Thursday, July 16, 2015

Travel Thoughts, Hints, Comments and oh ARGH!

 Good Bad and What I'd Do Differently

This grand adventure, I should count up the miles, it would be thousands (about 17680 or so give or take--I had to figure it out) and took 30 days. I've been in six countries and seen great thing after great thing.

So...what would I do differently? What great choices did I make? What mistakes?

Here are a few:

Great choices:
  1. If you're going to visit the Greek islands, do a cruise. Even though, I really don't like the cruise lifestyle, it was great to only unpack once.
  2. Renting a scooter on Rhodes and Santorini. So fun!
  3. Doing the hop on hop off bus in all four cities...Istanbul, Athens, Dublin and Edinburgh. It's a great way to get a feel for the city and know what you want to go back and see.
  4. Staying at the colleges. Even though Pollock Halls had the WORST mattress ever, the rooms were safe, clean and comfortable.
  5. Good shoes! I stumbled across a pair of sneakers at WalMart for $5!!! They have been wonderful and lightweight. Bad shoes will ruin a vacation!!!
  6. Umbrella, sunscreen and bug spray (for the Highlands)
  7. Pony trekking. I wasn't sure I wasn't going to pull it off, but both experiences were well worth it.
  8. Leaving my luggage at Dublin airport. Too much, too heavy. I grabbed a smaller bag and left the big stuff there.
  9. Here's a GREAT choice. I brought a lightweight blanket and my beach towel. In Arrochar, the hotel gave me a comforter that didn't even cover me. I was glad for the blanket.
  10. Renting the car and driving out to Gallipoli. Just a nice way to start off the trip. And went very smoothly.

Poor Choices:
  1. Despite trying not to overpack, going between so many climates made for a mess. BUT...still, I just should have brought less and not worried about just wearing things again and again.
  2. Bringing too many granola bars. I just didn't have the discipline to eat them and they were heavy!!
  3. Brought two rain coats....one was a special riding coat which weighs 2.2 pounds!!!! didn't need, didn't use. The other was what I thought would be a great raincoat. NOPE...it soaked through and was quite heavy besides. Rolling eyes.
Best Purchases:
  1. a tiny fan that is a USB. The hotels in Scotland and Ireland were hot and my fan made them comfortable and made white noise so I could sleep more easily.
  2. A white linen shirt (which I overpaid for) in Ephesus....but I wore it EVERY day in Turkey and Greece and didn't have worry about sunburn. Soooo good!
  3. Spices in Istanbul. If nothing else, I kept thinking how much our daughter in law might enjoy them.
  4. Turkish Delight!  REAL Turkish Delight!  Yummy!!!
Good Choices:
  1. Not pre-paying gas in my rental car. They wanted $50 pounds and I just didn't do that much driving around. I did, but they got great mileage. It cost me $33.15 to fill the car myself.
  2. Leaving my luggage at my hotel at the university and going to get my rental car THEN getting the luggage rather than having to drag it through Edinburgh.
  3. EasyJet. It was cheap and not bad. A long flight would not have been comfortable but funny basic “benchy” seats were kind of amusing. Just know you pay for EVERYthing. Even your dri

    nks. (tap water is free).
  4. Bringing little anti-bacterial wipes for those occasions without soap. And tissues... but I got a bit excited about those and over brought.
Frustrations:
  1. Internet!!! The cruise company wanted $22 a DAY!!! for terrible connection. And the “free” internet that people said we'd find, meant...buy something at a cafe and maybe their internet would work.
  2. Phone!!! We changed our phones to have a Europe unlimited text and data. Well, the data didn't work. Ever! But oddly enough, I was able to text my children while out a sea...away from any visual land.
  3. My car was MUCH bigger than I'd hoped. Something tiny would have been less stressful. And I HATED paying $10 pounds a day for a satnav.
  4. Aer Lingus (like EasyJet) will give you a big discount on paying for luggage IF you book it ahead of time. Because I booked my flight with Expedia, Aer Lingus would NOT allow me to pick seats nor pre-pay my luggage. Sigh.
  5. ATM WARNING!!! My bank charged me $5.00 a time getting out cash. We weren't getting a lot out each time for a bit. BAD choice!!!!

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