Going to France, Germany, Italy in June... advice!

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  1. Hi all!! I came across a great opportunity to go on a high school sponsored trip through EF Educational Tours to France, Germany, and Italy this upcoming June (70 something days eek!) and I'm beyond excited. I've never traveled out of the country and these places hold so much history and are so beautiful!!

    If any of you have traveled to these places I would love some advice of stuff I would never think of... I'm all set with my passport, I plan on calling my phone company and bank/credit card to let them know about the trip. Also bringing a power converter + a power strip to save on space.

    Our itinerary is as follows:
    Paris: Notre Dame, Versailles, Louvre
    Munich: Dachau, BMW Factory, bicycle tour through the beer gardens
    Venice: Doges' Palace, Lido de Jesolo
    Then going to Florence, Rome, and home! Whew!

    I'm not too worried about where to go while we have free time there as I'll be in a decent sized group and our tour guide will be very well versed on the locations, but does anyone else have any good general advice for someone who really hasn't traveled that much? Much appreciated!
  2. Sounds like a fun trip!

    Have you read through this thread? http://forum.purseblog.com/bon-voyage/invaluable-tips-285847.html Lots of great travel advice.

    Also assuming you may have done a search on your destinations in the travel subforum?

    You'll need plug adapters for your US plugs (Google to see which ones), and a voltage converter if your appliance doesn't have dual voltage.

    As for your phone, I'd only use it on Wifi since international calls, texts, data is expensive and charges will add up FAST.

    Have a great time!
  3. I went on a trip when I was in high school to Switzerland, France, Monaco, Monte Carlo, Italy and an unexpected detour into Belgium. It was one week so we pretty much drove through most places and spent most of our time on the French riviera and Paris.

    You're going for a very long time. After a week, I was done and wanted to come home to English and my country. This was back in the 80s so things may have changed but I was shocked that Europe was so different from us. I always think of them as on par.

    One of the funniest experiences was walking into a "supermarket" which is really a large convenience store to us and asking where the soda aisle was. We were walked to the cooler where you had a choice of orangina or coke. No diet, cherry, coke zero, just Coke and/or Orangina. It was very eye opening to see how spoiled we Americans are and how much we really take for granted.

    My best advice: immerse yourself in the experience, have fun, be respectful, and stare in awe at the history and coliseums that we don't have here. I'm from Philly so I'm used to history around me but I was flabbergasted and amused when lunch hour hit in Arles and people sat on the ruins of the coliseum like it was nothing and ate their sandwiches. Very cool!

    PS: Pack light. Save room for those awesome souvenirs. The Louvre and Versailles are gorgeous!! Seeing the Mona Lisa and Venus in person was one of my all time art experiences.
  4. You are not in high school, correct? :biggrin:

    Here is what I have to say. It sounds like a lot of fun. I love, love, love Europe and have been there many times. I would definitely say "go", especially if you will be in a group with fun people.

    Beware though, that Europe, especially around the time you are going (and where you are going) will be over-run with tourists. It's entirely possible that will take a bite out of your trip, unless you expect it and can let that roll off. Find out how your tour guide plans to manage outings and if you have any flexibility to do things on your own on the off hours. Not saying it won't be fun, just expect to deal with crowds.

    Off-season is a great time to visit if you have the opportunity. Honestly though, going with a good group can make a trip so I'd still say go. Regardless of a few extra people around, I'll bet you will really enjoy yourself. Totally jelly, I'd love to hit Europe for 70 days. :smile:
  5. pack light. it will save you the annoyances of dealing with luggage - even when you'll be on a charter bus most of the time. you'll probably be able to borrow hair dryer, hair straighteners, etc from all the other people who will stuff all their possessions in huge suitcases.

    I would bet you'll be visiting lots of churches and cathedrals so you'll need to dress appropriately: pants, dresses, or skirts vs short shorts.

    get an international plan for your mobile. or consider getting your phone unlocked so you can put a European carrier SIM card and have much cheaper rates.

    70 days with other young people? there's going to be drama. keep your cool.
  6. p.s. in Munich you should visit the alte and neue pinakothek museum. I suspect the neue will be of more interest with the amazing Klimts (I think his "kiss" is there) and a huge Van Gogh iris canvas - he applied paints so thickly it was almost three-dimensional. when I visited the museum was arranged in chronological order so starting from the alte old side you pass through rennaisance art (amazing drawings and etchings) and finish with the contemporaries, with Van Gogh and Klimt being in one of the last rooms.
  7. Oh no, I'm almost 25! The trip is sponsored actually by my alma mater, where my boyfriend currently works. It's a Catholic school so they do a trip to Rome every couple years plus other countries.

    I should also correct myself since clearly my excitement is hindering my ability to communicate, the trip itself is IN about 70 days, but we're going for 10 days. I'm such a homebody that I'm worried about the 10 days, forget 70! :P

    Thanks for all the tips so far everyone!
  8. oh geez. 10 days is a lot easier. still, you should pack light.
  9. Lol! Ok, that makes more sense. :smile: Go and have a great time.

    P.s. - you mentioned beer gardens, which was why I was wondering about the high school thing.
  10. Have Fun! It seem to be a really nice tour. Visiting Dachau is really hard, it was such a cruel time :sad: but good to see and learn.
  11. You will have a wonderful time!!! 70 days sounds like a long time, but look at everything you are going to see! Emerse yourself in the culture, try new things and enjoy what these beautiful places have to offer.
  12. Oh wow! All those places in 10 days!
  13. Was thinking the same thing. I know they offer whirlwhind tours.
    OP , please review your itinerary. Most tours give you 2 days in the Italian cities each
    That you mentioned.

    Have fun!
  14. #14 Apr 13, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014

    That is funny, I always think of the US as subpar but obviously you're not since you have all those different kinds of soda 😜
  15. If you're bringing a hair dryer/straightener or laptop, please check if it has dual voltage! If not, a voltage converter is a must! I blew out a hair dryer on my first trip to Europe because I thought a plug adapter was all I needed. It was not pretty, LOL.

    Good walking shoes, I cannot stress how important this is. You'd also need a shirt with sleeves, pants, and closed toe shoes if you will be visiting the Vatican and other cathedrals.

    Double check with your bank and credit card company to see how much they charge for foreign transaction fees so you know what you're really paying when buying something. Cards like Capital One have no fees while Amex charges around 2-3% per transaction.