1. We saved a lot of money by using the Internet for advance tickets and for important advice from other travelers.
2. We found the best air fare and non-stop flights at
www.orbitz.com which directed us to
(The flight we booked 5 months in advance, now costs $500.00 more, so book
3. By purchasing tickets in advance for a flight on the London 'EYE', we
avoided long lines.
4. A money belt is a good idea for passports and important papers and
money. Here are a couple of samples:
5. If you prefer to use a Wash Cloth/Face Cloth -- bring one along - most
accommodations don't have them.
6. Plastic Bags (bring several). Great for wash cloths and other things.
7. Bring 'moist wipes' (individual packages)
-- great for freshening up at any time.
8. A Foreign Voltage Converter is necessary if you need to re-charge your
camera battery. UK uses a 3-prong
outlet, and France uses a 2-prong round outlet (to convert
220-240 volts to U.S. voltage 110-120 volts)
9. It's a great advantage to have some foreign currency when you arrive.
Order some from your bank (it may take
a few days so plan ahead, I think it may come from the
nearest Federal Reserve Bank). We ordered $300. in Pound
Sterling - £
- and $100. in Euros - €.
Again, it's better than waiting in exchange lines when arriving.
10. One of our best choices was to purchase 'Visitor Travelcards' OnLine,
as you can't buy them in London. You
can get 3, 5 or 7 day Travelcards which permits unlimited
travel on the Underground/Tube AND on all busses.
(Ours was for Zones 1 and 2, as we spent
most of our time in Central London.) We never had to wait in
buy tickets and with great maps, getting around London was
very easy and fast.
11. Senior (60+) Discounts are often available, but sometimes you need to
12. Be Safe! Try NOT to look like a tourist. Signs posted in Paris,
particularly, warn of 'Pick-Pockets' in tourist
areas, Eiffel Tower, crowded Metro stations
and trains etc. Don't stand outside and look at maps if you have
a large, obvious, camera (we loved our
pocket-sized digital camera). American baseball hats and shorts
and bright clothes and tennis shoes also
attract 'Pick-Pockets', as does 'fancy-schmancy' luggage or name
brand shopping bags from expensive stores.
We never had a problem or felt threatened, but be cautious!
13. While our weather was perfect, bring an umbrella
(called 'brolly') in London, as the weather
14. Always review your check before paying bills in restaurants. Many have
already added the gratuity to the
total bill. Sometimes shown as 'service charge'.
Many menus also indicate whether tips are included.
15. Comfortable Walking Shoes with padded socks.
16. Dark clothing is also suggested
- layers to deal with 'changeable' weather...
17. Know the location and phone number of the American Embassy.
18. Clean out your wallet, leaving only the essentials for your trip. Make
copies of important cards or other
information, including passports, and keep
them in another place.
19. Bring only two credit/ATM cards and keep them in different places.
20. Bring a good 'Attitude'! Remember we are visitors in a foreign
country. Our culture is different. Our customs
are different. Attitude is important when
your traveling companion might get a little 'grouchy' near the end of
the day because of tired feet, achy legs,
hunger pangs, or need for a bathroom break. Expect it to happen!