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MONEY MONEY, TRIPS AND OTHER GENERAL QUESTIONS

8 Oct 2007 acermanau said

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I guess my post will get some response, and I have read some responses on other forums around the place on this site.

Here are some general questions, call them fears I have about an up and coming trip:

I am doing three Contiki trips in one, namely

America: LA to Vegas late december to christmas
America: New York New Years obvious
Europe: Winter Wanderer january
Asia: thru Feb (with another travel co)


I am not a fan of jeans, and my friend said it is better to take travel pants instead. I have purchased two pairs of travel pants to wear Will this be enough? What are peoples thoughts on wearing jeans on Contiki, particularly through Europe and its winter months?

I have had many confliciting stories about money, debit cards, credit cards etc. I have the facility to take credit cards from Westpac (namely Amex and Mastercard) and Visa from my local bank. Which of these is a better option, or are travellers cheques a better way to go. My preferred option would be to top up my Amex, is this safe, or is Mastercard more accepted in the world?

My tours have been planned with some time, but not much time, in between flying. What happens if a flight is delayed and you might miss the start of your tour? I hope this does not happen, but thought I would ask the question?

I plan on taking one pair of shoes, namely a massage type shoe called MBT which I have found to very comfortable, and one pair of Teva sandles. Will this be enough for the whole trip do you think? My friend suggested water proofing the shoes, which product will do this the best?

how do people go for internet access, particularly in hotels and other places? I like to check my email once every so often, and was wondering where the best place to do this in the world? Is it hotel rooms, or backpacker places, or where is it the cheapest and safest?

I have a mobile service with Vodafone in Australia. My friend told me of an issue where he tried to setup call roaming and went to Ireland with Vodafone, when half of the time it would not work? Should I take my own phone and turn on roaming, buy a new sim card, or buy a new phone in the country. The main purpose I guess will be to sms people back home, or in case of an emergency? What are peoples thoughts?

When people drink in bars, is there a problem with the beer and water coming out of taps eg for say coke post mix, or is it safer to buy from a bottle?

Did anyone ever have any scary stories of being drunk at night, in a place they didnt know, and found it very difficult to get back to their home base?

Is it better to share a room on Contiki tours, or is it better to stay alone? I have opted to have my own room in most cases. I know I am a bad snorer, anyone had any good or bad experiences with this?

How often do you get to actually clean your clothes and other possessions, and where are the best places to do this?

Well I am sure I have said enough questions, and I guess these apply to most trips, but thought I would ask away.

I await responses Smiler

acermanau aka Mat
  • 9 Oct 2007 Tal said

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    If you look in some of the other posts on this discussion board, i think you’ll find the answers to pretty much all of your questions

    It might be helpful to use the ‘find’ button at the top of the screen and use a key word to find what you are looking for

  • 15 Oct 2007 PinaI said

    PinaI

    Pants – Most people do wear jeans but obviously you don’t have to. I think jeans are great because they are really hardy, you could wear them for a couple of weeks before washing them! As long as the pants you are taking are comfy then go with that. No one is even going to give you a second glance. If they’re pants that dry quickly then bonus, because on most trips the most you’ll have is two nights to get things clean!

    With regards to the weather well, yes, it will be cold! Take a pair of thermal bottoms (and some thermal tops) with you too, if it’s really cold one morning you can just put them underneath.

    Travellers cheques are a waste of time. Don’t bother. Credit is definitely the way forward and mastercard and visa are probably a bit easier than AMEX. You can even withdraw money from your normal cheque or savings account at some ATM’s. I would take both your cards – trust me, you won’t need anything else (just don’t lose them)!

    If you think you might miss the start of a tour then, first things first, get in touch with Contiki and let them know which tour it is and what’s going on so that they can inform your tour manager. It will be your responsibility to get to the next stop on the tour though – Contiki should also be able to tell you which hotel they’re all at so you can meet them there.

    You should consider taking a pair of closed shoes as there could be rain/snow (not sure if these MBT’s are closed)! Sandals are good for bus days when you dont do a lot of walking and your feet can breathe! A pair of ‘night time’ shoes might be worth taking too, in case you have a nice dinner out.


    Internet is easily accessible everywhere. If not in your hotel for free (or a small fee) there’s always an internet cafe close by and your TM will generally point them out for you along the way.

    If you enable roaming you shouldn’t have any issues with smsing back home. Call vodafone and get them to set you up, they’re generally good with this kind of stuff. My advice is to NOT make any calls from your mob though, you get slugged a sh Also, if people call you they pay for the call and you pay for the call so don’t answer (unless it’s an emergency)!

    Drinking in bars is not an issue. You can drink what they serve. Be smart, don’t get drunk and lost. You’re only on holiday a short time, I dont really see the need to be plastered to the point of oblivion and danger. Have a few drinks yeah but keep your wits about you at ALL times. Don’t rely on anyone but yourself.

    Sharing – ohhh so many stories on this one. Personal choice really.

    2 night stops are best for cleaning clothes (because they have more time to dry). Most hotels in America will have a laundry you can use, in Europe it’s your hotel sink or a paid laundry service in the hotel (which you need to pay for).

  • 27 Nov 2007 acermanau said

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    thanks for the general advice, very savvy and interesting on your viewpoints.
    thanks for taking the time to respond.

    regards
    Mat

  • 27 Nov 2007 MJ said

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    Reguarding the AMEX card most places don’t take them in the USA because the stores are charged a high fee. You can take it to withdrawl money from atms as a back up but you can’t use it in europe either from my understanding. I’d stick with a visa or mastercard.. Don’t bother with travelers checks though you could take a couple with you as a back up for emergencies and just keep them in your bag.

    As far as shoes you probably need 2 one for everyday and another dressier pair for going out. Perhapse a pair on flipflops for at the hotel ect…

    Water from the tap depends on what country it is coming out of. Rember ice is also tap water I know it sounds silly but so many people forget that.

    The way I veiw of having your own room is by cost. Would you rather have the extra money and put up with a room mate or would you rather have your own room and a little less cash??

    As far as cleaning your clothes get some that you know you can wash in the room yourself. Just in case. Also try to take advantage of the hotel cleaners its a little more costly but it beats waisting time at a laundrymat and you might not be able to find one since most of the hotels are out of the way.

    If you look in the new contikipedia it gives you tons of info on these exact questions.

    Have fun.

    Oh and a bottle of febreeze does wonders for day old clothes.

  • 27 Nov 2007 Vee said

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    Just my little chip in

    Cards – Mastercard will never give you issues and you can draw out of an ATM if you know it’s pin.

    Pants – it depends on you – I’ve heard stories of Jeans not being good for the cold but I find them ok as long as it doesn’t rain.

    Internet – Cafes will always be cheaper. London = £1 for 1 hour so Europe will be about 1 or 2 Euros for 1 hour.

    If you miss you departure in London you can get the EuroStar to Paris and a train from there to whatever country and trust me you won’t miss a thing the trains are SUPER FAST compared to the bus!

    Cellphone – don’t use it – buy a calling card that you can dial to a freecall number. Most internet cafes have chat services too, charge up your skype account…

    Sharing – personally I reckon you’re gonna be away for a long time share on the short trips don’t on the long ones

    drinking – it’s all fine, don’t leave your drink unattended as normal and water is better from a bottle – a little bit of ice won’t hurt you at all.

  • 27 Nov 2007 jess******* said

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    Some advice from my experiences!!

    Pants – Just take the clothes you wear at home… I personally like jeans so I wore jeans, no need to buy special clothes…

    Money – don’t bother with travellers checks, the people on my tour that had them wasted time looking for places to cash them in. I just had my credit and atm cards.

    Missing start of tour – a girl on our tour missed the start, she just had to find her own way to Paris to meet us. Obviously would be a inconvience and a bit expensive but if it happens you can just catch your tour up…

    Shoes – i found it good to have dreassier shoes as well for when you go out at night…

    Mobile – i have prepaid Vodafone and it didnt work in alot of places, it didnt really bother me cos i wasnt that fussed with contacting home all that regularly. From memory it worked in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands

    Drinks – in Europe i dont really think you have to worry about buying from bottles except water in some places…

    Being drunk – lots of stories haha, two boys on my tour didnt even make it home one night and missed the bus the next morning!! Best to stick with others in your group so you are not alone in a strange place!

    Sharing rooms – i say share but its a personal decision…

  • 28 Nov 2007 acermanau said

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    anyone had any bad experiences with sharing with someone they didnt like?

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