trip prep: the essentials

Last night, I hopefully got a good night’s sleep on the night train from Paris to Hamburg. Now that we’re in Hamburg, we plan on visiting the cheesy but awesome-looking Beatlemania Museum and maybe riding on a ferry somewhere.

There are some essentials that I take on every trip: chargers, books (now via Kindle which is so.much.better), granola bars, and Excedrin. But for this trip, I’ll be packing a few additional items.

1. Herb Lester maps. I think I cam across Herb Lester on Pinterest, and I just love them. They are full of interesting and quirky places to visit. For example, the Paris for Pleasure-Seekers map mentions a shop called 20 sur 20 “a modest and wonderfully specialist supplier of costume jewelry from the 1940s to 1960s.” Yes please. And the Writing London map tells me where to find the bank where PG Wodehouse worked and from which he was fired because he needed a sheet of paper on which to write a short story.

2. Multiple Memory Cards. I think it’s clearly established that I plan to take lots of photos on this trip, but I won’t be taking my laptop with me, so I won’t have any way to unload my photos. In the past, I’ve gotten away with one 4gb memory card, but I knew that would not be sufficient. For my rebel, I bought two 16gb compact flash cards and for the s100, I bought two 32gb cards. Hopefully that is enough. (As an aside, I remember when I first went to Europe in 2004 and had to pay almost $100 for a 512mb card. How times have changed!)

3. A stashable tote like this one from flip & tumble. I actually got my tote at the e-learning conference I attended in NYC. It’s made from nylon and it’s pretty large, but it rolls up into a small little ball the size of rolled-up socks. I am using mine to carry some snacks (and some special requests) on the way to Europe. Then I can stash it in my bag for most of the trip. I’ll use it again on the way home to carry all of my souvenirs.

4. Travelex Cash Passport cards. Usually when I travel abroad, I just withdraw a large-ish amount of cash every once in a while or use a debit card to pay for things when possible. Europe, as you probably know, uses a different kind of card than we do in the States. They use a chip and PIN card. In the past, I haven’t had a problem using my card, even for tube tickets or mobilis passes in Paris. But since we will be driving on this trip and dealing with toll booths and gas stations that might be unmanned, I worried about my American card not working. I read about these Travelex Cash Passport cards and to be honest, I’ve also read some negative reviews about excessive fees. However, I decided to give them a try. I loaded the minimum amount on the card ($250 or 179 euros) to use just for emergencies. I ordered them online and then picked them up at a local bank. I was pleased to find that they no longer charge the fees that people online complained about. Anyway, I’m curious to see how well they work and if they end up being a benefit.



  1. goldenfever · September 24, 2012

    those maps are soooo cool!

  2. Pingback: Holiday Trinkets « Stray Travels

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