31 Aug 2008
Ok everyone, just returned from the European Encounter tour, so here is some advice for you.<BR><BR>The first day of your tour, they weigh your luggage. They are VERY strict about this. If it weighs too much, take some heavy things and put them in your carry on bag. Keep in mind, they only weigh it one time so you can move everything back the way it was later. They dont measure it either. Any normal size suitcase should be fine. But just in case, I wouldnt bring anything much bigger than what the restrictions say.<BR>Bring one of those travel pillows, they are great for the bus where you will be getting some much needed sleep. <BR>Bring your Ipod as sometimes you will not love the music they play on the bus and will need it to tune out everyone else who is bring loud when you want to sleep. Bring a charger too.. better if you get one that is battery operated so you dont have to use the outlet on the bus. <BR><BR>Bring a cell phone that works in Europe! Mine did.. but sometimes had a hard time calling out. <BR><BR>Bring vitamins and vitamin C, and nyquil or something like that.. many people got sick from all the weather changes.<BR>DEFINITELY bring a travel alarm clock. This will save you from oversleeping.. if you miss that bus and they leave without you, you have to find your OWN way there! And its not cheap!! <BR><BR>Definitely an umbrella and a poncho if you dont mind looking stupid in it!! It rains a lot in Europe, and rained nearly every day on our tour. Bring clothes for cold weather. Even though it is still summer , it is very COLD in Switzerland and the northern countries. I wish I had brought a cute jacket and closed flat shoes for cold weather instead of just sandals. Definitely bring clothes that you can layer. We were freezing at least half of the tour because we didnt expect it to be so cold. Bring 2 pairs of jeans at least!!! <BR>Bring comfortable shoes as you will be walking more than you normally do. <BR><BR>I would do all the excursions on your tour, the only sucky one was in Amsterdam at the Sea Palace. Other than that, they were all great. Keep in mind you have to pay the excursions in cash to your tour manager. Dont bring travelers checks. They are a pain in the a$$. I brought 2 debit cards, and there are bank machines everywhere so it is easy to access money when you need it. Bring some cash too, there are places everywhere to convert it but sometimes charge a commission if its too little. <BR>Bring a bathing suit, you may need it in Nice if you want to go to the beach, and definitely if you go white water rafting. <BR>Bring extra batteries for your camera and extra memory cards, you will be taking more pictures than you expect. They are very expensive in Europe. <BR>Def bring lots of clothes for going out, some nice dresses or whatver you have, or if you are a guy, bring a few dress shirts. They dont let you in clubs in Europe if you are underdressed. Jeans and thongs are not considered dressed up. <BR><BR>Definitely get a space cake in Amsterdam.. at the Grasshopper! Im sure there are many other places to get them, but thats a safe one. <BR><BR>Get a voltage converter (NOT just an adapter!)for your hairdryer/flatiron. I have a very expensive flat iron and it now no longer works in the US (or anywhere)because when I plugged it into the adapter it got extremely hot because the voltage is much higher than in the US. Same thing happened to our blow dryer. Now they are both garbage.<BR>Bring some cards or a book or something to entertain yourself.. and maybe a journal for your trip. Its a great way to remember everything!! <BR>Oh yes, bring lots of extra plastic bags for your dirty clothes so they dont go near your clean ones. Also bring some single use washing soap and extra dryer sheets for when you need to do laundry. These things are hard to find when you have laundry to do. There are not too many opportunites to get it done either. Maybe 2 at the most. Once in Austria and once in Nice.In case you dont have time to do it at all, bring enough undies to last you whole trip and then some. Sometimes you might shower more than once in a day. <BR>Bring your nice designer sunglasses and sunscreen.. it is HOT in Italy and France!!<BR>I strongly suggest you bring a money belt for your cash, passport and credit cards. and if you are using a purse make sure it is an over the shoulder bag that someone cant just snatch from you. Stay very aware of it at all times. <BR>Before you go, make a photocopy of all your important documents, the passport especially. Leave one at home and bring one with you. <BR><BR><BR>Last but not least, bring an open mind, as things are different in Europe and just think of it as a 'cultural experience.' Get to know the others on your tour. Be social.. more than you normally would. Its a great way to meet new people from around the world.<BR>Let me know if you have any questions, I would be happy to help you with anything I can.. <BR><BR>Have an awesome time.. we all did!!