Taiwanese-American blogging about his travels outdoors and occasionally his thoughts on life.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Leaving for My Eurotrip Soon

On Saturday, October 1st, I will be leaving the US to go to Europe with one layover in Chicago. My first stop in Europe will be in the United Kingdom where I will land in Heathrow airport and meet my friend who goes to Queen Mary, University of London. From there, I will try and get accustomed to being in a foreign land, explore London for a few days and move south to Gatwick where I will continue my journey even further south to Madrid, Spain by plane.

Exchanging For Foreign Currency

Despite many sites and books mentioning how to get it, I am still not too clear what the best way to get foreign currency is.

A lot of sources say that taking out foreign currency from an ATM in the country you want to go is the best solution, but don't your banks charge you a small fee for doing so? In that case, would the best means of getting foreign currency be just getting them from your local bank before traveling?

Regardless, I ended up ordering 100 dollars worth of British pounds as well as euros for my trip. However, it takes 1-3 business days for the money to get here which is a bit cutting it close as I am leaving for Europe on Saturday. With luck, my British pounds will get here before Saturday 1pm.

EDIT: So it only took Chase a day to get the currency I ordered. Not too shabby.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Buying a Eurail Pass

Just bought my ticket. They have a bunch of options to choose from, the two main options being: travel unlimited times within a set amount of days or buy a pass that allows you to travel X days within a set time span. Given that I will be in Europe for two months, I opted to get the unlimited travel.

Taken from http://www.momentsredefined.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/IMG_5599.jpg

Taken from http://tsb.thesavvybackpack.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/eurail-pass-guide.jpg

I think that was the best choice. But I did not really give it much thought because all the stuff on railways was giving me a headache.

The ticket cost me 1162.00 through Rick Steve's site. This guy has been my go-to guy for planning this trip. Really reliable suggestions and advice.

By the way, for those of you planning on going in the future, it's smarter to buy your Eurail online and send it to the US. They do sell it over at Europe but supposedly 10-20% more.

Planning My Eurotrip

After weeks of saying I will, I'm finally getting around to planning the countries I will stop by in Europe. I have 60 days to explore Europe which means I have about 5 days to spend in each country max. I will start my trip in England, then Spain, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, and England.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Buying a Moneybag for Europe

My moneybag came in today. A moneybag is like a fanny pack but really thin, meant only to contain your money and identification. You wear it under your shirt to prevent people from stealing it. It costs me about 12 dollars off of Amazon. For those of you curious, it is the one that Rick Steves endorses.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Eurotrip beginning

A few days ago, I booked my ticket for October 1st to December 1st which costed me roughly 882 dollars. The airline that I will be flying on is American Airlines which will make one brief stop in Chicago before continuing on its way again.

Today, I bought a phrase book for Western Europe, a guide book, as well as a travel backpack. For the travel backpack, I looked for something not too big as to not attract thieves as well as something that did not have a lot of zippers on the front. More importantly, I avoided the backpacks that had zippers on the sides that allowed access into the main sack. In the end, I chose a model from Low Alpine with a carrying capacity of 50L.

As for the traveling book, it took me a little longer to decide which one to get because I wanted a book with detailed maps as well as a lot of suggestions on where to go in each country. In the end, I chose Europe 2012 written by Rick Steves because his suggestions seemed more personal than the other books.
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