Sunday, May 19, 2013

Getting Ready...

There are always so many "things" to do to get ready for a vacation, that I understand why a lot of people never take them. We have our lists now and are dutifully working our way through them.

1. Find the adapters. These are the plugs that you plug your North American electricals into before you can plug them into European outlets. My son was the hero he found two of the three. However we will be taking 4 computers. Add power bar to the list. Then we can all sit around the table and have a kind of togetherness in our separateness. Several will have earphones on. The quintessential modern family.  :)

2. Book tickets for "events."
a) Unfortunately Soccer season will be over when we are there so we will not be seeing a major league soccer game. I was relieved, because I understand from friends that there are no women's washrooms in these stadiums. My friend just uses the men's. However there are no stalls - don't even go there!!

b) Booking tickets for the Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel has now taken three days. It has nothing to do with the on-line booking system. It has everything to do with avoiding the line ups!! I have read several blogs, asked lots of friends and I think that I have finally convinced everyone that the best time to book a visit is in the evening. Otherwise, I understand that you can wait in line for hours!

c) I am not a run to every gallery type of person and neither is anyone else in the family so we will go to the gardens of the Villa Borghese, skip the gallery, walk past the "biggies" - Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Colosseum and if there isn't a big line, for the later consider, going in.

Holiday gadgets

3. Buy phone package. We have to keep tabs on the kids when we we're not together, so we needed a phone system. This required some research. Several blogs later, I decided that the best option was to
a) not buy 4 cheap phones over there - buying calling and texting time could negate any savings.
b) Unlocking the phone and buying an international card was expensive for just two weeks.
c) the best option was to buy a two week calling & texting package from our local provider. Now we just have to do this!!

4. Contact the owners of the apartments we had rented and give them our arrival times. The owner of our apt. in Rome does not speak English and so communication is tricky. We wanted to call him to check to see if the phone numbers worked, but we have to do that when he has a translator there, more complications. His answer was to ask the cab driver to call him when we are off the plane and on route. The other complication is that we must pay the balance of the rent in "cold, hard cash." This means that we have to travel with a lot of cash. I am going to call some more friends and see what they have done with their "Home Away" contracts.

5. Fun stuff. I have decided that I need a good pair of hiking/walking shoes. I also need a lighter backpack for my computer and plane stuff. I have bought some travel clothes and I already have a purse that I strap to my waist. I know that I will look like a tourist, but handbags, for me anyway, are easily lost or stolen. We had a friend who had her shoulder bag sliced off in Spain - gone was her money, her cards and her NZ passport. Now to coordinate all this stuff so that I can travel as light as possible. Years ago when I hitched around Europe for a few months while living in England, I carried a small plastic shopping bag - not even a back pack.

There is an inverse rationship between a traveller's experience and the size of their luggage. The more experience, the smaller the suitcase.

Have a great day!!

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