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Had My Injection and Beginning to Pack .... My Trip is Here

As some on this fourm know, I am an old lady with health issues which includes arthritis in my knees most especially the right knee.

Got a cortisone injection the other day in. preparation for my trip. It was not bad and it should kick in around next week.

I am also beginning my packing. Laying out the clothes that i think I am going to be bringing. Packed my adapter / converter. Put my passport in a safe place where i will not forget it.

Gotten money out of my credit union and even bought some euros and pounds.

Have been informing those who need to know of upcoming travel

Supposedly my provider tells me that I have an international plan and I have added my hotel number to my contacts. I probably should test out my international plan

next week, I begin to print out my documents. My printer is old and sometimes difficult. It will eventually work and I think that is why I have delayed printing out the documents . I am not ready for what i refer to as my ulcer producing printer

had a therapeutic massage and wen to the gym.

As many know, I have been working on this trip for a year or more and here we are. it is all getting very real.

One very wonderful thing. I have a friend living in North England. We met in Los Angeles in the 1960's and have not seen each out other since the 1960's. She rented a hotel room in London for one night so that we could see each other one more time.

I think my friend in Lagos Portugal rented a room in Lisbon so that we might see each other again. We knew each other in San Francisco and have not seen each other since about 1969.

And I found a distant cousin on Ancestry who lives in London. We are planning on meeting up.

How do you begin to get ready for your travel?

Posted by
6408 posts

How exciting! Glad it is all coming together, and as someone who is significantly younger than 50, I cannot imagine how emotional it must be to see people again after over 50 years.

To answer your question, on my side, I travel very often, to the point where it has almost become a hassle at times. 75% for work, 25% on holiday. Living in Europe, short trips within Europe requires little preparation. Sometimes, I barely have a week's notice anyway. It is basically just about packing a suitcase and not forgetting my wallet, adaptors if needed, and my meds (thankfully those take almost no space for now). I have several credit cards so I never feel the need to withdraw cash in advance - there is always a card that works. Except that one time when I accidently took an expired card with me - oh well.

Longer trips to overseas destinations do require a bit more work: checking passports, applying for visas & visa vaiwers, checking for transportation options upon arrival (especially in Latin American countries where random taxis are not necessarily safe), etc.

Posted by
8263 posts

How do I get ready for my travel?

Decide on it, research it, book my flight ( months in advance so its the carrot at the end of the stick ) review my packing list and create my pocket sized travel booklet.

The latter is a fun process. On my journeys I’ll jot down notes, tape in business cards ( hotels, restaurants, shops) and refer to it for an address or phone number. Slips into the interior pocket of my coat.

I have a travel packing list. No iron blouses, well worn shoes, favorite sweater, long sleeve turtlenecks, underwear, jammies, slouchie, gloves and a light weight puffer vest. I’m one who prefers to travel in Fall or Winter months.

I cull and cull some more. Night before I charge the phone and iPad.

Months before I depart I add longer daily walks to build up stamina. I also start taking more vitamin C.

I’m also a firm believer in a paper trail so make copies of flight itinerary, passport, and drivers license. Retrieve my travel wallet, money belt, disposable foam ear plugs, coin purse, reading glasses and a couple of packs of gum.

I make certain the wheels on my luggage work properly, friends are notified of flights and destinations, have a neighbor retrieve my mail and arrange for a ride to hell on Earth, aka LAX.

Wheels up and the adventure begins.

Posted by
785 posts

Supposedly my provider tells me that I have an international plan and I have added my hotel number to my contacts. I probably should test out my international plan

Who is your provider?

Posted by
1588 posts

jojo Rabbit

Spectrum Mobile is my provider which you may or may not have heard of. I believe they are owned by Charter and once was Time Warner.

I thought that Spectrum owned the world but I have found out that they are not everywhere and some persons have never heard of them.

Posted by
1588 posts

Claudia and others

Some of you are such experienced travelers that everything seems to come naturally. I have friends like that. It seems like they always have a bag packed. They grab the bag and they are on their way. No big deal

and then there is me, It is such a production to get ready for a. trip.

Posted by
10345 posts

It sounds like a wonderful trip, especially when you will reconnect with old friends. Bon Voyage!
How do I begin? Choose a destination, new to us or a repeat visit. Ask friends and family who have been to our destination for advice especially for hotels and restaurants. Book flights, book hotels, read everything we can using several guidebooks in planning the itinerary. DKEyewitness, Fodors. Choose activities that need to be booked in advance. As trip gets closer book some restaurants especially for the first night. Read novels set in our destinations.

Posted by
150 posts

A very important step for me is to talk through my trip with someone step by step, and have them ask questions: "How will you get from airport to hotel? Do you have the addresses all saved in your contacts? How long is your connection?" This invariably helps me identify things I've forgotten to do, and helps me come up with a Plan B for things so I'm not caught off guard when things do not go according to plan.
Your trip sounds wonderful. Have a great time!

Posted by
2871 posts

I've traveled a lot, but it is still a production when I am planning a trip!
I like to make lists and cross them off as I go.
I love all the planning and minutiae of the before-you-leave stuff.

Posted by
8263 posts

Spectrum isn’t an international cable company.

Just because its Texas based and can be found in the US doesn’t mean the rest of the World knows about it.

Reality is that cable TV is on the way out. Streaming is evolving into the norm.

Have a safe and enjoyable trip!

Posted by
1588 posts

When I read many of your posts I think of the song "Here I go, into the wild blue yonder"

but as I get ready to travel, I think of Edward Munch's. "The Scream".

On a recent discussion, someone said that he did not want to begin his vacation by sitting at the airport for many hours before flying.

But that is how I like to begin my vacation. I get to the airport the night before flying out. I sit down and I can finally begin to relax. It is over. I have done all that I can do in getting ready to go. Now I can let all the stress and tension seep out of my body. I fully relax. I begin to feel like putty. I sit back and people watch.

It is a feeling of well being. I have begun my vacation

Posted by
22986 posts

One piece of advice that I read a long time ago but was critical for us once. See your dentist a couple of weeks before you travel. Years ago have a yearly, routine appointment that just happened to be a week prior to departure. He found a developing problem with an old root canal. Wasn't painful at the moment but in a week or so it would been a serious and painful problem. We now routinely schedule a check prior to each major trip.

Posted by
1588 posts


I was forced to cut the cord as I could no longer afford it. I am now using an antenna, have Prime and Paramount Plus. I do have plenty but I do also miss some of my cable TV channels.

But I have my internet, home land line and mobile through Spectrum which I guess is cable.

It ia beyond me but what I do care about is having decent internet, mobile phone and home land line at a reasonable and affordable price. For now, I have that.

Posted by
466 posts

Hi there, I noticed you say you have 'an international plan' but then speak of your cable / steaming plan. Your mobile is NOT on cable, it's on wifi when you're home (hopefully) and is using a mobile provider on 'roaming' data when you're out and about.

Not sure about the specifics of the international roaming (to access data) plan you have? Is it a daily charge? I leave my phone in Airplane mode, or turn off data (that's under 'Settings', 'Cellular', 'Cellular Data). EASIEST - Just put your phone on 'Airplane Mode' before departure so you're not getting charged for every bit of data you're using while you're wandering around. You can still join wifi networks along the way for free. I would just log into your mobile provider, & look up the international plan before you leave, hard to 'test it out' until you're there! Personally, I rarely use data when not on wifi in Europe, I have an international, $10 per day AT&T plan, turn it on just on the days I need it. (Usually to check VM's once a week).

You mentioned elsewhere when trying to understand WhatsApp, that you'd spoken with a friend and learned lots, maybe same friend would sit down to discuss the details of international roaming before you leave??

I think it's AMAZING that with all these concerns & especially painful arthritis you're still GOING on your trip!! Bon Voyage!!

Posted by
1588 posts

Good Morning Sandancisco

I am with Spectrum which is a huge conglomerate but I have found out that some people have never heard of it. It is owned by Charter and once upon a time was Time Warner

I was fully bundled with Spectrum. I had cable, internet and TV but I am with Spectrum Mobile for cell phone.

While Spectrum Mobile is part of the Spectrum family, it is still separate. I get billed separately but get a very good rate if I also use Spectrum Internet. If I cancel internet with Spectrum, then my phone bill goes up $20.00. So Spectrum Mobile is kind of bundled with internet but I still get billed and have to pay separately.

It does not make any sense

I had to cut my cable because I could no longer afford the cost. So I have internet and phone land line with Spectrum and I have mobile with Spectrum Mobile.

For support, I can call 611 on my mobile or I can call the Spectrum number from my home phone and punch whatever voice mail tells me to punch.

In fact, the other day I called 611 from my cell phone to ask about travel and got a message that my call could not be connected suggesting that i call back from another phone. I called from my home land line and was able to connect to Spectrum Mobile.

There must have been a glitch on their end because I have since called back using my mobile and was able to get through.

None of my friends are with Spectrum Mobile. I believe that it is relatively new in the world of mobile.

I can call support for anything and everything relating to mobile. Of course the other day I could not get through. What happens if I am in London and need to call support and am told that I an not be connected and to use another device. What happens when you do not have another device to call from?

My doctor tells me that according to my xray, I should not even be able to walk because my right knee is bone on bone but he said, you're walking defying what the xray is saying. I am going to eventually need a replacement. I walk a lot too, sometimes more than a couple a miles a day. He said that when you can no longer walk, then we do the replacement. I have some stiffness, sometime more so than other times. I have somne pain sometimes mild and sometimes not so mild..

For 78, I am considered in very good health by my health care providers, etc . And yes, I am leaving for London in just over a week. And maybe I am being optomistic but I have Haifa to Istanbul booked for October 2024. When I need the replacement, I will have the replacement.

You can do me a favor. I do not understand Airplane Mode so can you explain it to me. When do you put your phone on Airplane Mode and why?

I did not get my first computer until I was 63 and I did not get my first smart phone until I was 65. I also went many years not being able to travel and I only began to travel some when I turned 65.

Spectrum Mobile Support tells me that i will be billed 5 cents a minute while calling London and England and 7 cents a minute when calling Lisbon and Portugal. It has gone up since i first began exploring international rates last year when it was 3 cents to call England and 5 cents to call Portugal. I get unlimited text messages which are supposedly free.

I always take everything told me with a grain of salt because I sometimes have been given incorrect information by not just Spectrum but many other companies as well. Good customer service is sometimes not very good.

I always keep data off except when needed.

I pay $14 a month for my service with 1 gig of data. It is another $14 for every gig of data. If I wanted unlimited data, it is like $30 a month but keep in mind that you have to have Spectrum Internet to get the good phone rates. because I am eligible for one of the government plans, my internet currently remains at $30.00.

Posted by
466 posts

OP, I think you're far from a beginner in the mobile area, well done! Actually, your plan makes sense, if you use all their services which you seem to understand well, you're getting a better deal.

Airplane mode - If you open 'Settings' its the VERY top button, slide it over & you've now done what every airplane announcement will tell you as they're taxing away from the gate. The nice thing about airplane mode is you can forget about it while you're overseas, UNLESS you want to listen to VM's or make calls without wifi. You will NOT receive notification of missed calls or text messages.

"Airplane mode allows travelers to continue to use their devices unless airline rules require that the devices be turned off altogether. In airplane mode, *only functions that require a transmission signal are disabled*; the user can still access the device’s camera, games, Mp3 player and so on. Some devices also allow users to write and save text and email messages to be sent when transmission is permitted again." I hope that's helpful!

Posted by
13253 posts

"Packed my adapter / converter."

This statement in your original post concerns me. I think you are probably just using the wrong terminology but I want to make sure.

Adapter: These are gizmos you attach to your US plug for your chargers to plug into the wall sockets in London, Southamptonand Portugal. There would be different ones for the sockets in London and Southampton vs Lisbon.

The adapters would look something like this:

Converter: This is a bigger, heavier piece of equipment that "converts" or steps down electricity so you can use your 110 appliance (hair dryer? curling iron??) with the electricity in Europe which is 220-240. We don't usually have 220 in US homes except for the plug for a clothes dryer or electric range (can't think of anything else that has a 220 wire run to it). The converters are bigger, heavier and more expensive (because they do a different job.)

You probably do NOT have a converter. Your phone and iPad chargers do NOT need a converter but they do need an Adapter.

Just want to check and make sure.

Posted by
1588 posts

Hi Pam

This is what I bought in 2019 when I went on a Baltic Cruise

BESTEK [Pure Sine Wave] BESTEK Travel Adapter Converter Combo, 220V to 110V Voltage Converter 4.2A Dual Smart USB UK/AU/US/EU Worldwide Plug
Visit the BEST

I have only used it on the above cruise and not again. I tested the USA plug outlet and it worked fine.

I bought it on Amazon and you could go to Amazon and plug this in and see what it looks like. It is probably more than I needed or now need but I knew even less in 2019 than I do now.

I clicked on your links and have a simpler version of the second one while I probably only needed the first one, right.

I have three outlets. I have two usb's. I have a prong for the USA, Great Britain and Europe. I paid about $50 for it.

Posted by
13253 posts

Yep, that is more than you need. You just need the adapter. For your next trip you can size down.

I'm still assuming you only have your phone and your iPad to plug in, right?

Posted by
1588 posts


have my phone and iPad but I have a small massage gun which I may take. It has a small charger. I have a Lifeline to wear around my neck should I need help and it has a small cradle. However I am uncertain if it would be of any use in Europe. I will be checking in with Lifeline and ask them.

Posted by
5168 posts

BP, Pam is right - you should not need a converter, but make sure you have an adaptor for the countries you will be visiting. I usually bring at least 2 adaptors (or an adaptor with multiple ports) but I have more devices than you. But at least bring one. Rick Steves sells them quite cheaply here and his work very well.

This is one for the Europe adaptor -
Or you could get a universal adaptor in case you are going to places other than Europe:

Posted by
1588 posts

Thank you Mardee

I am good with the adapter / converter that I have. It's a good one but more than I need and mor than I had to spend.

I had not yet discovered this site when I cruised in 2019 but very glad that I finally did.

I am flying out October 6th. If the governmenbt shuts down (and I fear that it might) how badly do you think that I might be affected?

Posted by
13253 posts

BP, do check with your Lifeline company. I did not think the fall alert system would work unless you were within a certain number of feet of your base station which is probably near your telephone. I've not dealt with them since the explosion of cell phones so that may be different now. However, I am nearly certain it will be useless to you once you leave the Austin area. Probably better to leave it safe at home.

Posted by
8263 posts

And the government shutting down would effect your trip how?

Lifeline will not work in Europe.

Posted by
1588 posts

Hi Pam and Claudia

My lifeline works outside my home and I do not need it just for falls. I can use it for any emergency including if someone scares me.

I have a button in the center which connects me to a. call center and I have GPS in my Lifeline in case i can not speak or do not know where I am or can not give directions

I am required to do a monthly check in and got the call today that it is time. So I will be checking in probably tomorrow.

Claudia, I have concern that if the government shuts down, it might make it difficult to fly out although I will get to the airport the night before and try to go through security as soon as it opens.

Posted by
137 posts


I have traveled in Europe at least once when the government was shut down. The shutdown posed no problems at all. Hopefully if the government shuts down during your trip you will find the same. My husband and I were scheduled to travel to Europe on October 4, however we have had to cancel our plans. I had no concerns regarding a possible shutdown.

Wishing you a wonderful trip!

Traveler Girl

Posted by
1655 posts

Joe--That is the printer I have and I fight with it constantly. My husband is a tech guy and even he took a lot of digging and finally found something from HP that says they are not very compatible with Apple products, but he had to really dive in to find that. I hate this printer so much, but think most of them are garbage now anyway. We actually took my moms old printer for my husbands office as it is much more reliable.

Posted by
10527 posts

mikliz-- sorry to hear of your problems. I do not have that model but have found HP to be pretty good.

Posted by
1655 posts

Joe—this model cannot stay connected to the Wi-Fi. The only thing that usually works is to keep unplugging it. Sometimes 5-6 times to get it to work. I had high hopes, but it’s frustrating.

Posted by
1588 posts

I have a Canon Pixma 3620. It looks and feels like it is very cheaply made which it probably is but I have had it four or five years and it still sometimes works.

I have to fiddle with it. I try to print and get an error message. Then I read the error message and do whatever it wants but I have to restart and try again and it goes on and on

Eventually it prints but it never just prints from the get go. My printer makes me play a game.

I also have an Apple.

I would buy a new printer but I do not know if anything would work better.

Posted by
31567 posts

if you have so much trouble I don't think I'd wait until the last minute

Posted by
5168 posts

I don't bother with inkjet printers - they're expensive to maintain and I hate dealing with HP. I have a Brother black and white laser printer that works great for what I need. I don't need color when printing out documents (or sewing patterns) and it's so inexpensive to maintain. I get anywhere from 2500 to 3500 pages with one ink cartridge compared to around 250-300 pages for an inkjet printer.

Posted by
1588 posts

Got my documents printed with just a little stress.

The problem is often that I either have too much paper in my printer or too little. I think I need more than 5 pieces of paper but less than some magic number like 10 or 15.

I keep getting the message "add paper" when I have paper in. In this case, I had to remove paper one time and then add paper the next time but just a few sheets.

I was printing out my cruise documents but I will want to print out reservations for my hotels and finally my documents for my flights.

I also have all of this on my iPad so I don't need hard copies but I like them.

I probably will print out some google maps such as getting from Paddington Station to my B&B. And getting from my B&B to Victoria Coach Station, etc etc