Trip Notes from London and Paris
- Written by Catherine Banks
Every time I travel I record things that I observe that will make my next trip or the next trip of my clients better or more comfortable. I recently traveled to London and Paris. Here are the notes I made along the way.
1. If you rely on your laptop heavily at home, there are many advantages to taking it along with you to Europe. Many hotels offer high speed internet in the room. Consider what this allows:
-You can keep up with your emails. (I would definitely recommend establishing an email folder called something like "When I return" or "After Vacation" where you put all of your actionable emails so they don't sit in your inbox.) This means that each day when you are out touring you'll know that the world isn't falling apart around you. Also, when you get home you won't have a million emails to go through and follow up on.
-Skype. On my most recent trip I charged up my Skype account with $10.00 and signed up for Skype Out. This allowed me to make outgoing telephone calls. My traveling companion and I both called home liberally and spoke at length. I just checked it and I still have a balance of over $4.00. So, for a week of virtually unlimited international calls I paid less than $6.00.
-Google Map Directions. When we arrived in Paris we wanted to find a grocery store so that we could get something to eat without having to sit down at a restaurant. Through Google Maps I was able to search for grocery stores in the area and look at photographs of what the path between our hotel and the grocery store looked like.
-Other Resources. We had access to the vast knowledge of the Internet as we looked for restaurants and attractions.
-iTunes: The coolest thing about having iTunes with me is that we were able to rent movies via iTunes for only $3.99 as opposed to the pay per view movies at the hotel for 25 Euros per movie. Also, with the iTunes movie we got to watch the end of it while we were on the Chunnel. Plus when we couldn't find anything on TV late at night I could watch downloaded episodes of my favorite programs from home.
2. Amazon Kindle: Amazon's wonderful electronic reading device is a fabulous resource to have on a trip. When you finish one book, just download another one! Rather than scouring the English language bookstores you have access to any book you want. Since the Amazon wireless system doesn't work outside the USA, you do need to have your laptop with you to download the books to your Kindle.
3. Adapters: I learned on this trip that if the brick on your power cord indicates that it can take 240v input, you can plug it into the outlet with just an adapter rather than worrying about a converter. My cell phone charger, Macbook charger and Kindle charger all did not need a converter which was fabulous.
4. If you stay in an expensive hotel, then everything around it is likely to be expensive as well. I won this trip so I was in much more expensive hotels than normal. Particularly in Paris I noticed that the shops and restaurants were much more expensive than in other parts of town. In our neighborhood we found a restaurant where a cheeseburger could be had for 27 Euros. Closer to the Eiffel Tower the prices were much more reasonable.
5. If there is a Segway tour where you're going, take it.
6. Trash Cans: We noticed that in many parts of London it was virtually impossible to find a trash can. This left us carrying our trash with us as we walked around. In Paris there were trash cans everywhere. Remarkably, there was also much more trash everywhere.
7. Friendly makes up for alot.