First and foremost I have to give a mega shout-out to my sister Meghan who not only booked and organized a majority of the trip we took to Scandinavia, but dealt with some of my blonde moments and almost mental breakdowns. Secondly, I would like to list out some of my tips and tricks for traveling in and around the country/world, with emphasis on Scandinavia. I could call it “Traveling by the Seat of your Pants” but I think the published title tells it all.
So, most of these bullets are taken for my own use, to bookmark for future trips (in hopes that I review them prior to traveling) but maybe I can provide some wisdom and help you learn from my
- It’s probably smart to review the trip prior to departing. This means taking into account the following:
- Do you have the necessary documents to enter? Tickets, ID, etc.
- Do you know how to get there? Maps either provided by AAA, tourist booths or printed maps (thank you Google)
- Do you have a guide book that tells you about the locations that you are visiting? Our family is a huge fan of Rick Steve’s travel books and I think we got our money’s worth out of the Scandinavia book for sure. Meghan was the smart one and read up on each place, whether we should purchase city passes, etc. I just went along for the ride and acted as the photographer.
- Do you know where your passport is?
- Worried about how you look in pictures? They “blue steel” face from Zoolander is quite nice and makes anyone look good (even fit and trim)
- Look for snacks in some of the local grocery stores rather than relying on takeout/coffee shops. This is especially helpful if you are staying in one place for a longer period of time and save oodles of money vs. going to restaurants for every single meal.
- Always report to your bank that you will be traveling in a foreign country. One used to have to go into the bank or even call and wait for an operator in order to do this. Now they even have a link online to fill out the proper forms and information.
- Photocopy all of your important documents (passport, credit/debit cards, ID) leaving a copy at home and another on hand with you for traveling.
- Send your travel info/flight schedule/itinerary to a friend or family member just so they know where you are if anything happens. Or so they can track you on their atlas.
- If you are a student (or maybe just graduated) ask for a discount. Most places in Europe offer a discount and hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask, right?
- Keep an eye out for free walking tours. Again, these are pretty prevalent across Europe and are a great way to explore the city on a low-budget. Just don’t be a butt and actually leave a tip. They have them in most cities, but Sandeman’s New Europe is a good place to start if you are traveling to big name countries. They even have walking and biking tours!
- Not all restrooms (WC = wash closets) are free…rarely actually. Either make sure to cary coins on hand or find your way into a local fast food joint. Even then they may charge you so be thankful that the US of A has not jumped on that bandwagon. Also don’t chug your water before getting onto a tour bus…things will not end well for you.
- Some essentials: gum, hand sanitizer, tissues/napkins, plastic baggies, water bottle to fill up
- No matter where you are going, always bring a workout outfit and bathing suit. Just trust me on this. Years of experience.