[personal profile] jenny_wildcat
 I've been chatting back and forth with my classmates who are going to Serbia with me next month on our study abroad trip - this is starting to be more real.  Especially since we're probably going to go a few days early and sightsee in another European city (because, honestly, am I ever going to have this chance again?)  I think - THINK, mind you - that we will be going to London (as long as it's still standing by the time we get there).  If not London, then maybe Paris or Vienna (but I am soooo crossing my fingers that the other two who are going decide on London).

While I am super-excited, I am also dead nervous about it.  I am soooo not a world traveler and I have no idea how to handle things like should I carry cash or credit cards?  Should I even take my debit card?  I already know this is going to be expensive (luckily the school has some grant money available for us).  What about my cell phone - how much is a call from my phone to my classmates' phone going to be if we're both in the same country?  Will I have access to laundry facilities or should I just pack enough clean clothes for the whole time I'm in Europe?  What if I get lost?

I think I'll be fine and I'll have a great time once I get there - it's just all the anticipation and preparation that's driving me crazy.  Going on a mission was so much easier because the mission office took care of travel arrangements and having someone meet you at the airport and you're traveling with a big group already.  Plus, I stayed in the US, so changing money and worrying about debit cards wasn't an issue.  Organizing a trip on your own is so much tougher.

Have any of you gone on international trips?  Can you please lend a globetrotting greenie some useful advice?  I promise I'll post interesting pictures when I get back.

Date: 2011-08-15 06:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] narniadear.livejournal.com
Your phone is crazy expensive to use overseas, but you can call your carrier and ask them about your options. They can turn on 'international roaming' usually, but again. CRAZY EXPENSIVE. You might just want to turn it off once you get on the plane.

As for cash, the best way to deal with it is to go to a bank or currency exchange and buy some bills for the foreign country you're going to be hanging out in FIRST. So if you're going to land in London, go exchange some dollars for pounds, just so you have some cash for cabs and airports.

I've found that often you can use your debit card at an ATM machine and get that country's cash out of it. As long as it says it accepts Visa (or whatever card you have) you put in how much you want of that country's money, and it gives it to you. (Then you have to check your account to see what the exchange rate was and how much money actually left your bank account...and there are usually fees for international withdrawals)... but it's the easiest way I've found.

The best way of operating with money is to have some cash and a Visa card. Almost everywhere excepts visa and that's the best way to pay for a lot of things. But you'll need cash for transport and street markets and stuff like that.

As for getting lost, I would see if you could invest in a small map of the city where you'll be spending most of your time. The London from A-Z map book is the best thing ON THE PLANET and you can usually find that at any bookstore. I got the mini one and it was in my hand all the time.

Checking out books from the library about traveling to each city you're going to is also not a bad idea. I got the rough guide to London and read that thing from cover to cover. It helped a LOT. You could find one on Serbia as well.

Sounds like it's going to be an awesome trip!!



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