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Odds and Ends


Miscellaneous Stuff to Make Your Travels a Little Easier

1. Dental floss has multiple uses:

Pack an extra box of dental floss with you. It makes for a great clothes line to dry sink washed clothes in your hotel room. It also is useful for tying packages for shipping.

2. Water Bottles:

Buy everyone a nice non-breakable water bottle and put names on them. Keep them topped off at every chance.

3. Suitcases:

International flyers are aloud 2 – 50 pound bags each plus a carry on and one personal item. So, even the baby and toddler get all bags. Going over the weight limit is very expensive. Spread your stuff out among everyone. If you are going to be a while in the country, then taking more can be better. Remember to leave one bag empty when traveling outbound for filling with souvenirs coming back inbound. Shipping items is pricey.

4. Money Belt:

If you do not have one, then get one and use it. Pick-pockets are everywhere and anywhere in most places. Rome was particularly bad. Keep minimal stuff in your wallet and extra cash in a belt like this.

5. Shoes:

Do not be a slave to fashion. Walking is tiring and demanding on your body. Invest in good, comfortable walking shoes. Save the heels for dining out. You want to enjoy the experience, not be in pain or tired.

6. Driving:

The European Union recognized the United States driver’s license and vice versa for 30 days. You can rent a car with no problem. However, public transportation in the E.U. is very good, so you might not want one. In the U.S. a car is advisable. In Costa Rica, renting a car is extremely expensive and driving is dangerous (seriously). They have a good bus system.

7. Language – Posted by guest blogger Philip Newkirk. Thank you!

It is important to learn a little of the language of the country you are traveling in.  Nancy and I are illiterate in five different languages (French, German, Greece, Spanish and Italian). We are also semi- illiterate in British English.  If you can learn the language, then by all means do so, as it will make your trip much more enjoyable.  If you can’t master a lot of the language, make sure you can say “Good Morning,” Please” and “Thank You.”  Almost everything else you can do by sign language, pointing or writing on a note pad.  Maybe rest room should be added to that list because I have never figured out an acceptable sign for that.

8. Notebook – Posted by guest blogger Philip Newkirk. Thank you!

When we were driving in Germany, I had planned our trip and used Map Quest to find the town of Rudesham.  After following the directions, we ended up in another town called Rudesham, but not the town on the Rhine River that we wanted.  After driving around this small village, we saw three ladies out walking.  We stopped and asked directions.  Of course we spoke only very limited German and they spoke no English.  This is where the note book comes in to play.  By pointing to the town that we wanted to reach, they were able to draw a map for us.  We did finally reach our hotel.  I really do not remember much about it, but I do remember the help we got in the small Germany town.

9. Credit Cards – Posted by guest blogger Philip Newkirk. Thank you!

Although we think that it can’t happen to us, pick pockets are everywhere and you can lose your wallet in a subway or on a crowed street.  If this happens to you, it can spoil not only your day, but the entire trip.  First, you must report this to the police and get a police report.  If you have a credit card, call immediately to report the lost or stolen cards.  The credit card companies will stop payment on the cards and you should not be charged for any purchases you did not make.  Nancy and I always carry different credit cards just for this purpose.  I did have my pocket picked on our last trip, but because Nancy had a different credit card, we were able to still enjoy the rest of the trip.

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