I’ve decided to not do a massive photo post, but work on a few a day. I just posted five new Amsterdam photos (you can see them on flickr [in case you don’t know what the hell I’m on about, click on the little square images at the top of the page] for now, I’ll eventually put them in my archives here).
I’ll get to our trip in the coming days, but I thought I’d bust out some tips, mostly for myself to remember in the future, but maybe you have some good pointers that others might use? If so, leave a comment.
Blurbomat Travel Tips:
- Everyone has their own jet lag tricks, but the best thing is to eat on local time. Eat a big breakfast and keep the carbs coming throughout the day. If you can’t make it, just go the hotel and nap. Nobody is going to kill you. We took some over-the-counter sleeping pills the first night and the next day we slept in and were ready for action. Coming back is another story, but if you can, try to push your sleep time back to normal as soon as you can and eat on your normal schedule. It helps if you’ve actually got food in the house. We were out of everything and had to scrounge around yesterday. Pain.
- Use massive 2.5 gallon ez zip bags to store clothing, underwear, socks in their own bags without spending a fortune on other alternatives. These can be found at the grocery store. Use smaller EZ zip bags for toiletries and meds (keep prescription meds in original containers). We put all our bandages (in case of foot blisters) in one and not only is it convenient, the bag keeps them dry. This is something I think Rick Steves suggested or showed and it’s awesome. I was able to pack very quickly to come home because the bags kept everything all together. Plus, laundry sorting is made easier. Unless you have 20 tons of laundry.
- If you have more than one piece of heavy luggage, budget well and take a cab from the airport to your hotel. It will be more expensive, yes, but if you flew to JFK to visit New York, you’d just take the hit on the cab. Think of it like New York and take the hit.
- Drink water, all the time.
- Make sure your heaviest pieces of luggage have good wheels and can be rolled on streets and sidewalks and up and down curbs. I bought a cheapy laptop bag with wheels that we stashed both our iBooks in and it was a lifesaver. L-I-F-E-S-A-V-E-R. It docked with the carry-on nicely as well, so that each of us effectively had one piece of luggage each after we left baggage claim. One piece of very heavy luggage each. One was so heavy we got dinged by KLM on the return. €25! It might have been a little smarter to check two smaller bags instead of one large bag. That would have made a taxi a must.
- I have a rolling duffle made by Burton that I’ve had for five or so years that has gone everywhere with me. The problem is that it’s not quite big enough for two people. Heather and I bought a really good rolling duffle from a local travel store before we left made by Eagle Creek. I don’t want to tell you which one, because it’s so damn big, it’s embarrassing. The Eagle Creek one is better than the Burton by far, it holds a ton more stuff and can stand up on it’s own, no matter how crazy I’ve packed it.
- This one is from my father. Take half as many clothes as you think you’ll need and twice as much money. We had to take our coats and big warm clothes, and we were glad we did, but I took about double the clothing I needed on our Amsterdam trip.
- Talk to locals wherever you can. We’re indebted to Joke (pronounced Yoka) for hipping us to a sweet Belgian beer bar that was our local hangout nearly every evening. The locals can hip you to the good shit, and Joke did. Thanks Joke!
- Get noise reduction headphones. I have cheapy ones that a gift exchange and a Target card got me for my birthday last summer. I smashed one ear into the pillow and the other ear had the noise reduction earbud in. The ones I have will allow a person to lie down, possibly with both the buds in. The noise reduction isn’t like higher end headphones, but anything helps. Coming home it reduced the sound of a couple of kids crying. And having lived through that, I have nothing but admiration and sympathy for the parents. Still, I had laundry to do when I got home, so I crammed those headphones way in. Plus, great sound quality. They take some getting used to, but once you wear them, you can’t go back. Kind of like using WiFi.
- For some kinds of travel, you will be walking more than you might normally. Pack extra good bandages for blisters and pack extra pain relievers.
- Most new electronic gear is manufactured to be run on current worldwide with the simple addition of a plug adapter (not a power converter). The same cannot be said of things that women use to do their hair like hair irons and the like. To get the computers working and the camera battery charger working was a matter of a $4 USD adapter.
- Give yourself some time each day to rest and relax. It’s a vacation, right?
- This one is from a reader, but it’s a great one. If you are traveling with your cell phone, but it doesn’t work in the country you are going to and you know this beforehand, change your voicemail greeting so that it tells people in case of emergency (like a lost dog) a number that they can reach a family member or friend. Yeah. Would have saved about 48,000 BTU of stress in our case.
You got any good tips? Post them in the comments.