage boys attempting to out-trick one another on skateboards, girls in oversized jean jackets awkwardly smoking cigarettes, tourists with unfolded metro maps, impatient traffic, bicyclists clanging their bells and corporate Parisians rotating through the plaza’s glass-encased café for an apero or quick coffee.

A five-minute walk from Place de la Republique is the Canal Saint Martin, a lovely man-made canal lined with boutiques, bars and restaurants, famously known for its appearance in Jeunet’s film Le Fabuleux destin d’Amelie Pulain. The canal stretches more than four kilometers, making it a popular daytime stroll for parents with strollers or dogs prancing alongside their owners. On the canal’s edge, artists hunch over journals, drunks gather for a mid-day drink and the occasional duck braves a dip in the dirty water. The real excitement comes after dark on the concrete border and iron footbridges. As public drinking is legal in France, night picnics (full of cheese, wine, fresh bread, greasy saucisson and whatever the seasonal fruit) are a favorite amongst trendy twenty-somethings who either enjoy spending the night under the chestnuts with cheap alcohol, or are simply too hip to be caught inside a bar.

Cross over the canal and head south towards metro stop Parmentier to find rue de Jean Pierre Timbaud. A lesser-talked about street than the overflowing rue Oberkampf, JP Timbaud has a low-priced dive bar practically every other shop.

  • Au Petit Garage – Be careful not to confuse it for the actual mechanic shop a few doors down. The primary sign is blackened and smudged, making it easy to overlook, and the second window reads BOUCHERIE, a token from the previous owners. The walls, crumbling in certain places, painted chipped and worn, have often-explicit graffiti covering every available spot. The furniture consists of wobbly, nicked schools desks and chairs from several decades ago. The setting isn’t forced; the place has actually earned its raggedness. The clientele is an interesting mix of bearded bikers and hip Parisians, both crowding outside the floor-length windows opening to the street for a cigarette. Happy hour deals: 2€ for wine, 3€ for a beer or 5€ for a mixed drink. Sunday brings an extra bonus of happy hour all day long.
  • Orange Mecanique – Painted an electric orange, this retro bar may pay homage in name and style to Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, but the vibes are the complete opposite of Alex’s eerie, violent world. Reminiscent of a 1960’s dorm party, funk, soul and disco stream from the speakers, silent movies project onto the walls, and album covers and psychedelic posters plaster the walls. The bar is so small that it’s impossible not to join in conversation with everyone else. Wine is 1.5€ a glass and beer 2.5€ a pint, but even outside of happy hour beer is pretty unbeatable at 4€ a pint. A large beer selection is available at higher prices, as are inventive cocktails (notably the Clockwork Orange), which start at 7€.
  • La Droguerie Moderne – Its whimsical lettering and glass façade makes this bar instantly intriguing. Inside, upcycled street-side throw-aways, such as a severed bathtub and fallen street signs, serve as tables and chairs. The crowd is a little classier here; think expensive fashion that gives the impression of being a thrift store bin find. Only 3€ for a beer (5€ outside of happy hour), and they make a mean mojito for 7€ that is definitely worth the splurge.
  • Au Chat Noir – Better for a week-night release than bar hopping on the weekend, Au Chat Noirwelcomes a steady flow of performers to its basement, a small cement cave with no windows, dim lighting, a piano and a random assortment of chairs and benches. Comfort and appearance may be understated, but the artistic quality is solid. While Au Chat Noir hosts concerts or expos every weeknight, the most famous is Spoken Word Paris, a poetry-centered open mic held at 8pm every Monday. Expats of all ages and countries come to express themselves, primarily in English but with cultural or instrumental touches as well. If great art isn’t intriguing enough, at least come and have a 2€ glass of wine with some locals on the terrace.

Café Cheri – Cross over the Boulevard de la Vilette to Belleville, the up-and-coming neighborhood in Paris for artists and bohemians. During the day, Café Cheri looks rather unimpressive: a relatively simple storefront, dark interior and garish red tables and chairs to match the paint. Café-dwellers gather for people watching, newspaper shuffling or smoking a cigarette. At night, step into a flashback from a college frat party: sticky floors, poor lighting and a LOUD sound system rocking electro, rock, hip-hop, punk from underground bands. Happy hour = 3.5€ a pint.

Bar Culture Rapide – A little deeper into Belleville, Bar Culture Rapide is a retro, hippie-style café and bar. Outside, thirsty locals sit on spray-paint streaked chairs in front of a stone wall littered with graffiti, watching the daily progression of Belleville’s colorful inhabitants. Inside, find slams, jams, readings and performances on a small stage surrounded by flashy paintings and a surplus of liberal-focused bumper stickers. All their prices are reasonable, but the best deal is the 5€ cocktails.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coping with the Unexpected While Traveling

A month ago I took an overnight bus to a small southeastern German city where I spent a lovely weekend eating schnitzel, drinking beer and enjoying the loveliness of a low-cost vacation visiting an old friend. On my last day it rained periodically, a seemingly innocent spring shower. I didn’t know that the city posted a flood alert, and by the time I realized roads had already been blocked off and the chaos of rerouted traffic ensued.

I booked my carpool to Frankfurt with enough spare time to account for some delay, but when it took an hour to drive the seven miles out of the city I figured karma wasn’t on my side. The guy driving attempted to make up for lost time by speeding (I closed my eyes around 220 kilometers per hour, a speed I don’t recommend under any circumstances), but more traffic prevented that from continuing. At 10:30pm, 45 minutes after my bus to Paris was scheduled to leave, we finally made it to downtown Frankfurt.

I often travel alone, but arriving in an unfamiliar city at night without a place to stay, heavy with the guilt of a wasted bus ticket and the ache of an empty stomach, made me desolate and frustrated. For about five minutes I resisted the urge to curl up in a corner and cry until my mom came to cuddle me. The trains and buses had stopped for the night, I couldn’t find any WiFi to research cheap hostels and I didn’t feel like paying for a hotel. Feeling incredibly lonely, stressed and angry that I would be late to work the next morning, I sulked down the street until I came across signs pointing me towards the Frankfurt Hostel. Despite my crabbiness and mild hostility, the hostel was a pleasant surprise (it has an energetic common room with a well-stocked bar, clean and spacious rooms, reasonable prices and a healthy, varied free continental breakfast).

Since the WiFi didn’t reach to my room, I sat in the common room to Skype my friend. I tend not to show negative emotions publicly, so when I felt the urge to cry I resisted. But after several minutes I let go of my ego and allowed myself to be vulnerable. My friend reminded me of how my situation could be exponentially more horrible (a week or so early he got stranded overnight on a platform after missing the last train in a small city with no hotels) and having someone to talk to deconstructed my anxiety over being alone.

What to Remember When Travel Plans Go Awry

  • The most basic preventative measure is to keep your documents organized. Tickets, reservations, maps, your passport, cash and a foreign-friendly credit card should all be tucked away in a convenient location.
  • Find a private place to re-center and release the initial wave of panic. The confined area of bathroom stalls, for example, provide space and time to perform deep breathing exercises and gain composure.
  • Maintain perspective. Anxiety is an over-exaggerated neurological reaction to a situation that is not nearly as threatening as you perceive. If you travel alone, remember that does not mean you are alone. If you really need help,  pedestrians, store clerks or even emergency staff can lend a hand. Unless your life is actually in danger, any problem can be solved with time and patience (and maybe money).
  • When deciding how to rectify the situation, understand your limits and admit what will make you uncomfortable. I had considered hitchhiking home from Frankfurt to save money, but thankfully got over my frugalness and reminded myself of the danger of hitchhiking alone at night.
  • Balance your stress with a sufficient amount of sleep and a reasonably healthy diet. I’m continually amazed how much enough sleep and fruit can change my mood from pessimistic to positively determined.
Tagged , , , , , ,

My Cypriot Road Trip

After passing a sticky morning ducking into air-conditioned souvenir shops and drinking iced coffee in the shade of a crowded terrace, my friend Robyn and I decided to escape Cyprus’ landlocked capital city Nicosia and head towards the Mediterranean. We rented a car without a GPS, hoping our generic map would get us to our destination. Lucky for us, Cyprus is about the same size as New Jersey; if we got lost we’d reach water sooner or later and could follow the coast home.

Within two hours we made it to Pissouri’s beaches, arriving just as visitors and the relentless heat dispersed with the sinking sun. My toes brushed the shell-less sea floor of Aphrodite’s rumored birthplace, and somehow the water felt purer than any I had touched before, more fluid and buoyant as if it were just as alive as the small fish that came to nibble my ankles. Our hair heavy with salt and sand still stuck to our feet, we continued on to Paphos for a satisfying seafood meze (and to feed every stray cat I came across), before returning home to sleep the deep sleep that comes only after the exhaustion of a hot summer’s day.

The next day we finished our expedition in theoccupied Turkish territory of the north, climbing the cliffs of Cape Apostolos Andreas and relaxing at an adorable restaurant attached to an old couple’s house. We ate fresh olives and tender meats, the Mediterranean blue and soft on the rocks beside us, as our chef snuck a cigarette out the back window, pressing a finger to his lips so that we didn’t reveal his digression to his wife.

Essentially, the quaintness of Cyprus allows for the perfect road trip: the inability to get really lost, cheap fuel, easily rentable cars and plenty to see in any direction. Apart from the mythical island, poor road trip planning can lead to emergency hotel stops, extra fuel, unplanned for meals and other costly expenses.

General Road Trip Tips:

  • Preparing the car: have car insurance information on hand, subscribe to a roadside service and get your car inspected before leaving. Invest in common emergency supplies such as jumper cables, a flashlight, first aid kit and flares, as well as any weather or terrain-specific supplies.
  • Planning ahead: figure out where you’d like to visit and make lodging reservations before leaving home. Many places fill up quickly and by reserving early you can look around for the best deals.
  • Mapping your route: don’t think of your road trip as a game of connect-the-dots; while highways may be thefastest and most direct route to move between cities, they also can be the most boring. Research scenic byways and scenic country roads and incorporate them into your route as well.
  • Leave room for spontaneity: chances are, you probably need more time visiting or getting to each place than you think you do. Make sure your agenda has some padding to give you time to explore roadside attractions, national parks or whatever other gems you come across.
  • Don’t rely on your GPS: buy a good map (one that actually has the road names marked), and travel the good ol’ fashioned way. Sure, you may get lost sometimes, but that’s part of the fun!
  • Home-ify your car: bring music, audio books, a journal, a blanket or two, a few small pillows, handwipes, toilet paper, plastic grocery bags, water bottles, healthy snacks and anything else that will make your trip comfortable.
  • Get better gas mileage: keep tires full, the trunk as light as possible, turn on cruise control, roll up your windows after 40mph and change the oil when necessary.
  • Watch out for animals: in Cyprus, I came close to three wild goats. One time in Maine, I braked inches before a moose that could’ve easily destroyed me and my two-door Honda. In Montana I almost got plowed by a herd of wild buffalo. Be on the lookout and be ready to stop or swerve to the left.
  • Stay alert: driving for hours on end, especially during the night, can get dangerous. Always have someone awake with the driver.
  • Stay safe: while your license plate shows to everyone that you’re not a local, don’t let the inside of your car demonstrate it as well. When leaving the car for any amount of time hide any items (such as pillows or GPS’s) that prove you’re a traveler to prevent someone from breaking in to steal your luggage.

 

Have your own road trip tips or experiences?

Post them below!

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Most Inexpensive Ways to Get Where You’re Going

Hitchhiking – the most inexpensive of all, considering it’s free. Read further here.

Carpooling – Though still hitchhiking in the sense that you’re sharing a car with strangers, carpooling websites provideefficiency as well as safety. Each driver posts her voyage along with the price she charges per seat. The prices often fall below 20€, and some websites are expressly for free trips. Basic information, a photograph, comments and ratings can be viewed for each driver. Though payment is submitted electronically when reserving the seats, the driver will not receive compensation until you provide them with your reservation code. This ensures that you will not be charged unless your voyage is completed.

Cheap buses – Don’t think because the tickets usually cost less than 40€ that you’ll be riding in a school bus; these buses offer free Wifi, electrical sockets, bathrooms and comfortable, reclining seats. Most have wide availability, though the trips do fill up quickly. Best to schedule a few weeks to a month in advance.

Cheap airlines – The hours may not always be the most convenient, and sometimes the layovers may be a bit long, butwho can resist a 10€ plane ticket? For those with more flexible schedules, you can browse the prices over the course of a month to ensure getting a price that low. Otherwise, the majority fall around 40€, and few exceed 100€.

Student discounts – no matter what travel method you choose there’s a good possibility that some kind of student discount (or other specialty discount, such as military) is available. The best way to save money in any situation is to do thorough research to ensure you’ve explored all options.

Have your own methods of traveling cheaply? Post them in the comments below!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Hitchhiking through the Netherlands

Having never hitchhiked before, my friend Fabienne and I admittedly assumed the process would be a bit quicker and easier than it turned out to be: the hundred-mile journey from Amsterdam to Brussels took us eight hours and seven cars. We met a lot of interesting and kind individuals, including a Polish couple who allowed me to practice the few polish phrases I know, a Turkish man who tried to convince us at least a dozen times to stop hitchhiking and let him take us to the train station (“A train ticket only costs 50€!”), and an extremely chill and hilarious Spanish guy who bought us a drink before dropping us off at our final destination. While I’m not sure if I have the energy to go hitchhiking again any time soon, it was a great experience and I recommend others to try it at least once. Below are some of the tips I wish I had known or considered before departing on our adventure.

Plan ahead: The extreme unpredictability of hitchhiking makes it difficult to have a concrete backup plan (what will happen if a ride is unavailable? Is it possible to walk to the nearest city? If necessary, can you afford to stay in a hotel?), so before starting we decided that we wouldn’t stop traveling until we reached Brussels. Since hitchhiking at night can be dangerous, we always got dropped off and found new rides at 24-hour gas stations, giving us a warm, dry place to stay, with access to food and the safety of company.

Strategize: Starting at highway entrances guarantee cars are going in the direction you need. Get situated some place that you can be seen easily and early on, and where the driver can safely pull over. If you’ve waited for a long time without any success, perhaps go with the next available car, even if it is in the wrong direction, in order to change location. Similarly, if a car can only bring you a small distance or partially in the right direction, decide if your current location is worth leaving before accepting the ride. We found the most success with approaching people at gas stations. We had waited half an hour or so on the road without any luck, but everyone we asked who headed in the same direction allowed us to travel with them.

Staying safe:

  1. Trust your instincts, and never feel bad about turning down a ride. I turned down three rides: one because the man was visibly drunk, another because the guy wanted monetary compensation, and a third because he originally said he was going in the wrong direction, drove away, and within five minutes showed back up at the gas station to tell us he could take us (weird, right?)
  2. If you’ve already accepted a ride and later begin to feel uncomfortable, tell the driver you’d like to be dropped off, even if it’s at a location sooner than the one you requested.
  3. In the extreme case of needing to evacuate the vehicle, keeping items (your passport, money) in your pockets in case you need to leave your backpack behind. Sit in the passenger seat, since the doors in the back may have child locks enabled.
  4. Gas stations are safer than highway service and rest stations in that they are well lit, always have staff on duty and have plenty camera surveillance.

For more information: http://www.hitchhikers.org/

Have your own hitchhiking tips/experiences? Post them in the comments below!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Preparing for a semester (or longer!) abroad

Congratulations! You’re about to embark upon one of the most eye-opening and rewarding experiences of your life. You should be proud of yourself—it takes a certain kind of courage to leave everything you know to live in an unfamiliar place. Not to mention all the time you probably spent filling out applications and paperwork, saving enough money, searching for the cheapest airfare…to put it simply, when leaving the country for several months or more, excitement can easily be muted by a seemingly never-ending to do list. Hopefully this article will help you collect your thoughts so you can relax and enjoy your adventures.

 

LANGUAGE PRACTICE

If you’re not already familiar with the language of your destination, start memorizing some basic phrases or carry a bilingual dictionary. Remember: you are a visitor. Don’t assume that anyone can speak your native language.

 

PASSPORTS & VISAS

Admittedly, I am habitually unprepared and running late, so I can sympathize with any procrastinators or unorganized readers. However, I can’t stress enough the importance of timeliness when it comes to passports and visas. Apply for both as early as possible. Visa types and requirements differ per country. In some cases, you may have to complete a follow-up visit upon your arrival. Research your visa’s stipulations and restrictions to avoid an impromptu trip home. More helpful info: USA passport site

 

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

Make one last trip to the dentist, eye doctor and your general practitioner. If you wear contacts, purchase enough lenses and solution to last through the trip. If you need to bring medication abroad, talk with your doctor about writing a prescription with enough refills. Get any necessary vaccinations at least a month before leaving in case of possible negative reactions and side effects.

 

HEALTH INSURANCE & MEDICATIONS

Contact your insurance company to let them know when you will leave, and ask them how you can receive a “vacation override” to  purchase several month’s worth of medication at once. Verify that your policy covers expenses and emergencies abroad. If it doesn’t, many travel health insurance companies can provide you with coverage. When choosing read the fine print to ensure that emergency medical care and transport is covered.

 

Forex Money for Exchange in Currency Bank

MONEY

Before applying for an international-friendly credit card, do some research. Companies may charge foreign currency conversion fees or international transaction fees. This article has great tips on cards with the lowest charges and best rewards. Call whichever credit card company you choose, as well as your bank, to let them know you’ll be out of the country. Otherwise they will freeze your account when they see foreign charges. Since European venues may not accept foreign credit cards, I suggest exchanging some money at the airport before leaving.

 

CELLPHONES AND COMMUNICATION

Keeping your old plan can lead to outrageous charges, and sorting through fraudulent international SIM card websites can get tricky, so be careful if you choose either of those two options. For a semester abroad, I recommend buying a pay-as-you-go phone: it’s neither expensive nor complicated. For longer stays, buying a SIM card and phone plan will probably be cheapest. You can possibly keep your current cell phone and just swap out SIM cards. Learn everything you need to know about unlocking iPhones here.  The good news? Staying in touch with home is free, providing you have Internet access. Video chat and texting applications, such as Skype and TextNow, are free to join and use.

 

TYING LOOSE ENDS

Some things to think about:

  • contact your car insurance to let them know you’ll be gone
  • terminate all unnecessary services (cable, internet, cell phone etc.)
  • sign up to receive all bills through email
  • prepare an absentee ballot, if applicable
  • leave copies of all important documents with a friend or family member
  • ask someone to check on your house/mail/plants/animals
  • have your mail forwarded to a new address

 

SUITCASES

A good, light suitcase goes a long way. Literally. (One time I got stuck pulling a 70lb. suitcase with a broken wheel around Europe—never again). Always weigh your luggage to see if it meets baggage requirements and check if you can actually pull it. Where wardrobe is concerned, pack half of what you want to. And maybe even cut that pile in half again.

Other useful items to pack:

  • travel power adapter
  • over-the-counter medications
  • flip-flops (for showering)
  • extra copies of all important paperwork and passport photos
  • student ID card (students and young adults between the ages of 18-26 receive discounts on almost everything in Europe)
  • a few photos of family & friends
  • something small yet comforting that reminds you of home
    Suitcase

 

WHAT NOT TO BRING

  • all unnecessary credit cards
  • social security card
  • anything you would hate to lose
  • “what if” items (excess books, unnecessary gadgets, anything that can only be used in specific occasions)
  • toiletries (unless they’re in travel-sized containers)

 

HAVE A PLAN

While the thought of buying a plane ticket on a whim and flying to a random city sounds awfully romantic, traveling impulsively or without some sort of plan can waste time and cost hundreds of dollars (unless you have unlimited time and money, in which case please contact me so we can travel together). Have a plan for when you get to the airport. Will someone pick you up, will you take public transportation, or will you need to call a taxi? Have a bus or metro map with you, as well as a phone number for a taxi service or whoever will be waiting for you.

 

Further reading: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/tips_1232.html

Tagged , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: