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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Monthly Rewind - September {What to Take to Europe}


I spent half of the month in Europe with Amanda (kevinandamanda.com). We visited Budapest, cruised down the Danube River and checked out Oktoberfest in Munich. I will post more about our trip the rest of this month. (You can see a sneak peak in the monthly collage above.)

Over the last 7 weeks, Amanda and I have spend 34 days together. Now, these were not your typical days together. I'm talking 24 hours a day together - for 34 days. The only time we were apart was when one of us was in the bathroom. If you like percentages, we spent almost 70% of the 7 weeks literally side-by-side. You know what? We are still friends! I'm not even sure I would still like Chicken Legs after that much time together!  :)

I want to share with you what I took to Europe. The electronics, my purse, credit cards, phone/internet, healthy and beauty items and snacks.
I learned a lot! I want to share my tips with you.




Keep reading for all of my tips!

Phone/Internet Usage

I unlocked my old iPhone.
I have ATT. I did the unlock request online here: https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/client/en_US/ 
It took about 2 days.

Once my phone was unlocked, I went and got service with T-Mobile.
They don't require a contract, and there were no activation fees.
I only had to pay $10 for a new SIM card.

T-Mobile offers unlimited international text/data.
I got the $80 plan. I wanted unlimited 4G.
The coverage was really good. 
I was out in the countryside of Sweden and never lost service.
I had great service all through out Sweden, the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria and Germany.


Miscellaneous
I bought this purse for my trips. It was fantastic! 
It was the perfect size and held tons of stuff.
The zippers locked and the strap is cut proof.
It is also RFID blocking, so your information won't get stolen. 
Comfortable shoes are a must! 
I loved these Clark's. They have tons of cute colors.

Lance Fresh Toast Chee 40 Pack Cheese and peanut butter sandwich crackers
I kept a pack of crackers in my purse at all times.
They came in handy a few times when I started to get hangry.
They were also good to snack on while on the plane.


Peanut Butter saved me at breakfast! 
Everywhere had bread, but the rest of the food wasn't my thing.
I busted out my peanut butter and started my day.
The tripadvisor app was a lifesaver! 
We used it to plan all our trips. 
We found hotels, tours and food all via the tripadvisor app.
We loved that you could find restaurants that were close to where you were.
It was also great to be able to sort by cuisine and price.
It is free, so go download it now!


Electronics
I never travel without my Anker. It charges my phone, iPad and little camera. 
Basically anything that charges with a USB cord.
Works with Apple and Android.
You will need plug adapters for your electronics. 
These adapters have two plugs in them - one on front and one on top. 
These really came in handy on the cruise ship. We only had two outlets in our room!
Just make sure your electronics are dual voltage so they don't short out.
Twelve South PlugBug World - All-in-one global adapter
I found this awesome charger. It charges my MacBook and my iPhone at the same time.
It has all the plug adapters included. You can take it anywhere!
It also charges my Anker!
It will charge any electronic that charges with a USB.

My regular hair dryer wasn't dual voltage. 
I bought this hair dryer and it worked great. 
You will need the plug adapters above to make it work in Europe.


Health and Beauty 
Most of the hotels we stayed in didn't have separate shampoo/conditioner/soap.
Most only had a bottle of liquid soap. A one-size fits all, if you will.
I was not a fan of the liquid soap.
I suggest bringing some travel shampoo, conditioner and bar soap.

Consider bringing a pack of washcloths. Most hotels didn't have any.
It is hard to use that liquid soap without a washcloth - it just falls off!

The river cruise ship provided shampoo, conditioner, soap and wash cloths.
I still used my travel sizes because I liked it better.

I also suggest bringing along a few packs of these new Ban Total Refresh Cloths.
They are perfect for when you get off the plane, or when you just didn't feel clean after using that liquid soap in the shower!

Don't forget to pack:
Excedrin/Ibuprofen
Pepcid/Antacids
Pepto Bismal
Allergy Medicine
Cold Medicine
Band-Aids
Sunscreen
Wet Wipes (please wipe down the tray in the airplane!)

Money and Credit Cards


The Vert App is a MUST for me when I am in Europe. 
It is a unit and currency converter. 
I love being able to pull up the currency converter and see how much something is.
 It updates the conversion rates every time I use it.
I used it every single day on my recent trips.

Debit Cards
Tell your bank your international travel dates so you can use your ATM card overseas.
I was able to do this online under the Customer Service Tab at my bank.
I didn't take cash with me. I just went to an ATM when I got in town.

Credit Cards
You really need a credit card with a chip.

Chip and PIN is what is most widely accepted.
The "Chip" is that gold thing on the left side of the card. PIN is just like your ATM PIN code.
To use it:
You insert the credit card, chip side first, into the card reader and plug in your PIN code.
It charges your card just like a regular credit card.
This method is much more secure because chip cards are hard to replicate and there is a PIN code as an added layer of protection.

A lot of places won't take anything but Chip and PIN cards.
 If you don't have credit card with Chip and PIN, you will have to use cash.

I know that USAA offers a Chip and Pin card, Chase has a Chip and Signature (works most places).
I also read that Sam's Club's credit card can be Chip and Pin.


Do you have any travel tips when traveling overseas?



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11 comments:

  1. I needed to see your list before I went to Europe last year.

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  2. Great information. Sad to think that once upon a time it was so much easier to travel to Europe. I can recall a time when we were served 2 to 3 meals on long flights. Our flights were usually throughout the globe not so much across the big pond but even then...you could expect breakfast and dinner. Nothing to write home about but food nonetheless.

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  3. I was wondering if you were going to include the cheese crackers! Too bad you can't bring Diet Coke with you, too!

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  4. Great post with a TON of great trips. I do a ton of overseas travel and think you did a really awesome job of covering the most important items!

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  5. I have GOT to get one of these chargers! Love it.

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  6. This is such a great resource!! The T-mobile phone and those chargers were a LIFESAVER!!!

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  7. Thank you so much Stephanie. I am interested in the purse and Plugbug world adaptor. My cross body purse was too small. Yours sounds perfect for my needs.

    Your trip sounds amazing and traveling for 34 days is unbelievable. Fourteen has been our longest trip.

    I will be posting my pics from France soon. Glad I found your blog. Thanks for answering my questions. That was very kind of you. I am going to enjoy your archives as time allows.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. Thanks for your advice on the T-mobile phone! T-mobile has increased their data so their $50 plan includes 2 GB. I found out that when you order online, they give the SIM card free of charge and waive an activation fee.

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