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What do you wish you'd known?

18 Jul 2007 ashleightara asked

I'm curious to know what ppl wish they'd known before they went on their trips, and only discovered afterwards...<BR><BR>For example, <BR>Did you miss something in a town you wish you'd known about? <BR>Did you pack something, and never used it?<BR>Did you NEED something you didn't pack and had to go in search of it?<BR><BR>In particular, looking for different advice to what is already available on the board...share you experience so others can learn from you 'mistake'.<BR><BR>Thanks <img src="" alt="Smiler" width="15" height="15"><!--graemlin::)-->
  • 28 Jan 2012 Aleisha91 said


    Does it sort of work the same as a visa card? thanks good idea sharna, will defiently ask my travel agent about it haha
    Which tour r u doing?
    Coming up so quickly, couldn’t come fast enough though haha

  • 28 Jan 2012 Sharna said


    yeh its the same as a visa
    im doing Ireland in June then the London underground in between then the European Highlights starting June 28……
    I am sssssooooo excited!!! I agree it is coming up fast!!! BUT not quick enough lol……..
    what tours are you doing

  • 29 Jan 2012 EmmaEmily said


    i got back nearly 2 weeks ago from 5 weeks in the UK/Europe. during that time i did the 12 day Winter European Discovery which was AWESOME! some tips i can offer are:
    pack WARM clothes. but if your tour goes to Rome…put in a tshirt or 2 as well…because after an average temp of 5…Rome’s 14/15 degrees will feel really warm!
    you only really need 1 good going out dress (especially if you plan to shop,..i took 2 and yes, wore both but i also bought one…so could have made do with only one to start with)
    thermal leggings are your friend. (plus a few normal ones….but NOT 7 pairs like i had. way too many!)
    take clothes you would be prepared to chuck out if needed. i took plain coloured long sleeve tops which i could replace when i got home if i needed to leave them in europe to fit things in coming home.
    on that note…take the time to send stuff home while you’re still there. i sent stuff from France and again a few days later from London. way WAY cheaper than risking excess bagage fees.
    over budget! i took about $6000 australian for 5 weeks…and still came home with about $1000. and i don’t feel like i didn’t buy things that i wanted just to keep money.
    you WILL get sick. i went prepared…vitamin c, cough and cold immune defence, cold and flu, antibiotics (which i didn’t end up needing but it was good just incase)…advil…2 girls got the flu early on and used me as a chemist and quite a few came to me for advil. now, i am ALWAYS sick at home..but by taking 2 vitamin c and a cough cold defence EVERY day…it took til the 2nd last day of the tour for me to get sick (3 WEEKS into my overall trip). once you are sick…try and get an early night and as much sleep in general as you can! do NOT go out and party through it…it’s not worth the extra time it’ll take too get better! overall i only took 3 days to get over the worse of it (and the 3rd night i slept 12hrs straight and woke up feeling fantastic!)

    hope people find something useful here!

  • 29 Jan 2012 cdm115 said


    I totally agree about bring a few things you wouldn’t mind throwing away, in terms of clothing. I’ve done that on a couple trips and it worked great. One trip I swear I had less going home and I had bought a lot. But I did donate my sleeping to my TM who needed one for her next tour and didn’t have access to hers and needed to buy a new one.

  • 30 Jan 2012 sjupton said


    I did the London Paris plus Rome tour, I would definently recommend learning some of the local languages before you go, I didn’t and was a little difficult at times,
    things to take:
    Less jeans, more trackies, more comfy when walking around and travelling on planes, zip up hoodies rather then jumpers, some places are warm inside and its easier to unzip then take jumper off, hat n scarf is a must, only needed one for a 2 week trip if you don’t mind wearing the same all the time, double adapter so you can charge more then one thing at once, spare batteries for camera, a good quality camera as you want to take great photos
    didn’t need long johns and as many thermal tops, hair dryer as hotels had them,
    Be organised with your finances, I took a travelex card and my westpac card worked great as well
    Christmas New Year period was a busy time to travel, plan the things you really want to see and see them well and don’t try to see everything
    Rome was not with a tour manager, if I had of known this I may not have booked an extra night but we did have a fabulous time.

  • 2 Feb 2012 DanCbro said


    Last year I did a 3 week contiki tour around Europe followed by 3 weeks of independent travel and loved every minute of my trip. What I learned was that I packed way too much. I had around 8 T-shirts, jocks and socks as well as 2 pairs of jeans and shoes. My backpack came in it at around 18kg. While this wasn’t too bad for the contiki part of my trip (as the bus drops you right at the accommodation) it was far too heavy for catching public transport and walking between hostels.

    While staying in a hostel in Poland, I met a guy who had an invention that he was patenting called the Scrubba wash bag. Its essentially a lightweight waterproof bag with a flexible washboard inside. I just saw a video of it in use on Youtube ( and thought I would share it here. I’m planning to get one for an Eastern Road Contiki trip later in the year as it looks better than washing in a sink and I have heard laundry services in eastern Europe can cost more than 7 Euro per load. I think it should also allow me to do the trip (+another 2 weeks of independent travel) with half the clothing I took last time.

  • 11 Feb 2012 Amanda said


    My hot tip is to take those polyester silky undies/bras by Kayser so then when you wash them in bathroom etc they dry WAY faster than cotton. Also silk tops are good because they take up no space, doesnt matter if they wrinkle and also dry very quickly.

    I am going on winter wanderer in March 2012. Can anyone shed some light on how they think the weather will be? Im tossing up whether i need to buy a really warm down jacket ie north face brand, but I dont want to spend the $300 ish if I dont have to…

  • 11 Feb 2012 Bella91 said


    I did the winter wanderer a month ago, and got by just fine with a 40 pound coat from H&M, so in March I’m sure you won’t need a serious coat. It’s all about the layers. I’m in -15 degrees at the moment, and still surviving with the same coat. So jealous by the way! Wish I could start all over again, you’ll have a blast.

  • 16 Feb 2012 Missamr said


    Anyone have any tips or musts/must nots for the Best of USA tour?

  • 17 Feb 2012 drmalisa said


    I’m going to be doing the European Highlights tour starting April 16th. I am trying to make a budget for expenses and I’m wondering if most places take credit cards? I’ll be bringing a mastercard credit card and would like to not have to spend only my cash. I am aware that I will have to pay for the optionals with euros. Thanks!

  • 17 Feb 2012 Explorer1296283 said


    Has anyone stayed at the Auto Park Hotel in Florence? I just got my hotel list and the reviews for this hotel are horrible. Just wondering if anyone has stayed there and if you could tell me what you thought.

  • 17 Feb 2012 cdm115 said


    That actually sounds familiar to me, but I was there 6 years ago… But in general, the hotels in Italy are pretty old, sad, and have weird set ups. But I always found they were clean. I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

  • 23 Feb 2012 jade89 said


    Thats the one I stayed at. The bathrooms were tiny. But clean, & the rooms were comfortable… We weren’t there for all that long so I don’t remember it, but if it was awful I’m sure I would have strong memories.

  • 23 Feb 2012 JL said


    We also stayed at the Autopark Hotel. It was horrible! Worst hotel on the whole tour

  • 23 Feb 2012 Sharna said


    drmalisa …….. go to your travel agent and ask them about Cash passport……… new card out that allows you to have up to 10 different currencies on one card…….. no fees for withdrawing or using ATMs overseas……. like most banks charge you……. no fees for tranferring money from AUD to other currencies…….. its the best thing ever!!!! my travel agent got me set up with one…… im doing Ireland, London and Europe for 4 weeks in June/July this year…….

  • 24 Feb 2012 drmalisa said


    I’m not interested in a cash option. All I want to know is if most places take MasterCard in Europe?

  • 24 Feb 2012 Sharna said


    it’s not cash its a card that you have, works like visa and mastercard. the card is like your normal bank card it has the money on it that you put on it instead of using a credit card.
    its a pretty even when it comes to mastercard or visa……… its widely known that they are both accepted in most parts of europe…….. if you want to check then why dont u google it and it will give you plenty of answers as most people who travel tend to take traveller’s cheques or cards and dont always rely on their credit cards to pay for things
    or another option ask the bank whom your mastercard is through as they will also know and be able to help you more.

  • 24 Feb 2012 JL said


    drmalisa, most places take any credit card in Europe. We used the credit card 90% of the time. Optionals must however be paid in cash and some sights also require cash for entrance fees

  • 24 Feb 2012 Cat said


    Wow, so glad I found this discussion !! Some great tips here :) And I will definitely post my own hints and tips when I get back for my tour in june. However now I’m worried that all my stuff will be stolen :/

  • 29 Feb 2012 drmalisa said


    JL thanks so much for answering my question! That’s exactly what I wanted to know.

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