As I said in the article, ‘The last few days’, in this, the final article about our first trip overseas, I detail some of what we learned, both helpful and what we could, and should, have done better.
- Firstly, 6 weeks was definitely too long. I have long held the belief, and still do, that when one is spending big on airfares to get to a foreign country it is not worth spending just a short while but 3-4 weeks should be the maximum.
- Don’t hire a car in a foreign country where you will be driving on the ‘opposite’ side of the road as your very first venture.
- Get to know as much as possible about the places you will be visiting before even making final bookings if you can.
3.1 Weather patterns – remember how we got stuck in the snow in Sestrierre
3.2 Places of interest
3.3 Transport facilities
3.4 Accommodation types and costs; Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet; check with a travel site such as Trip Advisor. Our experiences in Rome & Paris were enough to confirm this.
3.5 Currency used (just because a country is part of a bloc, it does not mean that it uses a common currency!) Croatia, Slovenia & Hungary are members of the EU but do not use the Euro.
3.6 Can one get the currency in your own country or do you purchase common currency first & exchange on arrival? eg. buy US$ and convert
3.7 Can your credit card be used? We learnt that many B&Bs do not accept credit cards because of the service fees; similarly, some shops require a minimum purchase before you can use your card.
4. Check the road rules, if you are hiring a car. Most countries live by the rule: Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
5. Pack a full change of clothes in your hand luggage. Do this however you are travelling; eg self-driving, train, coach etc. It is always handy. You may get stuck or delayed somwhere and it is so much nicer than opening your suitcase and digging for underwear etc
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for Senior Citizen Discount