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Author Topic: Traveling Tips
keoki_14
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Hey, guys...

I'm leaving for Germany in 9 days! I'm so excited! I'm going to Munich and Salzburg. It'll be so much fun! I'm going with my German class, and we're touring with a company called ACIS

Anyway... I'm just looking for some additional tips in packing, preparations, etc.

It would be cool to see if anyone else has traveled with a school group, or a foreign exchange program too. What was is like?

It would be greatly apprieciated.

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Gumdrop Girl
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candy, batteries for my radio, underwear and socks. spare rubber bands for my hair in case one breaks (lost on in argentina, had to buy another one, and it cost me!). yeah, that works nicely.

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Posts: 12677 | From: Los Angeles, CA ... somewhere off the 10 | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
alaska
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yay for coming to germany, hon! I remember you first talked about this trip...oh, what...8 months ago?

I've travelled lots, actually (yay!) on school trips all over Europe, alone, with friends, on student exchanges...

Most importantly: know where you go and be prepared. I strongly recommend taking a travel guide, even though you'll be in a group. I really like the "rough guide" series for Germany, even though I reckon for you, a smaller guide just on Bavaria might be enough. Both Lonely Planet and Let's Go aren't that good for Germany.
Another good idea would be to get a little travel dictionary with phrases - most people over here speak english, but it sure will be well perceived if you try to communicate in german when buying a beer and a bretzel in Muünchen.

Only pack as much as you can carry and use a bag that works for you. I prefer my travel backpack to any suitcase or trolley thing. But it depends on personal preference, really. You probably won't need all the things you pack initially, so once you've packed, take out at least a third. Only things you can never have enough: clean undies and socks. And leave room for souvenirs you might want to bring home.

And enjoy, keoki! I hope you'll have a good time over here!

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Posts: 4526 | From: germany | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
emsily0
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Bring a disposable camera, not a real one. I lost my mother's camera at a bar in Germany. I was not pleased (and neither was she!).

Also, I was on a 10-day trip to Holland and Germany, and i brought all the clothes I could carry, and it still wasn't enough. It's not that I am a fashion addict, I just require clean pants every once in awhile. Ugh.

A towel. Well, I don't know if you're staying in youth hostels at all, but we did, and I forgot to bring a towel. It was bad news. Fortunately someone brought an extra, but it coulda been ugly.

Candy. Powerbars. Compact foody things. My first night I was completely miserable because the hostel served only this disgusting green soup that night for dinner, and I could not stand it.

If you can buy a cheap phone card here (like with a certain number of prepaid minutes) that would be good. When I was in Germany, some of the phones didn't take change at all, just something called a "Eurocard" that you slide through. So I bought one, but not all phones take those either so it was basically a waste of money. Bring your own phone card so you can call mommy and daddy, but make sure it will work for international calls.

Oh yes and a CD player or walkman, and extra batteries. Bus/plane rides can get long and sleepy.

em

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BruinDan
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Sounds like fun, keoki! One thing that I really valued when I went to Europe was sunscreen. I cannot stress it enough. I had a devil of a time finding the stuff in the small towns I was staying in, and a few days of walking around in the sun made me realize how much I truly needed it.

And one other thing...if you venture south of Munich at all, stay away from my evil ex-girlfriend. LOL

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star1120
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i went to france for 3 weeks last summer with my french class. the one single thing that i have to say is if you have a credit card, or cash, store it in a hard to reach place. i say this because i got pick pocketed, be very cautious in touristy areas. my 2 friends and i were eating lunch on mont martre and there were guys selling keychains and little things all over the place, one came up to me and my friends, actually, 2 did. well, my bookbag and purse were on my right, where they were. one showed me this crude keychain and was winking at me and it was nasty. i felt my bags move so i grabbed them... i stood up and asked my friends if we could leave. not 20 minutes later, we were in a little shop and i wanted to see how many francs i had before i had to go to a bank machine. i looked in my purse and my little change purse that had my money and card in it, was gone... i looked in my purse and bookbag each like 3 times. i soon found a phone and called my mom to have her cancel my card.
i was so upset, i felt stupid because everyother time, i put that change purse in a little pocket in the back of my purse on the inside and earlier that day, at the eiffel tower, i was lazy and put it in an outside pocket. grr...
but i was lucky to have been with a great group, we still had a week left and the next day at an amusement park, someone said "sam, do you have *any* money?" i said no and she handed me 100 francs (approx 20 bucks) then another handed me 50, then 200, then 100, another 50... and probably a few more. that lasted me through the week for necessities and souveniers. i was very grateful and when we went back to school i wrote thank you cards and paid them all back!
that's my story and i hope you have better luck in germany! have fun and be safe!

ps- i got into the amusement park with a ticket that a girl's mom that was on the trip bought for me... we got her address and sent her the money later that summer...hehe
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" Life move pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller

[This message has been edited by star1120 (edited 06-12-2001).]


Posts: 183 | From: ohio, usa | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
keoki_14
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Thanks, you guys. This will help me a little bit. I'm going to have a blast!

For money... My Mom is getting me a prepaid debit card and some German/Austrian money. Oh yeah, and I know to keep my money in a safe place. I went to NYC earlier this year, and they really drilled that in.

For packing... It's going to be a tough one because I'm not exactly sure what the weather is going to be like. I've been looking around and it ranges from 60-70 degree weather. I don't want to have to bring pants and shorts for the whole week. It'll be a pain. I do know that it's rainy though. I've got that part covered.

For the plane... I'm definitely bringing my discman and a bunch of CD's. I'm going to bring cards, a magazine, a book, and an extra pair of clothes. I just have to figure out how to fit it all in!

For photos... I don't know if I'm going to take my camera or not. I don't really like the way throw-aways take photographs. I know to be careful, so... I'm not sure yet.

For extras... I'm taking extra pads/tampons, batteries, razors, film, sunscreen, towels, etc. All this American stuff that can be really expensive in Germany. Heh, it's expensive here too.

For food... I'm going to take some snacks on the plane, but other than that, no. We're eating in snazzy places, and we've got pretty good hotels too. So I don't have to worry about that. Heh, the only thing that I do have to worry about is bringing the Pepto Bismal. I like trying foreign foods, and LOTS of it! Hehe.

Keep the suggestions coming if you can think of anything brilliant! Or anything we forgot!

8 more days!!!!

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Sarcasmic, orgasmic, fantasmic...


Posts: 620 | From: Columbia, MD, USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
alaska
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Keoki, hon, it's actually getting nice and warm and non-rainy at the mo over here (even though that can change quite rapidly) but I'd recommend you bring both shorts and some normal pants.

I think you can take your normal camera without a prob. Pick-pocketing in the tourist areas in austria and germany is not worse to the US, I think. France and Italy are a totally different story though. Just look after your things like you would at home.

And in regards to extras: good onya about the batteries and films (and make sure you check the battery in your camera). But with tampons: I really suggest you shop for tampons over here! By law, all tampons (even brands youd recognize from the US) have to be all-cotton, so in case you want to ditch the evil rayon ones from home, shop for some over here.


Posts: 4526 | From: germany | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sallynha
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Ehehe I've travelled a lot too, mainly around Europe, but I've also been to NY once

Here's some general tips:

* If you have a credit card, that's a good thing to take, travel light and you don't have to worry so much about money.

* Whether you take a credit card or not, a good thing to do with money is to not keep it all in the same place. Of course some countries have more reputation than others regarding pickpocketing, but it's always good to prevent things from happening. Some suggestions would be to have some in your wallet, then you can save the rest in an envelope or a little bag and keep it in different places. But don't forget where you put it!

* Another thing I always do, is take a small notepad or something like that, and write down some useful info, like the address of where you live + phone nr, and the address from where you go and possibly phone nr's too. Also note down how much money you take, and each time you purchase anything that's not little expenses, note down so you can keep track of your money and be sure you're the only one spending it. You can write on the notepad also some info about the places you're going to, like emergency phone nr's and stuff like that, or even write down a list of places you think you'd like to visit (when you're not with the group).

* Don't take too many clothes. It might seem difficult to decide what to take, but if you know the usual general weather conditions, it's easy to pack. For example, I don't know for how long you're going, but usually if you take like 2 or 3 bottom parts (jeans, shorts, skirts, or dress), and a top part for each day, that will be enough. Bear in mind that the bottom parts should be jeans or something practical, and if you decide to take shorts or skirts, take always a pair of jeans cause it can get chilly sometimes.

* Take comfortable shoes and not new ones, if possible 2 or 3 *different* pairs (and not, for example, 3 pairs of all stars, like I did once, that's the same as 1 pair only), so you can change around. These trips will include a lot of walking, and if you wear the same shoes everyday you'll get nasty blisters and those are hard to get rid of eheh *personal experience*

* Of course, take enough clean underwear

* If the weather is hot and it's sunny, do take a hat or something to protect your head, and some good sunscreen with a high protection factor too. I live in Portugal and there are lots of European (esp. Brit and German) and Americans tourists around, and they always look like lobsters for walking around without any sort of protection against the sun. That is not healthy and you're risking the odds of skin cancer.

* Take a set of towel(s) and bathing products. Most hotels provide those but you should be staying in youth hostels or such, and it's always good to use our own things.

* Some advice that's already been given: take a reasonably sized bag that you can carry by yourself. It's always a good idea, esp. if you're travelling by plane, to take an extra smaller bag with you with your personal things, like 2 sets of underwear, 2 t-shirts/tops, all your money and valuable belongings, hygiene products, any pills/medication that you must take, etc... because in case your luggage gets lost you'll have enough things to survive the 1st days until you get you bag I lost my luggage once, and I had to live on the same pair of underwear and clother for 4 days until they returned the luggage! Not easy!! Also, one of my friends really lost her luggage, and she had like lots of expensive pairs of shoes and clothing there... try to take practical things.

* Take some envelopes and writing material in case you want to write someone or send a postcard... Also a good idea to think ahead and note down on the notepad the people you'd like to send a postcard.

* If the trip is long, take magazines, books, gameboy, cd player (and extra batteries), or something to entertain you during the boring times eheheh

* Always a good idea to buy a phone card as soon as you get there *and* some sort of pass for the public transport. Most public transport in Europe is expensive (buying on the transport itself), so it's really worth to have either a pass or tickets bought in advance.

* Take all the necessary documents in a separate envelope/bag and keep them together so you don't loose any.

* As someone said before, even if you're travelling in a group, it's always a good idea to have some idea of the areas you're going to visit. If you don't want to spend the money on travel guides, go to a library or search the internet for some local info, such as places to see/go, traditional food/souvenirs/places, and possibly tips of do's and don'ts for each are.

* Also good to be familiar with the currency of the country you're going, can spare time afterwards.

* Someone said something about cameras, but remember if you take one, take also some extra film so you don't have to buy any while you're away, as they can be quite pricy.

* Not sure this is your case, but in case you're gonna stay in a familly house or visit someone (relatives, or other), it's nice to bring a souvenir from your country

Ok... I think that's all eheh If I remember more I'll come around again.

Have a good trip and enjoy

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~Sallynha

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Posts: 390 | From: * my own little shell * | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
keoki_14
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Thanks for reminding me about camera batteries. I would've totally forgotten, and I think it's running low too. That would've sucked a lot.

I'm not too worried about the pick-pocketing. I'm pretty informed.

Any about the tampons, I just don't want to have to worry about buying more. Like, I don't want to be "No, we have to get more tampons first!" Hehe, I probably wouldn't do that, but you know...

It stinks that I'll most likely be on my period while I'm in Germany. I don't like to be in different places when I'm on my period. For instance, I was in NYC when I was on my period. I got really bad cramps when we were in the Empire State Building. Heh, the air at the top felt good, but once I got to the bottom of the building and on the bus I had an asthma attack. So, yeah... It's just a pain. But I won't have all that stuffy city air, so...

I CAN'T WAIT!!!!

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BJadeT
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I went to Italy with school in February and it was brilliant. Very very good. Bleh-the worsat thing about going on holiday is coming back and then thinking of it later when your stuck inside, in the rain, pretending to be revising!
Anyway, I would say don't forget:
*Elastoplast, especially if you're doing a lot of walking round and exploring, blisters are bound to happen!
*Pain killers. Not that I'm an addict, but period pains and headaches can really spoil your fun. And if you don't need them, someone else will. We had a little medical supplies pool in our room (the same applies for elastoplast and sanitary protection).
*Enough film for your camera, or if you're going to use a disposable, enough disposables. I used up all my film before our last night, which was definitely the best bit.
*Somewhere SAFE to store your money. I learnt this the hard way as I lost 50 000 lire on the streets of Sorrento (not as much as it sounds but still pretty annoying for a skint 15 year old who still had train tickets and presents to buy). You also want somewhere safe to store your passport and documents, because chances are you'll have to carry them around to get into places.
*A diary or notebook. You want to get everything that happens down on paper, so you'll always remember it. Grrr I didn't do that either.
*ENOUGH KNICKERS. Stupid stupid stupid me did not pack enough underwear, and was forced to make the decision between flying home in manky knickers I'd worn the night before and a not too comfortable thong. I chose the manky knickers, but only after almost of an hour running around the hotel shouting that I had no knickers and banging on the doors to see if anyone would give me knickers or at least a pantyliner. Ah, memories.

Anyway, have fun, meet lots of nice new people and enjoy yourself!


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Sallynha
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I came back and Jade's post reminded me of something I think no-one's mentioned yet:

-> along with painkillers, it's always good to take some medicine, (I don't know the english words for those, so I'll list as I can):

* anything for diarrea - when you're not used to the food that's not rare to happen;

* also anything for nausea, sickness and such;

* something for sore throat and the like (here we have Mebocaina, but I don't think it's the same name over there). They're like square pills that you don't swallow, just eat like a mint candy for cough (sorry I can't remember the word for those ehehe).

If you don't need it (and hopefully that's the case), there's always someone who'll need it. I remember when I was in NY with school on Easter 1999 (I guess), when we arrived temperatures were very high, then over the days they went lower and lower and everybody had throat problems, and I'd taken these Mebocaina (kind of) pills, and they really were great Everybody became a fan

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Posts: 390 | From: * my own little shell * | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
keoki_14
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Yes, medication is a good idea, except that I have to be really careful on what I bring along because of our school's policies, and such. It is a good idea though. Especially if I'll most likely be on my period. Cramps are not fun at all.

Oh, and what you're talking about are cough supressants. Such as Halls. That's a good idea.

And I'm most definitely going to take stomach medication. All those rich, different foods! And there's no way I'm going to let my stomach ruin my trip.

Well, thanks guys.

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Country Girl
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In my travels, I actually found the most helpful things to be a roll of heavy duty tape (you NEVER know when your bag may burst!) and a piece of rope (about 6 feet long) for drying clotes. The rope is great! Just tie it up somewhere in the room and hang your clothes on it. Piece of cake! ...errr...rope. Dramamine is good as is Tylenol, etc..

I have been to China as well as numerous countries in Europe. The one to China was the most memorable for me as it was totally different than what I was expecting and we really got the chance to explore. I have also been to Germany in with the Europeon travels but I don't remember much of it as it was in '96. Have fun, though! Take lots of pictures and always be aware of who's around you. You never know.

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keoki_14
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Thanks to all of you who contributed. I've pretty much got it all covered. Thanks!

I LEAVE TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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SlowCookie
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Have fun and safe trip, keoki!
Posts: 681 | From: Florida, USA | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
alaska
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Have a fun & safe trip, keoki!

The weather reports for the coming days look good, so you'll hopefully get to see Neuschwanstein in sunny weather!

Got any plans for Saturday? If not, hop over here, tis my birthday party!


Posts: 4526 | From: germany | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
keoki_14
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Unfortanetly, I am traveling with a group, so therefore I couldn't visit you, Alaska. Heh, on the other hand... I don't have to worry about paying for dinner.

Well, happy birthday, Alaska! I'll be sure to enjoy the weather, and everything else for that matter.

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Sarcasmic, orgasmic, fantasmic...


Posts: 620 | From: Columbia, MD, USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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