Traveling to Europe

clayton

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 30, 2004
23
0
Hi,

I'm going to go to Europe for the first time in about 2 weeks. I'm going first to Paris and then to Rome. I've never flown or traveled out of the country before. Anyone have any suggestions for a first time traveler? Also, I was wondering about my digital camera battery charger; does anyone know how to check to see if it converts voltage/what I need to do to get it to work?

Thanks,
Clayton
 

superbovine

macrumors 68030
Nov 7, 2003
2,872
0
clayton said:
Hi,

I'm going to go to Europe for the first time in about 2 weeks. I'm going first to Paris and then to Rome. I've never flown or traveled out of the country before. Anyone have any suggestions for a first time traveler? Also, I was wondering about my digital camera battery charger; does anyone know how to check to see if it converts voltage/what I need to do to get it to work?

Thanks,
Clayton
I am assuming you are traveling from the US. protect your passport at all times, and don't travel with your social security card. they are worth a lot of money, and it not something you want to loss it to a picket pocket. another travel tip is i always grab a piece of paper from the notepad next to the hotel room phone, because it has the address. i can't tell you how times i've been drunk, hailed a cab, and just pointed to the address on the piece of paper.

as far the digital camera, you will get a converter plug that you can pick up at local electronic store for a couple bucks. Also, you need to check if your charger supports 220 volts. the charger will probably say somewhere on the back or you will have to look in the manual online. for example my charger says 110 - 240 volts 50/60 hz (US is 120 v). By chance if it doesn't support 220 you will need to get a transformer. Usually can buy and transformer and adapter plugs in a kit from $15-$50. A little tip since you are traveling from france to italy by train. the converter plug for switzerland will work in spain, germany, and italy. I have never been to france, but if it two dual prong it should work in france as well. the swiss plug happens to be one the smallest dual prongs plugs, and works in a lot of places because all other places of larger sizes plugs.
 

igucl

macrumors 6502a
Oct 11, 2003
569
17
Drink lots of water, and never pass up an offer from the attendants for beverages. Why? Two reasons:

1) You won't believe how dry the air is in the plane; your throat and sinuses will dry up.

2) The more often you get up to go to the bathroom, the better off you're going to be. Keep the blood circulating. People have died from clots in their legs caused by sitting too long.
 

atakordie

macrumors member
Mar 31, 2005
66
0
Columbia, SC
jealous

Hi! Consider making a couple copies of your passport and store them in different places with you. Also, maybe carry your wallet/money in a separate pocket than your passport, in case something happens to one or the other, you'll have the other. You've got the power converter question answered above. One thing that helped me was I started going to bed early here in the US, and getting up around 3 or so in the morning to simulate the times I would be waking up in europe, so when I got there jet lag didn't affect me whatsoever...it definitely worked for me.
 

clayton

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 30, 2004
23
0
Hey, thanks for you quick replies and the tip for the camera charger. I am traveling from the US and I'm flying from Paris to Rome. What do you mean make a copy of your passport? Just a photocopy? Does that pass?

Also, I'm staying in a hostel when in paris. Does anyone know where I could store my luggage? / Maybe I should try to fit it all in a backpack since I'll only be gone 10 days?

Thanks
Clayton
 

superbovine

macrumors 68030
Nov 7, 2003
2,872
0
clayton said:
Hey, thanks for you quick replies and the tip for the camera charger. I am traveling from the US and I'm flying from Paris to Rome. What do you mean make a copy of your passport? Just a photocopy? Does that pass?

Also, I'm staying in a hostel when in paris. Does anyone know where I could store my luggage? / Maybe I should try to fit it all in a backpack since I'll only be gone 10 days?

Thanks
Clayton
i hope your not traveling alone. i assume you are getting a europass and are hopping to rome. the train station will have luggage size lockers that you can store you stuff in then go see the sites. travel with a smaller back pack. the best thing, funniest thing is to hook up english speaking travelers on your way. seeing stuff is funnier in a group, and if you meet ppl with languages skills this always help. also, some train station will have showers along with lockers. (Zurichs station is very clean) they are usually nearby. anyway, if you want to make the most get a guide that has all that info. (this assume you backpacking) Sleeping on the train then shoving your stuff in a locker to see the sites is not bad way to go.

remember in roma there is a lot of pick pockets. your'll be taking a bus to see all the sites which are a popular spot for you kids to open your pack and take your stuff. even locals have problems. the most popular scam that i have heard of in rome is a small group of young boys/girls that come with to you with a news paper speaking italian training to get you to buy it. it is usually a group of two, one to distract and one to take your wallet. my father actually knocked out a girl that tried to take his passport. however, i wouldn't advice this course of action, but rather to avoid getting in the situation. you don't know if they have a weapon, and it not worth getting cut over a wallet. i have spoken to friends in spain that have had similar expierences in rome.
 

combatcolin

macrumors 68020
Oct 24, 2004
2,284
0
Northants, UK
Handy tip,

buy a phone card and keep it in your back pocket or somewhere that is not likely to be stolen.

Then if the brown stuff does hit the fan you can phone home and get everything sorted.

Also right down the number of the respective US embassys.

You should be fine, the rest of the world is not like Iraq you know!
English is spoken a lot more than you would think, just whatever you do don't be a "loud American" - really annoying in the UK, France, Italy or anywhere to the locals.
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
21,652
123
Learn a couple of words in French and Italian.

'Please' and 'Thank-you' go a long way. :)
 

Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
5,215
2
Wrap a rubber band around your wallet. It won't come out of your pocket easily.

Learn how to ride a subway.

Always always always keep your wallet+passport safe.

Know where the U.S. embassy is in that country.

Be nice to people. As BV said, Please, Thank-you, and Where's the bathroom, work wonders.
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
Don't carry anything in your back pockets. If you have a jacket with a zipped inner pocket, keep your wallet in there. Keep a couple of small Euro notes in a trouser pocket; that way if you feel uncomfortable getting your wallet out in an area, you have a little cash more readily available. It's also worth sticking a higher denomination note somewhere too; so that even if someone did get your wallet, you have some cash left!

Having given all those warnings, I've been to both Rome and Paris and never been pickpocketed. I've had the 'gangs' of Romanian kids trying in the UK; one shows you a map or tries to ask a question while the others try to partake of your belongings.

Plan your route to your next destination before you head out into the streets. That way you won't have your nose in a map and will look less of a target. Make sure your guidebook/map has a small discreet map that's easy to glance at. The pop-out ones (by Compass ) are brilliant.

Don't eat in any McDonald's while you're in Europe or drink any US beer. Part of the joy of travel is eating and drinking the local foods and drinks; and it doesn't have to be expensive. A good croque monsieur in Paris won't cost much and will be much more filling. Investigate the Euro love of Nutella on crepes for breakfast, try to have a good risotto while in Italy.

Enjoy yourself and take lots of pictures. Taking a small journal to note down stuff you've seen/eaten is also useful (you can update it in the evenings or while you drink your coffee after lunch).
 

thequicksilver

macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2004
769
0
Birmingham
combatcolin said:
English is spoken a lot more than you would think, just whatever you do don't be a "loud American" - really annoying in the UK, France, Italy or anywhere to the locals.
I can't emphasise this enough. I lived in Paris for a while, and a lot of American tourists I saw over there made sledgehammers look subtle.

Be polite, learn a few words of the respective lingos. Nobody will mind you not speaking the language - or even you speaking it badly - but just expecting them to speak English to you without any attempt on your part would come across as arrogant (and more likely than not with about 20% added to your bill).

Safety wise, the same thing applies as it would in any other major city. Especially in Paris, the more savvy you look and feel, the less likely you will be to have anything stolen. If you're like me - 6'4" and built pretty stockily - then you'll be safe from thieves almost regardless of how well hidden your stuff is. There's always more vulnerable looking people than you out there, especially on the métro.

Other than that, have a great time. :)
 

puckhead193

macrumors G3
May 25, 2004
9,210
432
NY
Carry your stuff in the front pocket of your pants. Also don't wear expensive stuff like flashy jewerly etc. Know your surroundings. keep your eye on your stuff.
 

mfacey

macrumors 65816
Feb 1, 2004
1,216
0
Netherlands
Why is everybody so paranoid?!

Just watch your stuff, like you always should irrespective of what country you're in and enjoy yourself!
 

plinden

macrumors 68040
Apr 8, 2004
3,969
3
clayton said:
Hey, thanks for you quick replies and the tip for the camera charger. I am traveling from the US and I'm flying from Paris to Rome. What do you mean make a copy of your passport? Just a photocopy? Does that pass?

Also, I'm staying in a hostel when in paris. Does anyone know where I could store my luggage? / Maybe I should try to fit it all in a backpack since I'll only be gone 10 days?

Thanks
Clayton
10 days? You should be able to take everything in a rucksack and have room to spare. Travel as lightly as you can - take only only clothes for 4 or 5 days and plan on doing your laundry midway through your trip. I travelled for two months around Europe when I was younger and took everything in one rucksack. Take a smaller backpack for day trips.

Get a guide book for Paris and Rome and plan on eating in local places - any student-oriented guide book should give hints on where to eat, even if you're not a student.

Travelling alone is great - the possibility of loneliness is offset by the probability of getting to know other people, which is less likely to happen if you're in a group.

Eidt: Oh, and the Louvre is free one day a month and is closed on Mondays (at least it was 15 years ago). Also, last time I was in Rome, (again 15 years ago) I was able to climb onto the roof of St Peter's. It may not be allowed now, but if you can do it, it's cool.
 

thequicksilver

macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2004
769
0
Birmingham
plinden said:
Eidt: Oh, and the Louvre is free one day a month and is closed on Mondays (at least it was 15 years ago).
As you say, the Louvre is indeed free entry one day a month - the first Sunday of a month - but the queues and congestion in there make it a frustrating experience.

I don't believe it's closed on a Monday - it's certainly something I never explicitly noticed during my three years in Paris - but at the same time I've never explicitly seen it written that it's closed either until your post.

If you're a serious art person and want to spend a day in the Louvre genuinely appreciating the collection, get there first thing in a morning on a weekday that isn't Wednesday (lots of people are free on a Wednesday in Paris). If you're just going for a general touristy glance around though, any time will do really.
 

Peterkro

macrumors 68020
Aug 17, 2004
2,143
1,361
Communard de Londres,Tiocfaidh ár lá
mfacey said:
Why is everybody so paranoid?!

Just watch your stuff, like you always should irrespective of what country you're in and enjoy yourself!
Somebody with sensible advice at last.Its Paris and Rome not the wild west.Enjoy,if your sussed enough not to get pickpocketed in NY you'll be fine.
 

EGT

macrumors 68000
Sep 4, 2003
1,606
1
Blue Velvet said:
Learn a couple of words in French and Italian.

'Please' and 'Thank-you' go a long way. :)
I read that as 'Please' and 'thank-you' and 'Go away' :p

but yes, common phrases really do help. Best of luck.
 

clayton

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 30, 2004
23
0
Italian:
Please=per favore
Thank you=grazie

French:
Please=??
Thank you=??

I've been studying Italian for 2 semesters but I don't know any French! Anyone care to help?

Thanks
 

plinden

macrumors 68040
Apr 8, 2004
3,969
3
French:
Please=S'il vous plaît
Thank you=va te faire foudre

PS - don't believe everything you're told
 

emw

macrumors G4
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
0
French:
Please=s'il vous plaît (seal voo play)
Thank you=merci (MARE-see), or merci beaucoup (MARE-see bow-coo)
 

skunk

macrumors G4
Jun 29, 2002
11,745
3,995
Republic of Ukistan
In Paris:
"S'il vous plaît, mademoiselle/madame/monsieur" (please, miss/ma'am/sir)
"Merci (bien)" or even "merci mille fois" (a thousand thanks - you get extra points for that)
"Au revoir" (goodbye)

and in Rome:
"Per piacere, signorina/signora/signore"
"Grazie (mille)" and
"Arrivederci"

Pronunciation guides on request... :D
 

wordmunger

macrumors 603
Sep 3, 2003
5,125
2
North Carolina
A great way to pick up a little French in real-world situations is FrenchNow! by Transparent Language. Nice little CD, works in Mac OS X. I used it to brush up the last time I went to Paris and it was a big help.

My #1 recommendation for good service in France is to greet the shopkeeper as soon as you enter the store with a friendly "Bonjour!"

It's customary in the U.S. to wait for the shopkeeper to greet you, but in France it's the other way around.
 

skunk

macrumors G4
Jun 29, 2002
11,745
3,995
Republic of Ukistan
wordmunger said:
My #1 recommendation for good service in France is to greet the shopkeeper as soon as you enter the store with a friendly "Bonjour!"

It's customary in the U.S. to wait for the shopkeeper to greet you, but in France it's the other way around.
Good point. And cultivate a Gallic shrug...
:)