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OT planning European trip

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by Mike G, Feb 6, 2011.

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  1. Mike G

    Mike G Member

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    I am going on a European trip in May with my son through his university class. I have never been overseas before so I was looking for some good feedback or input what to expect and how to prepare for the trip. Looking for things others wished they had known or done differently in their experiences. Any and all info is appreciated, thanks.

    Mike
     
  2. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    No matter how cute they may appear, most European girls have hairy armpits.


    (Save your pampered American kid the awkwardness of finding out the way this one did - whoa).
     
  3. g7777777

    g7777777 TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Do 1/5 of the traveling you intend- Just see something rather than doing the normal tourist stops at each shopping area

    Get a Michelen tour guide for the area(s) you are going to be in and take one route or one day trip

    What countries are they going to- and I am sure people can give you a better idea

    regards from Iowa

    Gene
     
  4. jm1079

    jm1079 Well-Known Member

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    Go to your library and get guidebooks like Frommers for the areas you will visit. This will help you plan exactly what you will want to see or do at every stop. Worked for us. JM
     
  5. DB Bill

    DB Bill Active Member

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    1) Take at least 2 pair of comfortable walking shoes and change socks at least once a day.

    2) Get a phrase book to help break the water.

    3) Don't expect to see the Europe of 25 years ago or even 5 years ago --- lots of immigrants especially in France.

    4) The bery big attactions (famous museums etc) are always crowded -- seek out some of the lesser known venues.

    5) Take twice as much money as you think you'll need.
     
  6. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    I travel to Europe at least six times a year for work - have been doing it for over twenty years...

    Feel free to be in touch...

    Drop the 'X' for e-mail

    cell 610-608-0825

    David Delacato

    QUESTIONS

    How long will you be there??

    What countries??

    Is the schedule 'set' (places, hotels, etc.) or will you have freedom to travel around on your own??
     
  7. Mike G

    Mike G Member

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    The trip is pretty well planned as to what cities on what days and lodging and what have you. Cities on the trip start in London then Paris, Lucerne and Munich, 2-3days in each city. Thanks.

    Mike
     
  8. GW22

    GW22 Active Member

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    Regarding cash, shop around to get the best exchange rate here -- before you leave. People who exchange money at the destination often get hosed, especially at the airport or tourist areas. If you're using a credit card, make sure you know your banks policy and tell them in advance when you are leaving and when you are coming back. That way charges will not get rejected while you're there and any overseas charges after you return will raise a red flag.

    Also, watch your cell phone usage! Use a pre-paid phone card or, better yet, use Skype instead. Many clueless travelers have returned home only to be met with a $1000+ phone bill after all the tack-ons.

    -Gary
     
  9. Allen-MX8

    Allen-MX8 Member

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    If you haven't done so already, get your Pass Port application in ASAP.

    Also, don't ever let the Pass Port out of your posession/sight as when in another country your Pass Port is your only real means of identification.

    Oh, yes, find out if you will need a Visa!

    The travel agency you are dealing with should have already given you the information about pass ports. Check the Transportation Security Administration Website: http://www.tsa.gov/ for more information.

    Have a good trip and enjoy!

    Allen
     
  10. g7777777

    g7777777 TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Lucerne-- weather is more variable than the other cities- regardless of the time of year- take a gore tex windbreaker, no insulation- that might be the most valuable piece of clothing you bring-

    Make sure it is large enough to put a sweater on underneath

    Bring some under armor type undergarments

    A good pair of gore tex low hiking shoes is wise

    Get those travel books and again only plan on seeing a couple of things in each city but plan on spending time at those- you can pay a cab driver to drive by several other attractions maybe- even get out at those.

    I have been numerous times to Europe, traveled extensively and have lived in a couple of European countries, in multiple cities- again dont plan too much.

    Regards from Iowa

    Gene
     
  11. Unsingle

    Unsingle Member

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    Mike - if you need multiple visas, this is by far the easiest way (maybe not the cheapest): http://www.visaexpress.net/
     
  12. sernv99

    sernv99 Active Member

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    Me and the girlfriend decided to skip the Philippines this year and head to France sometime between mid Sept and early October....2 weeks. We will base ourselves in Paris and then travel around most of France with a side trip to Spain.

    I was reading up on the weather in Frace during this time frame and saw that the northern areas of France are the wettest in the Fall but that Woodcock and Snipe season are in full swing...don't know if I want to drag the hunting equipment with me...

    Any suggestions for shotgun shooting related things to see in France? I was thinking to inquire about a tour to the Chapuis and Darne gun factories if possible.
     
  13. g7777777

    g7777777 TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Severn99

    Unless you have an International hunting license ( might take a few years to get) and an invitation to hunt- you arent even going to get to walk along so forget hunting

    Do watch out for the riots that have been going on in France

    Use credit card for everything you can- either change a small amount of money or use ATMs to get a small amount

    Stop in the French Brit Museum if you have a chance- the club is over 100 years old and has a several million dollar building- several breeders over there= feel free to email me if you want.

    Enjoy the food and the wine

    Phillipines btw is one of my favorite places to vacation

    Regards from Iowa

    Gene
     
  14. Mike G

    Mike G Member

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    We have passports already but never thought about a visa, would I need this just for vacationing purpose?
     
  15. thomaslea1

    thomaslea1 Member

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    I travel overseas twice a year for vacation only. Some of the things I have learned:

    English is spoken at one level or another everywhere. People in other countries will try their best to communicate with you in English if, and usually only if you do your best to communicate with them. Only too often I've seen tourists that feel that the 'locals' owe them something. then amazingly no one speaks any English.

    I never get local currency before hand. ATM's are everywhere, and they almost always have the best exchange rates. I have never been short of cash since the ATM card. Stay away from currency exchanges if at all possible.

    Absolutely forget Traveler's Checks. Can't find anyone to take them any more.

    As GW22 said, call your credit card folks before you go and let them know when and where you'll be. This IS from personal experience. Had the card shut down one year while trying to pay for a B&B. Make sure you have the credit card's international number somewhere other than the wallet you keep the credit card in.

    Make copies of your passport and put them in your suit case. If you lose yours the American Embassy can help a lot better if you have copies.

    I RARELY carry my passport around with me. Almost all hotels have room safes. In the past 12 years or so, and having been in 20 or so different countries, I have never needed it after landing.

    Eat local food!

    Enjoy yourself.
     
  16. sernv99

    sernv99 Active Member

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    A visa is not needed for travel to and from countries in the EU. Visas are required for other countries.

    http://europa.eu/travel/doc/index_en.htm


    If you are in the capital of whatever country you go to or in a city with a US consulate, I would check in with the US Embassy or Consulate and notify them of your stay in the host country. This makes things easier in case of an emergency (random run in with the law, etc.).
     
  17. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

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    Take something to sanitize your hands, and use it all the time. They have colds there you've never been exposed too. Keep you hands clean and away from your face. Eat where the locals eat.
     
  18. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

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    OH! One other thing, Germany and some other countries must use old cardboard for toilet paper. I'm not kidding, it is really ruff on the tush. So, if you have a issue, if you know what I mean, be prepared with some good preparation as in "H" or something just as effective.....LOL
     
  19. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    You do NOT need a visa for the UK, France, Switzerland, or Germany.

    London - check out the high-end gun shops (do a Google search for London gun shops).

    I can put you in touch with the person I hunt with when there - he can provide deer (I've shot over 200 with him), rabbit, fox, and pheasant hunting. He is located about an hour west of London.

    There are a couple of nice gun shops in Lucerne - nice to visit. Try the Fondu and the Raclette. A day trip to one of the Alps is a fun thing too. Ask about the local shooting museum - almost every city has one and they are often impressive (usually small, local stuff, but fun to see).

    Paris is museums.

    Munich - great beer - you will miss Octoberfest. Might be worth a trip to one of the concentration camps. A side trip to Nuremberg and the Nazi Party rally grounds is truly worth the effort (a train ride of just over one hour).

    The English Garden is a summer gathering place - be prepared to see nude people on exceptionally warm days - the Germans are crazy for the sun...

    As Thomaslea1 said, language is important to Europeans. Try your best to speak the local language.
    The locals will respect the attempt to speak their language and will do their best to communicate. Speak only English and you will be shunned.
     
  20. Mike G

    Mike G Member

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    Opinions on the best (ease of use and understanding) travel books - Frommers, Steve's, Michelin or others. Thanks for all comments so far.

    Mike
     
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