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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::)-->
  • 7 Jun 2009 EuroSteph said


    I have not yet been on contiki but i have been to europe… think about it, you take 3 pairs of heels you will be ok for the trip… you take 1 pair of heels and buy more while your over there….then you get not only new shoes, but you can do the “oh these?, i bought them in …” heels have alot of empty space around them so if you can pack them efficienty and they aren’t too heavy its really up to your final weigh in to decide lol

    i didn’t pre purchase tickets to effiel toren but we didnt go into the lourve because the line was so long. so might be something worth organising.

    Its pot luck with hair dryers, some are crazy some are week. Find a strong travel hair dryer maybe just to be safe? they aer usually pretty compact

  • 7 Jun 2009 Alexi85 said


    hey Steph,

    Thanks for the tips Smiler<!--graemlin::)--> ok so it’s recommended to buy tickets to the Louvre in advance? i might try to purchase it online. Will that allow me to skip the long queue in july??

  • 8 Jun 2009 Explorer1123323 said


    Hi Alexi

    I’m doing the European Highlights departing 20 June, so excited Big Grin<!--graemlin::D-->

    I was also worried about the long lines as I don’t want to spend all day waiting in a stupid line.

    Unfortunetly u can’t pre book for the Eifel tower but everyone says that u should get their really early in the morning so go there first when u ar in Paris for the day.

    U can purchase tickets for the Louvre online on their website:

    Also with Anne franks house in Amsterdam, it usually has a long queue so buy online:

    Hope this helps you Razzer<!--graemlin::p-->

  • 8 Jun 2009 EuroSteph said


    i think with the eiffel toren you should be willing to brave the line, it is SOO worth it.

    i think the best thing to do would be to have a look at the websites and see if the online ticket does allow you to enter a faster Q.

    Thankfuly i did all my travelling in europe in winter so i didnt really experince too many lines… or its not what i remembered the most, as the Qs are not important.

    if you go to anne frank house (i have) read the book first, being in the house litterally gave me chills

  • 8 Jun 2009 Karina said


    In regards to pre purchasing tickets. I have just come back from tour and the only place i would have pre-purchased them for was Anne Frank’s house. We waited in line about 1 hour so it wasn’t too bad, but we could have spent this time elsewhere.

    For the lourve our tour manager had a sneaky entrance for us to use, so it meant we didn’t have to wait in line at all and it only took us about 5 minutes to purchase our tickets. We were there on a Sunday morning so this might be have been a good day.

    We went up the Tower on our first night in Paris. Our tour manager had organised a special stop for us to ensure we had enough time the next day on our free day to do everything else. From the time we stepped into line to the time we got off it was about 3.5 hours. We waited in line to go up the lifts but the rest of our group went up the stairs. They were honestly only about 10 minutes ahead of us. I’d highly recommened taking the lift to conserve energy.

    Hope this helps.


  • 16 Jun 2009 Mwarp said


    By far one of the best topics on this whole forum. So many helpful hints. Thanks for sharing everyone!

  • 21 Jun 2009 CRChiasson said


    Things I’m glad I took:

    -a Tide to go pen (so many stains, so few places to do laundry!)
    -hand sanitizer
    -cold & flu tablets (I didn’t need them, but tourmates did!)
    -Gravol (or some other anti-nauseant)
    -coins for the washrooms
    -Gatorade powder (for those days when you’re a little dehydrated)

    I wish I had taken an extra purse…I had my daybag and a wristlet for going out, and something in between would’ve been helpful.

    I’m glad I didn’t take a towel and just bought one the day we went to the beach in Nice.

    As for hairdryers…I took a travel one over, but my shoulder length baby-fine hair had no problems with the hotel ones. In the few hotels where the one in my room didn’t work…I just went to another tourmate’s.

    We did the Eiffel Tower on a Friday night. The lineup for the lifts was over an hour and a half, but we waited maybe 20mins for the stairs. I really liked taking the stairs up-they have facts about the tower all the way up and you get some really neat pictures at night on your way up.

    As for the Louvre, we used the underground entrance and didn’t wait at all, even getting there on a Saturday morning. Just walked right up to the automatic ticket machines and then into the museum.

  • 29 Jun 2009 Asian.gem said

    Originally posted by SaraH:
    If you want to go visit the Anne Frank house, the best tip is to go early! I went there with a friend of mine, soon after it opened for the day, and it was fine. When we came back out, the queue went around the block and further!
    The problem is, that it’s very small inside, even though nowadays the house next door to the actual Anne Frank house is part of the museum as well.

    Does anyone know if you can pre-buy tickets for the vatican museum?

    Sarah, you can pre-buy tickets online for vatican museum via http://biglietteriamusei.vatic…i/tickets/index.html

  • 13 Jul 2009 Kat said


    i am glad i read this there is just so much information about thing i hadnt thought of i’ve told all my friends to read it to and i just want to bump it to the front so meore ppl can read it and i will add to it when i return from my trip soon

  • 23 Jul 2009 Cassee said


    Thank you so much for this thread. It was so helpful! I have a long list that I think I may have to cut down, but I got lots of ideas and tips.
    If you book your tickets for certain things do you go in ahead of your group?
    Europe Experience 12th sep’ 09. So Excited!

  • 24 Jul 2009 Explorer1123323 said


    Glad I did:

    •Read all the forums and travelogues as they were a big help.
    •Glad that I packed lots of clothes as I wore a different outfit everyday and didn’t have to wear the same clothes all the time like some people did, also I didn’t have to do any laundry.
    •Glad that I bought tickets to Anne Franks house before the tour as everyone had to stand in a line for an hour while I went straight in
    •Glad I bought a video camera to film all the major sights and all the funny moments, really great to watch them and show friends and family
    •Glad I did ALL the optionals, they were worth it and made the tour so much better, I especially enjoyed the Cabaret show in Paris, the Tuscan Dinner in Florence, The Gondola ride in Venice and the cruise in Amsterdam, they are a must to do.
    •Glad I made friends with people before the tour on facebook because I already had a bunch of friends on the first day, and they became my best friends on tour.
    •Glad that I partied every night and bought alcohol at the shops as the alcohol and the sites can be very expensive
    •Glad that I packed lots of summer dresses as apart from Paris everywhere was so hot and lots of the girls only had jeans
    •Glad I bought heels and lots of going out clothes, trust me girls, it’s so worth it as you go out almost every night.
    •Glad I kept a diary as it’s very easy to forget what you did and it’s really great to read back on you’re your fun adventures.
    •Glad I put lots of sun tan lotion on when in nice as most people were so red and burnt when we went to Monaco that night.
    •Glad I bought wet wipes as you get very dirty and hot while running around each city and it’s a great way to stay clean.
    •Glad I bought a hair straightner so I had great hair all holiday 
    •Glad I bought tissues as most places give you 1 roll of toilet paper for 4 people for 2 nights.
    •Glad I bought a small umbrella, it only rained once in Florence and everyone got so wet and had to pay lots of money for an umbrella.
    •Really glad our walked up the Eiffel tower as the queue for the lifts was really long and I only had to wait a couple of minutes in the queue.
    •Glad I spent the whole day in Rome and didn’t go back with the coach at 5, a group of us stayed and got to see everything and were back at the site at 8:45.
    •Glad I bought mosquito cream as there were lots in Venice.
    •Glad I packed a big scarf and leggings for the churches so that I could wear a nice summer dress and then just quickly put them on when going inside as some girls wore long pants and had a hard time in the heat
    •Glad I bought a calling card from home as it was very reasonable to call home, all the people with cell phones had to pay lots.
    •Glad that I researched and planned my days, I was very organized and it helped save time.
    •Really glad that we had a great group of people on our tour, we were all a big family by day 2, and we all partied together and had the time of our lives.

    Sorry thats it’s so long Big Grin<!--graemlin::D-->

  • 18 Aug 2009 avz said


    umm i get 2 london at 4pm.. will i make it in time to the pre meeting at 6pm at the contiki basement? goign through customs, train ect???

  • 18 Aug 2009 Explorer1085990 said


    I wish I’d known how hot LA was going to be, even in winter.
    I wish I’d taken longer trips and not worried so much about spending most of my money on extravagant digs (though at times living in the lap of luxury between tours was amazing).
    I wish I had listened to my instinct and bought a new camera when my old one started playing up at the airport. I have far fewer photos then I had imagined.
    However, its important to remember to live in the moment and not live your trip through your camera lens.
    I am glad I knew:
    Not to worry about my budget too much and bought whatever I saw that I wanted.
    That everything would be great and I would make friends.

  • 18 Aug 2009 Mel said


    to be honest avz. you might be pushing it. but when i arrived in london there was a problem with the trains as someone had jumped in front of one and it took me about 4 hours to get the the hotel (after leaving the airport)
    it doesnt take to long to get through customs and it takes about 45min to an hour by train to get to the hotel but if your flight is delayed or the trains are delayed or there is a long queue for customs etc id think you would be too late to make the meeting. however it isnt compulsory to attend the pre tour meeting anyways!

  • 19 Aug 2009 avz said


    thankksss mel…. hopefully evrything will go my way… would ike 2 go to the pre meeting as its my first contiki. lol dunt wanna miss anythinggg

  • 19 Aug 2009 Explorer1123323 said


    Hey Avs

    Don’t stress if you miss it, all they do is your tour manager gives a quick 5 minute speech about how much fun we will have and then you all have to line up with your passports and travel insurance, it takes like 10 minutes.

    It was nice however to meet some of your tour mates but a couple people decided to spend the whole night drinking and partying and then were asleep on the bus when we left the next morning and that is when you have to be awake and listening as your tour manager gives you a 3 hour (not joking) speech about the tour.

    Enjoy your trip Big Grin<!--graemlin::D-->

  • 19 Aug 2009 avz said


    ahh reali? ahh not so stressed anymore lolll… thanxxx

  • 28 Aug 2009 JamesC said

    I’m Glad:
    • I took a bottle opener, noone else took one, and they were handy for illegal room parties.
    • I took a iPod touch, it ended up being my computer, I found wifi at most places in the states, and could update facebook, check e-mails and look at the weather. Also podcasts were handy for killing time on the bus.
    • My Puffa Jacket, it gets cold in the Grand Cayon, and everyone else had no warm cloths.
    • My Gorrilapod (bendy tripod) for my SLR, meant we could get cool group photos in great places.

    I Wish
    • that I had checked my SLR sensor was clean before my trip. Have awesome photos but all with black dots and a hair on.
    • that I found out more about dresscode in Vegas, bought trousers and black shoes in Walmart, and the other guys wore jeans. They just didn’t like white shoes.
    • I didn’t hold my camera on Splash Mountain at Disneyland.
    • Got to know everybody on the trip.
    • Started writing a diary (or at least bulletpoints for later) so it is easier remembering where I had gone.
    • done someting on my last day in the states, I would have had time to go to Disney for a second day.
    • Gone to the exercise yard at Alcatraz, the audio tour doesn’t take you into it, but you walk straight past.
  • 12 Sep 2009 copar21 said


    i wish i had more time in london after the tour.

    i wish i kept up to date with my dairy.

    i should have packed less, i didn’t wear most of my clothes

    i’m glad i took a double adapter so i could charge more than one thing at a time.

    i’m so glad i took a tube of vegemite, something to remind me of home when i had it for breakfast or just ate it on the bus.

  • 20 Sep 2009 Kaznagan said


    When i went to New Zealand

    I’m Glad
    - i had packed somac (hangover free trip)
    - packed accessories – it made up outfits and also saved space
    - did the dodgy underwear shop – to reduce laundry i went to best n less and got about 14 pairs of underwear for $7. wore em for a day then got rid of them – perk i was able to fit a bit more in at the end of the trip
    - study learnt what i wanted to see, and was happy to go and do my own thing, i saw some beautiful things that others didnt
    - had spare batteries and memory for my camera and mp3 player
    - had money already for when i arrived
    - over budgeted, it meant i could buy practically anything i saw….
    - old shoes, i took heels and thongs that were nice but were old or cheap (target always has nice clearence shoes – i think the best is $5.00) then you can get rid of them at the end of the trip to make more room

    What i wish i’d done
    - spent more time with everyone, shared rooms with different people
    - did more optionals, go with the opinion that this could be the only time i’m here, lets do it all
    - had a journal, cause you mix up things
    - not drink tooooo much the night before going bungee jumping lol

    thanks everyone who has written their thoughts on here – i’m going with contiki for a second trip to america for the grand southern in july next year and i plan on using this advice, especially for the contiki cough……

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