My in-laws recently returned from a lengthy trip to Europe. Before they left, the hubby and I had dinner with them and attempted to provide tips about what we’ve learned when traveling, including items to pack. I suppose the hubby and I are somewhat worldly in our travels. Together we have been to Spain, France, Switzerland, Gibraltar, and Italy. Separately, he’s been to Germany and I’ve been to England and the Philippines. (Yes, I know that is not in Europe.)
One of the first things the m-i-l mentioned upon returning from their adventures is how our tips really helped them. And she specifically mentioned a list of top 5 things we told her.
- Bring a washcloth if you enjoy such luxuries to bathe. Not all European nation hotels provide them. When we went to Italy, they didn’t exist. I used a bandana. What can I say? I like to scrub the street grime off me! And you will get grimy when you go to Europe.
- Bring coins with you when you go to use the restroom. Some places will charge you to use the restroom. We encountered this in France and Italy. Do you really want to do the pee-pee dance on your tour of European castles? Probably not. There’s no standard for the amount. Just bring a variety of coins.
- Use a cross-body purse. I actually let the m-i-l borrow the one I have for travel. It’s non-descript and will hang in front of you instead of under your arm. As long as you don’t get distracted by a duo of people trying to con you, you shouldn’t have trouble with a pickpocketing event if you use a smart purse.
- Bring a little packet of tissues with you… everywhere. This is another restroom thing. Do you know how to say, “Do you have a square to spare?” in Spanish? I don’t and I took 5 years of it. Quite frankly, not all of the public restrooms are well-maintained and if you are going to super-touristy locations, the TP may disappear before noon. I learned this lesson within an hour of landing in the Philippines and using the restroom at the airport. Luckily, I had my tissues with me.
- Don’t be surprised by the hole in the ground. This is another restroom thing. (I know, I know. I have a lot of restroom tips.) If you happen upon distinctly labeled toilets – I don’t mean “men” vs. “women.” A “Western Toilet” is what you want. Trust me. A non-Western toilet means a hole in the floor with maybe, MAYBE some areas of traction for your feet as you hover. I learned about this one on a layover in an airport in Japan. By the way, this is not exclusive to Japan. And you’re welcome.
There are so many more tips and tricks I could share but those are some of the biggies. Thoughts? Additions?