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What do you wish you'd known?

18 Jul 2007 ashleightara asked

ashleightara
I'm curious to know what ppl wish they'd known before they went on their trips, and only discovered afterwards...

For example,
Did you miss something in a town you wish you'd known about?
Did you pack something, and never used it?
Did you NEED something you didn't pack and had to go in search of it?

In particular, looking for different advice to what is already available on the board...share you experience so others can learn from you 'mistake'.

Thanks Smiler
  • 19 Mar 2011 Earl Squirrelson said

    Earl Squirrelson

    Love this thread, has made my life way easier!!! Thanks all…

  • 19 Mar 2011 Jennieva30 said

    Jennieva30

    How did you guys manager to stay under weight for the suitcase? 44lbs seems like nothing for a 24 day trip ;/ im going to have to pack weeks in advance LOL i tend to overpack :)

  • 19 Mar 2011 Jennieva30 said

    Jennieva30

    How did you guys manager to stay under weight for the suitcase? 44lbs seems like nothing for a 24 day trip ;/ im going to have to pack weeks in advance LOL i tend to overpack :)

  • 19 Mar 2011 JerryLangers said

    JerryLangers

    Jennieva30, You will be amazed how easy it was to stay under the weight limit. I was alittle concerned at first also but i guess it depends on when you go also, I did the 29 day Euro Contrasts during peek summer so the clothes I took were generally light material. I took 2 pairs of Jeans, 4 pairs of shorts, 1pair of boardies, 4 t-shirts,2singlets (bought more while over there), 2dress shirts, 1 pair of slacks, a heap of socks and boxers, normal toiletries, 1 walking shoes, 1 dressy shoes and thongs and was around 15kg mark.

  • 19 Mar 2011 Jennieva30 said

    Jennieva30

    Jerry, Im going on the European Inspiration trip in October so it wont be winter but i know that fall nights can get chilly. I think that when you hear the number 44lbs sounds like nothing but i think you’re right thanks for the advice :)

  • 23 Mar 2011 CaitCam2011 said

    CaitCam2011

    Great Information, I’d love to know more! I’m going on European Experience May 2011
    Hopefully someone might be able to answer some of the questions I have.

    1. Is there anyways to find out the locations of the contiki villages in Paris, Florence, Rome, Venice etc? How far out of the city will we be?
    2. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the group dinner optionals, what about Jungafru Mountain, White water rafting, the bavarian beer hall, vatican city guide etc??
    3. If you opt out of a group dinner/ show or disco in paris or florence are you “stuck” at the contiki villages (guess the goes back to the locations) or can you take the bus as well (or other available transit) to have a night out on your own?

    Thanks sooo much

  • 23 Mar 2011 JerryLangers said

    JerryLangers

    Hey Cait & Jord,
    I’m sure someone would be kind enough to post the locations of the Contiki Villages for you, but they are kind of a little bit outside the city at each location. Each has a pretty cool Bar that most people partied at during my tour. We had a Ball at the Rome Village Bar, Venice was crazy, Paris is abit out but you do have the option to party in the city after your nights out so you just get a taxi back to the campsite. Florence is practically partying out both nights as both optionals are pub/clubs so thats all good.

    Well on my Euro Contrast tour I did most optionals and had no complaints about them. Jungafru Mountain was cold but still a pretty cool experience to check it out. Didn’t have the White Water Rafting optional, The Beer Hall was tops!, Vatican City was ok, but I can atleast say I’ve seen it. We had an Optional Dinner in Vienna that even our tour guide didn’t think much of it but after we did it, she said it was the best and craziest night she had seen from that optional. I would suggest to do most optionals as its nice to experience the cultures on your travels because you always have time to head out after the optionals. But also it is important to do what interests you.

    Your never “Stuck” at the villages as it is still your holiday and they are “optionals”. You can head out on the bus with the group and while the others do the optionals at night you head out but you must of course find your way back to the Locations of where you are staying.

    Hope this helps

    Jerry

  • 24 Mar 2011 caiti_b said

    caiti_b

    I’m really curious about what people have to say about taking (or not taking) a DSLR camera. I’m thinking of doing the European Encounter in November, and I drag my Canon 400D around with me everywhere at home, but last time I took it on holiday it just became kind of a pain (literally and figuratively!) to have on my shoulder all the time. Any experiences? Should I bring it along or just bring a cheapie point & shoot?

  • 24 Mar 2011 cdm115 said

    cdm115

    I brought both on my last tour. I got some great photos with my DSLR and although it was occasionally a pain, I was glad I had it. I do have a lower end (though not really a cheap) point and shoot that I used on a couple occasions.

  • 24 Mar 2011 Jennieva30 said

    Jennieva30

    im planning on taking both my DSLR for the day shots and seeing the sights and using my point and shoot for things like going out at night :)

  • 25 Mar 2011 NicsAdventure said

    NicsAdventure

    I have my sony ericsson Cybershot camera for pictures. Its super slim so can easily go in my pocket!
    Have to rememeber the charger though!! I plan on taking my Kindle Ebook, Nintendo DS and Ipod Touch for the plane and bus!
    I am taking a travel journal to write in hopefully every day.. If I am hungover! haha!
    I am just curious about how much money I will need to take? I am doing the 29 day European Contrasts tour on July 10th 2011 but have a week and a bit in London before hand and 4 days after the tour. Does anyone have any suggestions about how much I will need?! Haha!
    Thanks all!!

  • 25 Mar 2011 JerryLangers said

    JerryLangers

    Hey Nic,
    I did European Contrasts Last year on the July 23rd tour… The weather was soooo good!! you will have a blast, it’s such a kick ass tour! I worked on having a budget of $100 Euro a day through out the tour and I think i pretty much kept to that for the whole tour..

    Anything above that budget I guess is seen as a bonus and would let you do all optionals aswell as have a kick ass night life also while on tour!! I had a look and saw you only spend a night in venice in exchange for a night in Austria. We had 2 nights in Venice which will be remembered really as a “Blackhole” as not alot can be remembered lol. but we didnt have a extra night in austria so bonus for you!!

    Corfu was sooo amazing!! You will have an awesome time… if you have any questions about the tour, do no hesitate to ask as i will gladly answer your questions :-)

    cheers,

  • 25 Mar 2011 Explorer1120250_ Nat said

    Explorer1120250_ Nat

    beck0892:
    it sure would be awsome to meet someone before going on your trip in advance
    im looking into doing the european adventurer or the ultimute eroupe not sure just yet when in 2012

  • 30 Mar 2011 EmmaEmily said

    Default_avatar

    I’m hoping to do the European Discovery (Winter) tour over dec ‘11-jan ’12.
    This thread has been AMAZING for suggestions on must take items.
    my few questions are:
    what sort of degrees does the weather range between this time of year (pref in celcius as i dnt understand farenhiet-sp?) ??? obviously coming from australia it’ll be NOTHING like our winter..(though i do live in tassie)..I don’t tend to feel the cold here (i can get away with a tshirt in 15 degrees C if the wind isn’t blowing on me)…

    also, on the ‘inbetween’ days when you travel between destinations on the bus how much ‘free time’ is there at stops? like just enough to grab a bite to eat go to the loo? or time to shop?
    also when it has an itinerary discription like:
    Amsterdam to Rhine Valley
    “Experience Amsterdam’s coffee shops, museums and cool, quirky boutiques. In your free time, wander along shady canals and pass gabled houses or hop on two wheels like the laid-back locals and bike through the centre of town. Chill out while the coach follows the Rhine River, weaving through valleys dotted with castles and vineyards.
    Next stop – the pretty, old-world village of St Goar, complete with fairy-tale castle and even a free standing cuckoo clock! Kick back with a glass of local wine and choose to find out more with the optional wine tasting in a candlelit underground cellar.”

    would that mean wake up in ur own time and explore then meet back at the bus for a mid afternoon ¿ departure to ‘St Goar’ (which i presume is in the ‘Rhine Valley’) ??

    also what kind of ‘souveniers’ did eople collect from each city? so far my thoughts are postcards, iron on patches and charms (for a charm bracelet of my trip) any thoughts??

  • 30 Mar 2011 Jamez24 said

    Jamez24

    This thread is invaluable!! Thank you all so much, have added so many items to my list I wouldnt have even thought of but make perfect sense now. I’m doing London to Athens starting June 19th and I cannot wait! If anyone else is on this tour let me know :-)

  • 30 Mar 2011 Justine said

    Justine

    EmmaEmily – Being Winter in Europe it will be cold, I went over mid February and by the time I got to Amsterdam in March it was freezing, very windy. I took a great every day coat that was also water proof cost me a bit but was so great in snow and rain because it dried quickly and I was never wet or cold. Thermals especially leggings cause wind goes straight through jeans, good thermal socks and gloves were also great for me.

    The Amsterdam bit was different for me – St Goar was a stop over on our way to Amsterdam and the optional extra was the wine tasting night – which was a good night out. In Amsterdam we got there at Night and had the next day free. The bus will take you into the city unless it is a bus free day. Most bus depatures are early in the morning.

    As for souvenirs – My most favourite thing I got was from St Goar when you visit the Beer Stein making place. They have awesome Contiki Steins complete with each countries flag, and their noted landmarks. Some might thing its a pricey dust collector but I love it!!!! T-Shirts are great, keyrings, magnets, postcards are great souvenirs also make sure you buy some art in Paris I got some awesome paintings/drawings of Paris bought them home and got them framed and were great gifts/reminders of my amazing trip. Hope this helps!!!

  • 30 Mar 2011 EmmaEmily said

    Default_avatar

    cheers justine! how much was the contiki stein?

    another question i thought of….how many times do you usually have to change currency? like if i just transfer everything to euros…would that be best? do all places except the euro? or are there some that only take their own currency?

  • 30 Mar 2011 Justine said

    Justine

    EmmaEmily -

    The Contiki stein was I think 75 Euro…Pricey I know but it is awesome. I changed Currency 2 times while I was overseas. I had Pounds and Euro, (Travelex Cards are Brillant!!!) The only time I changed currency was in Switzerland (Swiss Francs) and in Prague (Koruny) The Czech money is unreal I had my first ever $1000 Bill shame it works out to be 40 Euro. This is where my Travelex cards were so reliable I just put them in any ATM no matter where and it worked every time and there are ATM’s/EFTPOS everywhere. Hope this helps :-) Oh and remember don’t remember about converting the money in your head, like my TM said “Don’t Convert it Hurts” Just enjoy it and have no regrets…

  • 30 Mar 2011 EmmaEmily said

    Default_avatar

    thanx! i’ll look into Travelex Cards. any chance you noticed how much bracelet charms were around europe? i’m thinking i’d like to collect a charm from each city i go to.

  • 30 Mar 2011 Jennieva30 said

    Jennieva30

    Justine, did you purchase the travelex card prior to departing or when you were already there?

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