Pre – Travel Preparation – a little old school for us

Yes, we are at it again.  We leave in a couple of days to begin our trip to Prague and then the Danube followed by northern Italy.

As I have mentioned before, we tend to be a little “old school” in that we take paper copies of confirmations, tickets, maps with us.  We have a 3 ringed flexible travel notebook with divider tabs to help organize ourselves.  We just spent two nights going through our notebook and updating our Excel spreadsheet of our itinerary.  The spread sheet is basically a condensed version of what we are doing, confirmation numbers, activities, lodging information, transportation info arrival/departure times, etc.

We have also emailed ourselves scans of our passports and wrote down all the international phone numbers of our credit cards (disregarding our banks instructions of writing down the actual credit card numbers).  Additionally we have ordered three different foreign currencies so we will have some money when we arrive in each country; notified our credit cards companies that we will be traveling and making sure that I only bring the credit cards that have no foreign transaction fees; also notified our Schwab Bank, whose no-fee ATM card we will be carrying, that we will be traveling.  I have reconfirmed all of our confirmations that are made with individuals, confirming the date, time and location of where we will meet.  I have down loaded onto my cellphone the Rick Steves audio walking tours of the cities/area that we will be in.  Finally, I have stopped our mail and our newspaper delivery.

Traveling in the spring I wanted (wanted, not needed) a new safety purse in a lighter color.  I went to my favorite bag retailer – Ebags –  and found just what I wanted.  Going through my Chase shopping portal, I received 8 points per dollar for my purchase at Ebags.


What I really liked about this purse is that its heavy-duty water-resistant nylon bag features cut-proof Chain Link construction, it protects me from pickpockets with a lock where you main zippers are located so it can’t be easily opened, it has a cut proof chain link construction on the shoulder strap, it also has a RFID blocking card to prevent thieves from getting wirelessly our information from our chip enabled credit cards.  There is even a side mesh pocket for my water bottle.  If you are interested in this purse (and I do not get get a commission, just like to pass on what I like) you can go here.

While I was looking at my purse on E-bags I also decided to look at the packing cubes that  have heard so much about.  I really didn’t understand why everyone was raving about these cubes since I feel that I already packed very well.  I use ziplock bags, roll my tops to take up less room and feel that I “stuff” things in every nook and cranny that comes with having odd size items.  Nevertheless, I purchased a set of medium as well as small cubes.  Now that I have packed, I’m beginning to realize why travelers like them.  All my tops are in two medium size cubes, underwear in a small, accessories in another.  My pants are not in cubes. It is very easy to unpack as well as to pack again.  My suitcase looks a lot neater and Blogger Hubby thinks that I am bringing less because it looks so neat.  These are the cubes I purchased, again getting 8 points per dollar spent by going through my Chase shopping portal.

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I also purchased new shoes.  I ordered them (going through Chase also at 8 points per dollar) and as soon as I put them on my feet it felt like my feet were in feet heaven.  I kid you not!  The adjustable heel strap made sure that my narrow heel fit well in the shoe.  It also has a Velcro strap that goes over my foot which will come in handy with swollen feet (elastic straps do not work well for me).  Additionally it has a roomy toe box which is where I find shoes snug.  I put them on and felt like they were already broken in.  If you are interested in these shoe here is the link:

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To help me know what the weather will be like, and therefore what clothes to bring, I went to  With their 10 day forecast I would plug in every city that we were visiting.  I also saw that I should bring an umbrella and raincoat!

Finally, with our daughter due to deliver her second child while we are traveling, I looked into finding and purchasing an unlocked phone (didn’t find one), and into the Verizon Global Plan to use on my phone.  All of our children have our itinerary with telephone of our hotels and the ship.

I think with all this, I am done and can relax.

Hope you enjoy this YouTube video about packing



8 thoughts on “Pre – Travel Preparation – a little old school for us

  1. We are planning a trip to Paris in July and these packing suggestions are right up my ally. I am experimenting with bags and shoes to find my comfort zone.

    1. The shoes were great! We walked between 6 and 9 miles daily and never had any problem. The purse worked well but I found that I really didn’t need it since I used my CamelBak backpack every day. Next time I’ll leave the purse home.

  2. I think we have a lot in common since your pre-trip planning sounds much like mine, I love the shoes!

    But every time I reconsider packing cubes I decide against them. The ones you link to weigh 12 oz. each, so that’s adding an additional 2+ lbs. to your suitcase’s weight. Ever since I followed your example and learned to travel with only a carry-on, I am very weight conscious. So if I am going to shlepping a suitcase around, I’d rather toss in an extra pair of shoes than 2+ lbs. of cubes, But I will be eager to hear how it works out for you.

    Have a terrific trip and hope the raincoat and umbrella can stay in the suitcase!

    1. Cubes worked great and really helped with my organization particularly with the one and two night hotel stays that we had. I would pack clothes that I was going to wear the next day in one of the cubes so all I had to take out was that one cube.

  3. You mentioned “Verizon Global Plan to use on my phone”, what recommendations do you have with regards to cell phone usage in Europe? I just bought a Verizon plan with the understanding that it can be used in Europe. A co-worker said that that was true but it costs for the “roaming”.

    1. Somehow my phone didn’t get registered even though my daughter said that she did it. The trick to the global plan is to turn off all the notifications that you can get that will eat up minutes/data. We ended up just using the free WiFi and then video chatting through the WiFi using Google Hangout

      1. We have been using T-Mobile in Europe. We already used T-Mobile so when they came out with the free texting and data we upgraded to a smart phone . It works really well. We have used it in Germany, France, Spain and England so far. Texting and data are free and calls are $.20 a minute back to the U.S. They offer an upgraded data package but we have not needed it between wifi and the data it comes with.

        1. I was aware of T Mobile and how easy and inexpensive it is to use overseas. My problem is where I live part of the year has horrible T Mobile coverage and I didn’t want to be locked into a contract for a year or two because I needed it for a few weeks in Europe. What I ended up doing is using free WiFi in hotspots and then using Facetime or Google Hangout to see and talk to my daughter.

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