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LOWFATFOODIE's Photo LOWFATFOODIE Posts: 1,055
5/28/12 3:00 P

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Thanks JB - was specifically wondering about the converter... Need to keep ipad and phone charged, for sure.
Definitely a fan of stuff sacks and ziplocks. Still trying to figure out the comfortable vs not sloppy wardrobe vs easy to pack. I have two convertible(zip apart to shorts) "technical" fabric hiking pants that I suspect will be my "everyday" wear. I have vowed no tshirts or jeans (heavy anyway and give me away as an American). Trying to decide on my technical fabric shirts- long sleeve black vneck is definitely in, but the rest have seams and color patches that make them stand out as workout wear. They dry and breathe so nice though!

Also, need to buy a new swimsuit anyway, so wondering whats most appropriate.

Thanks HD- wasnt too worried about the church wear- I generally just take pix on the outside.

Shoes are also my dilemma, dont want to pack too many, but definitely need my hiking boots and tevas (wish I could do " leather sandals" to seem more european, but i need more structure to my footwear and simply cant afford them anyway).
Trying to work out if a small black slip on 11/2 "heel sandal will be dressy enough for most restaurants and occasions or if I need some kind of flat.

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JBINAUSTIN's Photo JBINAUSTIN SparkPoints: (0)
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5/28/12 12:35 A

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Oh, and an electrical outlet adapter if you're taking any electronic devices. They're light. You probably don't need a power converter/transformer, which is very heavy.

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5/28/12 12:34 A

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Pack things that don't wrinkle or that aren't seen (undies, six, bathing suits) in ziplock bags. You can squeeze the air out of them to shrink pack them, so they take up less room, plus bags make them easier to find in your pack.

Clothes that are hand washable and dry quickly are good. The 'technical' fabrics they make for workout gear are great. Some are even dressy enough for Europe. (in Europe, they dress nicer than your average American tourist.) Don't take things that need to be dry cleaned; it's horribly expensive.

Check whether your favorite over the counter medications are OTC in Europe. And take a little extra of your prescription meds, in case you decide to extend your trip of get delayed for some reason. Get a prescription for antibiotics in case of traveler's diarrhea; your doctor will prescribe some just in case.

Make sure your credit card doesn't charge you extra fees for using it in other countries. There are a few that don't (CapitalOne, for example). Otherwise, you'll pay 3% more for everything.

Having a piggy pack pack is great. That's a pack with a removable mini-pack attached. That way, you have a small pack for day use.

Enjoy your trip.

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HOLISTICDETOXER's Photo HOLISTICDETOXER SparkPoints: (0)
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5/27/12 1:09 P

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Note: I have NEVER been asked to cover my head in a church. From mosques in Istanbul to Catholic churches in Italy to nunneries in Romania, as long as I've had a skirt that is close to knee-length and a shoulder covering I've been fine. I've also visited lots of churches without covering my knees or shoulders and seen many locals wearing similar clothing inside (just prepare for the possibility of being asked to leave, and leave if asked... not that anyone has ever asked me). I typically use a cropped cardigan to cover my shoulders- I have one similar to this (see link) but that is a little more cropped and that buttons up, and it's so tiny that I can bunch it up into a little ball in my purse for "if needed". I also schedule "modest" activities like visiting religious sites back-to-back, when possible, so that I can ditch the cardigan for the rest of my day.

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Stats: Female, 5'4", 28 years old.

Goal: From 152 (07/24/2011) to 125 by December, 2011. DONE! December 4th weighed in at 124. In 2012 I've been maintaining around 122, which is a thirty pound loss. My BMI has gone from 26.1 to 20.9 since following the Spark plan!

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LOWFATFOODIE's Photo LOWFATFOODIE Posts: 1,055
5/20/12 1:13 P

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Thanks HD... Hugely helpful, particularly the info on the phone (trying to figure out how to buy one there) and the things you take. I need to remember a custom first aid kit. I havent had time to practice pack, getting a little freaked on on time remaining....

I get asked all the time if Im getting a EurRail pass snd I have to explain to people how wildly expensive they actually are.

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HOLISTICDETOXER's Photo HOLISTICDETOXER SparkPoints: (0)
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5/20/12 12:36 P

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Oh, I also carry a first aid kit with lots of bandages, antibacterial ointment, hydrocortisone cream, allergy medication, painkillers, condoms and the morning after pill. This summer I'm also going to bring some of that stuff you dab on your feet to prevent blisters.

And TAMPONS! Western Europe isn't bad, but Eastern Europe is terrible for tampons. They're all OB! If you like applicators, bring your own.

Edited by: HOLISTICDETOXER at: 5/20/2012 (12:36)
Stats: Female, 5'4", 28 years old.

Goal: From 152 (07/24/2011) to 125 by December, 2011. DONE! December 4th weighed in at 124. In 2012 I've been maintaining around 122, which is a thirty pound loss. My BMI has gone from 26.1 to 20.9 since following the Spark plan!

* * I'm looking for Spark Friends - add me! * *


 current weight: 122.0 
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HOLISTICDETOXER's Photo HOLISTICDETOXER SparkPoints: (0)
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5/20/12 12:33 P

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I carry a 70-litre pack but 15 of that is the daypack, which I don't fill. So I work with 55 litres. I usually pack about four pairs of flip-flops (including two that are anatomically moulded for my feet and one pair that is white that I only wear inside hostels), a pair of flats and a pair of running shoes. Last summer I also packed heels, but this year I'm hoping jeweled flip-flops will get me into the clubs (if not I'll grab some cheap heels at the market). I pack two or three dresses, three or four skirts, a pair of jeans, a pair of leggings, about ten tank tops, three sweaters and one jacket. A pair of shorts to wear hiking. Two knee-length nightshirts for sleeping. Only three pairs of socks or so. Two bikinis, a one-piece, a cover-up. A few bras, lots of panties. I bring a blow-dryer and straightening iron, shampoo, conditioner, leave-in treatment, wide-tooth comb, body wash, shave cream, lots of sunscreen, two kinds of face wash, body lotion, perfume, facial moisturizer, makeup, deodorant, razor with extra blades, nail clippers, toothbrush in holder, toothpaste. A day purse and a small night purse, my camera, charger, an extra battery, notebook, a few pens, small souvenirs to give to children (pencils with my country's flag, stickers, balloons, etc.), folding hair brush, old cell phone and charger... I don't like thinking this much!

I never buy train passes and always buy point-to-point tickets; from living in Europe I've found that is cheapest. I stay in hostels whenever possible, and when it's not possible I'll often look for other backpacker who might want to share a hotel room. I only go to "attractions" if they're either cheap or super-interesting to me. I've been to Naples and not the archeological museum, Bucharest and not the Palace of Parliament, etc. I'm probably happier wandering around a random neighborhood than I am in a museum. I travel to learn about how people live, not to go to amusement parks or on guided tours along with a million other tourists.

I have an old cell phone that is quad-band; I recently got it unlocked (by a guy on a street corner in Mexico!) and I'm planning to bring it on my holiday this summer. In the past I've gone to the sketchy part of town (like, Raval in Barcelona, for example) and bought a cheap phone at one of the little stores run by North African immigrants, and then bought a Vodaphone SIM card for it. If you do this, make sure the guy selling it shows that it will work on any network- he should demonstrate with two SIM cards from different companies. Vodaphone can usually set up your account so that when you call in to top up your balance the menu is in English (and so is the help menu, etc.).

Stats: Female, 5'4", 28 years old.

Goal: From 152 (07/24/2011) to 125 by December, 2011. DONE! December 4th weighed in at 124. In 2012 I've been maintaining around 122, which is a thirty pound loss. My BMI has gone from 26.1 to 20.9 since following the Spark plan!

* * I'm looking for Spark Friends - add me! * *


 current weight: 122.0 
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YIGOBUTTERFLY's Photo YIGOBUTTERFLY SparkPoints: (264,976)
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5/14/12 7:09 P

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I write the call up numbers in my pocket calendar so when I get to an airport I just type it into the console. I have departure time, etc., all in the same space for each flight as well as arrival time. I realize you plan to backpack but going and coming is easier that way and the calendar is great for other things.

Have a wonderful trip!



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HOPENJ16's Photo HOPENJ16 Posts: 294
5/14/12 6:33 P

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Yep, ALDI actually originated in Europe! It's nice to find a place that is familiar.

Anyway, the other thing I was going to add is, depending on your connectivity while traveling, you can save yourself a lot of paper by scanning or emailing info to yourself and then printing it out as you go. I'd have copies of all your major stuff, like tickets, with you, but for more day to day stuff you can go that way if you'll be able to get on the internet.

DORINAKT's Photo DORINAKT Posts: 157
5/14/12 2:55 A

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Have fun along the way !

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LOWFATFOODIE's Photo LOWFATFOODIE Posts: 1,055
5/14/12 12:43 A

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Thanks all for the well wishes.
Thanks Barb for all the great suggestions-- wonderful- several new ones for me. I too am a fan of the plastic baggies.
Don't worry, I read fluent "typo" as I also have an ipad.

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CD10270913 SparkPoints: (0)
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5/13/12 10:31 P

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Ugh!!! So sorry about the typos below. Hope you can figure out some of the errors:(

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5/13/12 10:26 P

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Hi, what a fun trip!!!!! I have gone to China, London and Paris on separate trips using only a rolling backpack! It is definitely the way to go. You will need a lightweight, nylon, jacket (windbreaker type) invaluable for rain, warmth, pillow etc. With a hood, if possible. ..
Most Europenas wear a good leather shoe,or sandal Metophiso makes a great shoe and they are made in Europe. They are sturdy, attractive and comfortable , but a bit pricey, but will last forever. I used them overseas in Moldova and Russia for rough walking and churches.
I always, always, always sew men's replacement pockets in the waistbands of pants, skirts and in the back collar of shirts. Why? They are about a foot long. Inside, I place my airplane tickets, extra money or whatever. I also put a Velcro strip on the side of the opening. When I fly i put my larger bills in the one down my back and slip on a light jacket. Money is safe, unseen and it's great.
I have been robbed and beaten overseas once, but they didn't get any money! Also, we did an international adoption and had to take all cash. I felt like a walking Ft. Knox and had money hidden everywhere.
My best advice is take the time to prepare your stuff, practice packing, then unpack and get rid of half. You can make it fine with very little.
Black pants, not jeans can go many places, tank tops (modest) sithna think shirt can serve as individual outfits or sets. I was able to make 15 outfits out of barely anything. A large pashma or sarong is great for shoulders, wrap around skirt, blanket, head covering etc.

An invaluable tip is to take some medicated powder (Bond's) Excellent for dirty clothes when you can't wash them right away, underarm shirts, undies, socks etc. Rub in and air over night. gets rid of orders and clothes are fresh. A little goes a long way.
I would take a good moisturizer. On my last trip to London, I did not take any and really had a hard time finding one that helped my skin. My skin got so dry and parched, it actually hurt.

I would take an empty quart-sized plastic water bottle. You cannot take the water through security, but you can fill itnup after you gomthrough security. Drink. drink drink! Fill it up and take it on the plane. Drink what the airlines offer first, then go to your bottle.
Take eye drops and lip balm form the plane.

I also roll some toilet paper in rolls of about 1" great for slipping into your pocket when you go somewhere and their isn't any. An easy way to roll the paper is slip a roll on a broom handle and place the handle between two chairs and make your little pouches. Imalso pack them in individual snack baggies. Speaking of which take some quart sized baggies along and also some Wal-mart plastic bags. You can buy bread and cheese along the way and use your baggies to save some for later.
If you folld your Wal mart bags into small triangles, you can stash them anywhere.
Fold the bafpgmin half, lengthwise, smooth out, then fold in half lengthwise again. Make sure younget allmthe air out.. Take the r. edge of your bag and fol it over to the left side ofmthe bad, making a triangle, continue folding and smoothing all the way tom the end.. When you get to the end (open end) fold over and ruck the edge under the seam. Nice little, lightweight, helpful triangles!!

I would definitely take some moleskin and foot bandages. I took some the last trip, but they were not enough. I really had a hard time finding something and when I did, It was sky-high.
You will have to buy scissors overseas and leave them there when you leave , unless you check your baggage. The great thingmwith a rolling backpack it that it went as carry on with me. the bad part was the limited amount of liquid Incould carry on board.

Don't take fancy luggage, jewelry, watches etc. YOU WILL BE A TARGET if you do.
Good tom have a good lock for your backpack, so that you do not get pick pocketed . If you get the backpack with wheels you life will be much easier. I found a great one at Walmart for $19.99, black and grey and have taken it abroad 6-7 times. You can put it on your back if you don't want to roll it.
If you get motion sickness, get some sea bands. .theynare $10 a set at most drugstores.You place then 2 finger widths from your palm with the button side on the inside of your wrist.
Something useful, but it depends on you. . .is a sleeping sack. I went to the thirst store and bought a bunch of silk shirts for a totalmof about $5 or less. I cut off the collars and sleeves and sewed them into a sleeping bag. It was very lightweight, totally multi colored. ha! ut silk is very warm. You can climb inside of it if you get cold or use in in your bed in a hostel. You can either roll it or bundle pack it in your bag laying it out open and packing side it, then folding the edges up and around yourmstuff. It's not necessary, it just depends on your schedule or where you'll be staying.

When I need to travel light, I weight and measure everything. I cut off unnecessary edges of paper, wrappers etc. Remember everything has weight and you get to carry it. I trim down the edges of my papers, notes, the whole bit. It's a lot of work but worth it.
Don't forget to make extra copies of your passport ticket etc. photocopy on both sides and trim down, You can keep an extra copymin one of those hidden pockets. Don't keep everything together. Don't take a purse, don't look flashy, don't speak English loudly on the streets.

I would check out the Euro or other kind of money. I made a small conversion chart of their money= to my money. True, it can change, but at least you have an idea before you start buying ornhaving to figure it out.

Well, I guess I've talked a bit much for now. I apologize in advance for the typing and structure. I'm using an I-Pad and it doesn't always type what or how I do. I'm also hitting the send button without rereading because of time. So, hope it all makes sense. Lucky you. Have a wonderful time, be careful of street gypsies and groups of kids, don't take any papers or stop to chat with beggars etc. It can be very dangerous. Enjoy! Enjoy! Write about your adventure when you get back!! Blessings,
.Barb

Edited by: CD10270913 at: 5/13/2012 (22:28)
DUBLINDIETITIAN's Photo DUBLINDIETITIAN Posts: 2,524
5/13/12 9:59 P

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I have no tips, but just want to say HAVE FUN! Sounds so exciting, and I hope you'll share what you learn for future packers :) I hope to do an extended packing trip like yours in a few years, and will definitely be looking for ideas as well!!

~Kate

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LOWFATFOODIE's Photo LOWFATFOODIE Posts: 1,055
5/13/12 9:11 P

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Jane, thanks for the tip on churches- didn't know that.
Thanks for the tips so far, I look forward to more.
Yes, I have Rick Steves books but looking for another perspective.

They have Aldi in Europe? Wow. Definitely taking small everything to refill. Its only 9 days until I stay with a friend, so thats the extent of shampoo/toiletries I need and then she will be able to take me somewhere non-touristy for refills.

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HOPENJ16's Photo HOPENJ16 Posts: 294
5/13/12 7:26 P

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Rick Steves has some great advice on packing light for travel around Europe. It basically boils down to doing laundry often and selecting essential pieces of clothing that can work in multiple situations.

From my own experience, many day to day toiletries can be bought as you go, so I wouldn't carry more than a small tube/bottle of each to start with. But a lot depends on your situation and where you'll be staying at certain times- if you have to buy shampoo in a tourist-only area, you'll pay a lot, but if you can get to a local store like ALDI then you'll do ok.

Oh, and have a GREAT trip- I'm totally jealous!! :)

Edited by: HOPENJ16 at: 5/13/2012 (19:27)
YIGOBUTTERFLY's Photo YIGOBUTTERFLY SparkPoints: (264,976)
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5/13/12 7:25 P

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If you plan to visit some of the old Catholic churches a head covering (scarf), and a skirt. You can slip the skirt over your long pants or shorts for the time you are inside. A change of shoes, extra socks and at least three pair of underwear.

I have not back packed but have learned to keep some essentials with me in case my main luggage does not arrive which has happened more times than I care to think about.

Jane



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LOWFATFOODIE's Photo LOWFATFOODIE Posts: 1,055
5/13/12 7:09 P

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Hi all- in just a few weeks I will be headed over to Italy, Switzerland, and France (from the US) taking only a single backpack. I will be in cities and countryside, walking, or taking trains & buses, staying in hostels, friends, b&bs and camping huts.

For those who have backpacked or had to carry their own luggage from place to place--- I'd love to see your list of essentials that you chose to pack. I'm starting to practice pack and want to make sure I get the necessities without too much extra weight.
Also, what did you choose to purchase once you got there (or needed it?). What tricks did you use to save money? I'll be there 4 weeks, so keeping day to day costs down will be crucial. Also, if anyone has experience buying a burner/pay as you go phone in Erope would love to hear your experience and tips....

Any suggestions welcome.

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