Since I just got back from a lovely week in Italy, and am off back to America for a bit soon, I thought I’d keep this travel focused this Thursday! Here are some things/tips that might come in handy the next time you take a trip.
Use-it maps, made by young people for young people. I wish I had discovered these when we went to Belgium, especially Leuven, it maps out the bars perfectly! Since it’s written by people from the cities in the know, you can find some hidden gems you may not have sussed out yourself. Not to mention none of the places pay to be on the maps, so you can be rest assured opinions are genuine. They are constantly adding new cities around Europe, so it’s worth checking out next time you’re off to explore a city.
A passport wallet is pretty much an essential for me, because not only do I tend to just throw it in my bag, I also have to bring my residency card to show with my passport every time we cross a border. This way my passport doesn’t get tatty and I slip my card in one of the slots in the holder. Even though you have to take your documents out of the holder to show them, it helps keep everything together and neat. (Adam actually got told off in America because his passport was in such rough shape and told he needed to get a new one haha.)
These city sightseeing hop-on hop-off buses can be your saviours. We didn’t get this particular company while we were in Rome, (but wished we had) as there were about ten to choose from and we went with the cheapest (not always the best option as the first day we had to wait quite a while for a bus to turn up!). I also got one in London with my mom and nana to go around on a night when our feet were too sore to walk any farther. In that case we just went around on the bus, but these are great travel tools as well since it pretty much drops you near all the main touristy things in a city, and you can get off and back on at any stops during your ticketed time. In smaller cities where you can walk around I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them, but for larger cities they are great. A bonus is they give you earphones and you can plug in while sat down (if you get a seat with working headphone jacks) and listen to a guided tour of what your passing around the city. You can get another perspective on these buses from Vicky as she tells you about her experiences with city sightseeing in Brussels, and also mooch around at her recent travels if you’d like.
My boyfriend swears by this language learning company, Linkword Languages. They have software, MP3’s and Android apps (no Apple unfortunately yet) that you can download and run through the modules as you please. Adam has taken the German course and is halfway through the Italian course and loved it. You learn different words by associating them with other words and remembering sentences using them. You aren’t going to learn enough to have debates in another language, but enough to get by on a trip if you’d like to learn a few phrases. It helped that when he had any questions the team at Linkwords were really helpful and super quick to get back to him. Great customer service wins us over every time.
I know it sounds a bit silly, but don’t forget a travel adapter, and make sure it is going to work for the country you are traveling to. I have a fujifilm one and it’s been brilliant, and lasted over five years and still going strong (my laptop has an American charger and I use this adapter in the UK for it). I wish mine had the usb hub a well as an extra which is why I’ve linked to this one, it’s only 5 pound more than the one I own, so why not? Also, if you do need to charge multiple appliances, camera battery, phones, etc, take a power strip. We learned the hard way quite a few European hotels that are budget friendly don’t have a lot of outlets in their bedrooms. Thus becoming a who charges what and what’s a priority. When there’s two of you, this can get ugly. Avoid fights, bring a multiple plug power strip.
So obviously this isn’t an exhaustive list of what you should bring/do on a holiday, just a few different ideas and tips. It goes without saying that I would bring my camera and back up SD cards as necessities (at least to me because I’m a picture taking fiend) .
What are some of your travel essentials? Do you have any cool travel resources to share?