Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A couple of days before departure

I'm doing a final review of all the documents, lists and advice from the Rick Steves travel company in preparation for my departure this Friday to Amsterdam. I will have a day to myself before joining the group and starting the Best of Europe in 21 Days tour from the Netherlands, through Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and ending up in France.

Rick Steves advises using a carry-on sized bag and a day pack. They don’t want tour members to bring big or heavy luggage, since we will be responsible for carrying our own bags. We are staying in ‘character' hotels which often don’t have elevators and do have flights of stairs to climb. Finally, we may also need to carry our bags a block or two to the hotels we are staying in. I have traveled light before, so it shouldn’t be a problem for me to pare down to the essentials, especially since Rick Steves supplies detailed lists of what to pack, and what not to pack!

I will be using Telestial/eKit's Passport service while traveling in Europe. It is much less expensive than my Canadian cellular provider's roaming rates, and I get a UK-based number to use with my unlocked iPhone. They also offer data services throughout the countries I will be traveling, so I subscribed to this service.  Again, it is much cheaper than the data roaming rates from my Canadian cellular provider. I know many people make do with finding Internet cafes and making use of hotel Wi-fi, but I want a reliable and secure connection to the Internet for both my iPhone and my Macbook Air notebook computer. I have come to rely on my technology while traveling, and I don’t want to waste valuable travel time searching for acceptable Internet connections.

I am also experimenting with a map-based Journaling feature that comes with the Telestial/eKit Passport cellular service, so by all means give it a try if you wish to keep track of my travels on a map! Of course, my JoeTourist blog (which you are currently reading) is still my main means of communicating with my friends and family while I travel. I try to make a blog entry at least once each week, depending on how busy I am, and the availability of an Internet connection. I’m hoping to update the map-based journal at least once each day, so we’ll see how that goes...

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