INFORMATION: It's Never Expensive
Information will smooth your trip and KEEP you from making expensive mistakes.
First, we set aside $100 for acquiring information. Sound expensive? We spent over $250 on information before we were through, but it more than paid for itself in the long run.
Second, we wrote all the information down that we collected in a travel appointment book to take with us.
Third, we started talking with others about their trips to Europe; especially the countries, areas and cities where we wanted to go.
Fourth, we located 800 numbers for all of the country sponsored travel information locations and called requesting general information (free). See the Phone Numbers under "Places 'N Things" at this site.
Fifth, we bought the best maps with the most detail available and Rick Steves book(s) for those areas. See Maps & Books below.
Sixth, we decided how long we had and then exactly where we wanted to go, see and do with agreed upon priorities. Not everyone likes the same thing, so go along with the highest agreeable selections.
Seventh, we then called and requested specific information about the specific things agreed upon in six above that was not in the general info we had already received.
Eighth, we shopped for airline tickets (being willing to buy in advance), rental car, and first nights lodging. (Burned our bridges, but one might consider trip insurance just to be safe.)
Ninth, we then started reading everything we could about scenery, locations, food, customs, weather, clothing, etc. We also watched travel videos on PBS (Rick Steves "Travels in Europe") and from the library.
Tenth, after planning our trip and before we left, we estimated how much we would spend on the trip and then we sent that amount to our credit card company as a deposit/payment. In Europe, we would just use any Visa or Cirrus cash point (ATM) to withdraw what we needed for the next day or two. Then we never had a fee for exchanging money, never had a fee for a debit balance and got the best exchange rate available. Plus we did not have to carry travellers checks or other cash that can be lost or stolen. Check it out, ask your credit card company or bank!
Finally, we went; we saw; we enjoyed! Came home filled with joy and a desire to go again. Mostly, because of what we had learned about the world from others.
WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO GO! This country (U.S.A.) does not operate in a vacuum as so many Americans think we do. There are lots of people that would not trade places with us and we need to know that first hand in order to really appreciate what we have at home.
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