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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
  • 24 May 2011 Matt said

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    I’m doing the European Escapade on the 22nd. Are any of the optionals not worth it. I wanna get as much in as possible but wanna have time for my own thing every now and again.

  • 24 May 2011 IlovetroubleCAN said

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    My 2 cents on what to bring/what not to!

    I did best of Europe in June last year, and am returning on Spanish Spree in a few weeks.

    Things I was glad I brought (and people were jealous that I did!):
    - Neck Pillow, ear plugs & Gravol (indispensable for early morning (after late night) bus rides)
    - straightener (everyone wanted to borrow it)
    - extra camera battery
    - emergen-C (goes in your water, super powered vitamin C). I swear by this. I get sick a ton and avoided the contiki cough
    - my europe travel book. it had little tips and tricks on avoiding lines at popular tourist spots and restaurant recommendations. amazing.
    - fleece blanket (wouldn’t recommend packing from home but my flight gave me one – I used it to prop up my pillow in the hotel (euro pillows are flat!)
    - cheap jewelry and belts (really helps dress up and add variety to outfits)
    - suction-cupped clothes line and washing powder. It’s scary how fast you go through clothing on this trip so nice to have option to wash!
    - cheap sunglasses. $10 a pair. I’m glad I didn’t bring my designer ones. A few girls lost theirs on the trip.
    - lululemon pants and leggings. heaven for bus rides. leggings are versatile to wear out in cities but do not wear sweats in europe on the street. people will think you are a slob!
    - Insoles. A total ‘grandma’ move but saved my feet a lot of pain. Put them in both my diesel runners and ballet flats.
    - Dry shampoo
    - miniature toiletries (I just ended up throwing out most stuff at end of trip so make room for purchases)
    What I’m glad I did:
    - The optionals – some were not so great but it was a good way to get to know your other tourmates
    - Took a crapload of pictures.. people even made fun of me for doing this but now I am so glad as I have amazing photographic memories of my trip
    - Let go of caring what people think. Some people may wear the same outfit 4×. Who cares. It’s vacay

    Things I wish I brought (that I was envious of others that had! LOL):
    - my mini hair dryer. thankfully my roomie had one but the hair dryers in europe are NOT powerful enough for long hair
    - iphone/ipod touch etc. accessing internet in hotel lobbies was annoying. easier to link into network in your room. wish I had one! Definitely bringing this year
    - melantonin ( to help beat jet lag)
    - draw string laundry bag
    - mini febreeze – someone suggested that on here and I am totally bringing. some hotel rooms do not smell so good…and also the smoking…gets on your clothes
    - More going out clothes.
    What I wish I’d known:
    - Take it easy, relax, it’s vacay…
    - Wish I’d gotten to know more people sooner
    - How to use my calling card…LOL

  • 24 May 2011 jade89 said

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    IlovetroubleCAN, where did you get “my europe travel book. it had little tips and tricks on avoiding lines at popular tourist spots and restaurant recommendations. amazing.”
    Silly question but is that is whole title or does it have a different name?

  • 24 May 2011 IlovetroubleCAN said

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    Hi There!

    My mom lent me her copy of Rick Steeves’ book: here is a link
    http://www.ricksteves.com/about/pressroom/aboutbooks.htm

    I’ve heard the lonely planet/let’s go books are good as well!

  • 25 May 2011 jade89 said

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    Thanks for that :)
    I have lonely planets Europe on a Shoestring, but thats so big & heavy – I’ll just photocopy the relevent pages out of it.

  • 25 May 2011 cdm115 said

    cdm115

    If you have an Iphone or Itouch I would look into getting some apps for locations. Usually you already have the device on you and it weighs less.

  • 26 May 2011 EmmaEmily said

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    Of a morning, do you have to check out of your hotel like you would normally?? like hand in room keys and things like that, or has the TM done this, and you just basically jump on the bus? also…does anyone know if we can KEEP the room keys? they’d make pretty cool souvenirs…

  • 26 May 2011 cdm115 said

    cdm115

    The TM usually takes care of it. If you have a bill then you will need to take care of that yourself. The TM will usually ask you to turn in the keys. If it’s key cards then you can usually keep the keys, though they’re usually not exciting. But many hotels still use actual keys, and those you cannot keep.

  • 26 May 2011 EmmaEmily said

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    thanx cdm!

  • 28 May 2011 Monja said

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    Hi guys!!!

    maybe an update on this questoin????

  • 8 Jun 2011 JulieInSanDiego said

    JulieInSanDiego

    I’m so glad that people continue to update this thread. I’m going to Greece in September for Spotlight on Greece + 3 days Island Hopping. Anyone have any suggestions specifc to Greece? Also, can anyone share how different the superior level trips are to the budget level? I see a lot of comments about taking sleeping bags, but I don’t think that applies to my trip… please let me know if I’m wrong.

  • 9 Jun 2011 Haylie said

    Haylie

    Has anyone got any tips for 46 day camping? or a long haul camping trip in europe opposed to a short one? I went on 21 days back in 2009 and will hopefully be going on 46 days soon. Any major differences in what you would take etc, thing you’ve learned for next time etc?

    Thanks!!

  • 9 Jun 2011 franky h said

    franky h

    Explorer1246453 said

    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?

    It is handy, though a lot of hostels do have computers and/or access to the internet :)

  • 11 Jun 2011 Jess said

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    hi everyone
    not sure if this question has been asked but i was wondering what girls have taken with them for ‘going out shoes’. I’m doing the simply italy tour as well as the berlin and prague tour in july and i dont want to have problems getting into nightclubs etc if i dont have heels. I’m debating either heels or nice ballet flats.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks

  • 12 Jun 2011 Kimby said

    Kimby

    Hi All,
    Just wondering about the hotel accommodation on the Time Out tours in Europe – I’m going with my partner so are we able to opt for a double bed as opposed to two singles? Also…are there electric blankets on the beds? hahaha. Happy to answers any questions about New Zealand :)
    Kim

  • 12 Jun 2011 cdm115 said

    cdm115

    Kimbly, Your TM will request a double bed, it’s usually honored, but not guaranteed.

    Jess, bring the ballet flats, the big thing is they don’t want you to wear sneakers in some places, but you don’t need heels.

  • 12 Jun 2011 Kimby said

    Kimby

    Thanks cdm :)

  • 16 Jun 2011 Chelsea said

    Chelsea

    Great topic! I wish I’d packed a little lighter too and not as many warm clothes. The weather we had on our tour (in September) was so good that I only really needed one jacket/jumper (& thermals were good for Jungfrau).

    As to the laptop question only a handful of the places we stayed on the tour I did (European Escapade) had WiFi (and in many cases) it wasn’t free. I left my netbook behind and was glad I did (though I had a lot of typing to do when I put my travel diary online when I got back).

    I agree with cdm about the flats. I took a pair of boots with me but they really weren’t needed and on a number of the nights we went out we were advised to wear flats anyway because of the cobblestones.

  • 16 Jun 2011 EmmaEmily said

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    as i’m doing European Discovery over dec-jan i’m assuming it’ll be quite cold…my plan was just to take knee high black boots. i can dress them up for going out, or down …with dresses or jeans. what do people think of this plan??

  • 16 Jun 2011 cdm115 said

    cdm115

    Even thought they are bulky, I kinda like the boots idea, assuming they are comfortable enough to wear around all day walking around. You might also want to think about a water proof/resistant shoe, you might hit some snow on tour. While it’s likely to be cleaned up, you might find some places can be wet and a nicer boot probably wont be enough protection.

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