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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
  • 18 Apr 2011 EmmaEmily said

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    Hey Kat. yes i’m organising early…but that’s just coz i’m SO excited! haha. I’m thinking just my boots. my feet don’t get tired in them and they’re nice enough to wear with tights and a dress for going out. i’m not really a heels type girl…but i guess i might take a pair of flats or 2 as well. and my thongs…and maybe ugg boots..idk. haha.

  • 18 Apr 2011 grantham12 said

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    Hey guys, i just have another question, i was thinking about having a backpack to put extra stuff in and leave it on the bus and then just take a purse out and about. Am i allowed to leave a bag on the bus?

  • 18 Apr 2011 kristy said

    kristy

    yes grantham12 you are alowed to leave a backpack on the bus with extra set of clothes, water, book ect just dont leave valuables because there have been many reports of bus break-ins. i also saw on youtube that a couple of random people entred the bus and acted like they were on the tour so they could pik pocket.
    but i have a question…… money belts and passports.. do we really need to carry our passport with us at all times? surely there are safes throughout contiki accomadation? or can we leave it in our suitcase locked up most of the time and just bring a copy of a drivers licence for id in clubs ect..
    it seems unecesary to have it straped to your body 24/7

    what are your thoughts

  • 19 Apr 2011 Elena said

    Elena

    But is it also possible to just bring photo-copied papers? I’ve heard there was a scam going, where a fake police officer asks to check your passport and money, but he ends up stealing both. :( Wouldn’t a photocopy suffice unless it would be a real and serious matter?

    Also, I’m going to Italy for the summer. Any suggestions for hats?

  • 19 Apr 2011 cdm115 said

    cdm115

    As a form of identification, a photocopy of your passport would not suffice. You should always have your passport physically on you, “a man without a passport is a man without a country.” And it’s just a big fat pain in the butt to get a new one, not to mention expensive and that’s even if you don’t get left behind by your contiki tour.
    If you lose your passport you will not be able to leave the country you are in until you get a replacement, even if you realize it on the morning your tour is going to another country. You will be left behind and will have to get a new one on your own and then make your own way to the next stop on the tour to meet your tour.

    I’m not going to say that there haven’t been times when I left it behind in a hotel, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea.

    In regards to the police scamming you. Use your head when anyone asks to see your ID – if it’s a bouncer at a club or at a liquor store they’re probably not going to grab it and run out of the store. If it’s a Police Officer and you’re not doing anything wrong you can try to show your photocopy first and politely ask why. If there’s something feeling off about the situation you can ask for a supervisor. Very important that you be polite though so that things don’t go South for no reason if they really are the police. But these scams aren’t all that common in Western Europe, that’s something I’ve only really heard about in Russia and other countries where the government and the police is seriously corrupt.

  • 25 Apr 2011 Lauren34 said

    Lauren34

    Hi everyone!

    I am gearing up for my first Contiki tour this June (European Horizon June 12-24th) but I have done a bit of overseas travelling beforehand

    One thing I would recommend bringing on any big trip is oral rehydration salts (ORS). They can be mixed in with water and will help boost your electrolytes after a long day of walking in the sun or perhaps the morning after a great night out ;) They can be found at a local drug store and aren’t very expensive.

    Also, in order to save room coming home bring things you can use during the tour, then dump afterwards such as old flip flops, grungy towels, used books, old shirts, sweaters, or pajamas etc. My last trip I actually had to unroll my sleeping bag in my backpack in order to take up space and protect my breakables! My backpack was so light coming home, it made my life so much easier.

  • 28 Apr 2011 Gu Jun Bum said

    Gu Jun Bum

    i wish I had a lot of dress to wear if I will join in a party !

  • 30 Apr 2011 joe_bloggs said

    joe_bloggs

    I’m a contiki junkie (I’ve done 6 in total) but I have also backpacked a bit too. I always wish I had traveled lighter. Honestly, you see everyone wearing the same clothes day after day. When your traveling, people generally don’t care. Try to travel as light as possible. If you don’t think you’ll need it, don’t bring it.

    Regarding passports, I mostly left mine in my suitcase or backpack in the hotel / hostel when I went out. You don’t see many bouncers in Europe except for the UK and maybe one or two other cities. I never had an issue with it in the whole five months I was in Europe. I actually got away with showing my Australian drivers licence a couple of times. When I am roaming the streets, I kept it in my backpack. I bought a money belt but found it incredibly uncomfortable after day one. I just ended up putting a lock on the zipper with my passport and phone.

    Oh, speaking of phones, I highly recommend bringing one. I only ever used mine for texting, but it is great if you wanna meet up with people after a tour is finished or for emergencies (i.e. bank emergencies). Finally, bring at least two sources of cash especially if you are going on a long trip. After injury or death, that is the most likely thing to end your trip early. I brought my normal bank card and a Travelex Card. Both came in very handy.

  • 1 May 2011 Mortimer P Bushbaby, IV said

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    I’m leaving from London as a part of the European Whirl. The first night of the itinerary suggest the Royal National, but is this included in the trip cost or do I need to book that separate? Is it mandatory to stay there or can I book a hostel or stay with friends if i prefer?

  • 1 May 2011 cdm115 said

    cdm115

    Where are you coming from? If you’re coming from N. American it’s included. If you’re coming from Aus or NZ then it is not included. No it’s not mandatory, but it is a good deal for the location and convenient in the morning when you need to leave for the tour. But many people do stay a different hotels and hostels.

  • 2 May 2011 JackDarcy said

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    I would personally like to know you that it is much desirable to have a taxi hiring as it provides a lot of safety to the customers. Find a taxi hiring agency that has an upstanding & good reputation. Hire a company according to your budget. So look for those companies who provide you affordable taxi hire services catering your needs and budget. There is no hurt in hiring a taxi during your trip, as by doing so you are only heading to avail a great deal of advantages at extremely sensible and cost-effective value. All can find better facilities and services for the same price if you shop around before making a final deal with one of taxi hire service provider. Thanks for having all this kind of services.

  • 4 May 2011 LadyRainbow said

    LadyRainbow

    I wish I’d brought a larger suitcase. Mine was TINY and by far the smallest out of everyone on the tour! Seriously, it’s a miracle it didn’t break!!!

    I’m glad I brought a neck pillow. It became my best friend whilst sleeping on the bus!

    I wish I’d brought more vitamins and cold and flu tablets, as I did not even consider getting sick on the tour…hello Contiki Cough!

    I’m glad I brought my own toilet paper!

    I wish I’d known to bring a sleeping bag for my tour, cause I was told I wouldn’t need one. But when I got to London, I was told I WOULD need one and so had to buy one that was pretty expensive!

    I’m glad I brought a larger memory card for my camera.

    I wish I’d brought a few more dressy outfits, although I became fine with mixing and matching.

    I don’t regret anything! I got the best experience from my tour and plan on doing another tour this year. With experience comes knowledge, and I now know what to bring.

  • 13 May 2011 Explorer1246453 said

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    This post has been so useful! Thanks everyone!

    I was wondering if I should take my laptop with me, will I have the chance to use it at all.. is there wi-fi hotspots around?

  • 17 May 2011 jade89 said

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    Are you staying in timeout or concept/camping? There is a page somewhere with links to the hotels in timeout – a lot appear to have FREE wi-fi (according to their websites). I plan to take a netbook cause its small, and I can put back-up photos onto it and then ipod (yep I’m paranoid).
    I haven’t actually BEEN yet so I can’t say for sure, hopefully someone else will answer ;)

  • 17 May 2011 cdm115 said

    cdm115

    My last tour at least 10 people had a laptop or netbook and a couple other people had smartphones. If all you want to do is check email and update facebook you can do it from a smartphone or ipod touch.

    As for wifi some places had free wifi and other places charged an arm and a leg for wifi. But most that had free wifi only had it in the lounge/bar area. The advantage to a smartphone/ipod is that you can quckily steal some wifi from a starbucks or McDonalds on a bathroom break, you don’t really have time to sit in Starbucks on a computer.

    I wouldn’t bring a big larger laptop that is your primary computer, there is too much risk of getting lost or stolen or broken, plus when you have to drag it around. But if you have a small little netbook then I think it’s worth considering.

  • 17 May 2011 jade89 said

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    I don’t have a smart phone or ipod touch (feel like the only person in the world who doesnt! lol) I’m thinking of getting a touch… can you easily add photos from ur digital camera to it?

  • 18 May 2011 Dunny said

    Dunny

    hi nyssajc…just so you don’t feel lonley…i also don’t have any of the fancy fangled i-stuff :)
    I want to thank everyone for all your comments on this thread…i have spent the afternoon (don’t tell my boss) jotting down ideas and plans for when i hit contiki in Sept…it sould be such a great experience and i am so excitesd to see the sites and meet the people…
    Thanks again to everyone!!!

  • 18 May 2011 cdm115 said

    cdm115

    nyssajc, It’s easy to transfer pictures to the touch; however, you need to get a camera connector (another $30 or $40).

  • 18 May 2011 jade89 said

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    Thanks cdm115 – think I’ll save my money and just take the netbook we already have.
    Any other advice? :) I’m loving this forum, lots of great ideas & tips on here!

  • 23 May 2011 Ash said

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    What do people recommend for luggage; suitcase or duffel bag? Doing two timeout tours, euro vista and greek island hopping.

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