the travel game

How and what to pack?

Money?

All of Europe uses the Euro (EXCEPT for England and Switzerland). Here is a handy site for exchange rates. You can use your credit cards nearly everywhere in Europe. The newer ones with a pin and chip work the best. You can let cash out of ATM machines easily too. One word of caution. Before you go, make sure you check your credit card’s terms for foreign exchange fees. Some are fee-free, others hit you with up to 5 percent fees. So please please please check. Try not to carry a ton of cash on you, as you would not do here.

Phones?

Every student on our Study Abroad MUST have their own working cell phone in Europe, to allow calls and texting. This is how we can stay in touch, and also for safety. T-Mobile phones work well in Europe, as do AT&T. Please check with your cell provider well before you leave about the plans, and if you maybe need to get a rent-a-phone for Europe or a SIM card to make things work.

WiFi?

Our apartments and the ACCENT centers have free WiFi for us. But everywhere else you will A) not have it, B) have to pay for it. Europe is stingy with Wifi, pretty different than what we’re used to. So maybe get used to being offline for a bit 🙂

Navigating our airports:

Prof. Gerstner’s travel advice:

  • Bring a nylon grocery/duffel bag or two, ones that collapses into nothing. It’s going to come in handy for grocery shopping. In Europe, grocery bags are not provided at nearly all stores, or if available, cost money. Bring your own, be prepared and save.
  • Bring a few adapters. You never know when you lose one. (cheap at Target)
  • Bring a few gallon size baggies. Good for storing stuff you collect on the way.
  • Make copies of your credit cards, front and back, and scan them to your email. That way if you lose/get them stolen, you have the info handy – stashed in your email account.
  • Do the same with the photo page of your passport – scan and stash in email.
  • Make a few copies of your passport page, and store in luggage.
  • LABEL your suitcase with ID tag on front, and info inside on a small piece of paper (ID tags can get ripped off suitcases). LOCK your suitcases (again locks at Target are good.)
  • Have a smaller bag, like a carry on/backpack, that you can use for your day/weekend trips.
  • PACK LIGHT. The more you take, the more you schlep.
  • Shoes: skip the heels. You don’t need them. Pack shoes that you can walk miles in, and ones that match most of what you’re going to wear.
  • If you need a blowdryer…get a light and cheap one (and see if you can share with roomies!). The apartments will not have blowdryers.
  • If you take medications (over the counter or prescription), bring it with you. Hard to get the same stuff in Europe. If you need to take it, bring it. And bring enough.
  • Bring a small travel umbrella. We’re going rain or shine.
  • Bring some stuff like a small first aid kit: band aids, Advil/motrin, something for upset tummies, some Neosporin. You never know when you need to do some 911 on yourself.
  • You can buy any toiletry or personal hygiene product on Europe…but know it will cost more. Sticker shock is in effect, as they don’t have a CVS. A lot of stuff is divided between grocery stories and the pharmacy stores.