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Do you need bug spray in Europe

We are taking the 21 day tour in August. I'm starting to pack and wonder if we need bug spray?
Will we really ever need a jacket?
What's the chance of enough rain to pack an umbrella?
Can we leave stuff on the bus for the duration of the trip?
Do you really think you can make it on $50-$100/person a day?
How much are the disposable phones at the European airports? (We fly into Amsterdam)
Are there going to be any opportunities to use a Laundromat? .(We are doing the 21 day)
The laundromat is really important to me and I would give up a couple of hours to have our clothes cleaned and dried as apposed to hanging them over a line. (I did pack the line)

Posted by
1994 posts

You may not need insect repellent, but if you do, you'll be glad to have it with you. I'm not sure you could bring a spray on the plane; I'll leave that question to someone else. I bring a few of the individually packaged towelettes that are saturated with repellent. Tales almost no space, and I've been very glad to have it in Italy.

Posted by
8009 posts

I'm taking the 21 Day the end of August as well! Can't wait!

I've been to Italy in May but not in August/Sept, but here are my thoughts:

Jacket: Looked at weather.com today and I realize this is NOT the best site for weather in Muerren, Switzerland but the projected high next Tues is 54 with rain. Don't know where you are from, but in N. Idaho I would want a jacket with those conditions. I will take 2 cardigans and a waterproof jacket. Still up in the air about taking a polarfleece vest. I am guessing that is overkill.

Umbrella: I'm taking an umbrella and waterproof jacket, but that is what I will take anywhere I go.

Leaving stuff: As I understand it we have the same coach the whole time and some people bring an extra bag for deep storage to leave under the bus. On the RS Tour of Ireland our bus driver did not want people to leave electronics on the bus overnight.
editing to add: I have taken a couple of bus tours (Rick Steves and Road Scholar) and I now take a tote bag (LeSportSac medium tote is the size) to leave on the bus during the day. I put my jacket, umbrella, water, snacks, kindle, guide book, journal, etc in there so my purse is lighter. I don't need to take everything off the bus when we make intermediate stops, but have things handy.

Budget: I think I can make it on $50-$100/day (probably to the lower end most days). I will probably have an occasional glass of wine and I don't usually eat expensively. I am vegan so anticipate having some back up food in case group meals don't work for me. I do plan to spend money to go up the Schilthorn if the weather is good. I think that is pretty expensive.

Wash: Recently on a thread someone said there were wash opportunities in Reutte and Monterosso. I did Heart of Italy and at the hotel in Monterosso they had laundry bags when they gave us the room keys if you wanted them to do your laundry.

Line: I have had better success sink washing and then just hanging on a cheap plastic hanger that I take with me. I also take a couple of clothes pins. I trialed the stretchy line at home and wasnt very successful with it. I always wound up with lumpy areas in the garment after it dried from where I poked it thru the braided areas.

I'm excited!

Posted by
1204 posts

i just got back from 6 days in Italy and 2 in Slovenia.......I had packed one of those curly plastic bracelets saturated with bug repellent.......I think it did make the mosquitoes ignore my face and arms.....tho they did bite my legs.
we were a self guided group, but at the end my friend did a daily average......with train tickets, museums, lunch, supper, wine and gelato AND hotel (double occupancy) ......we averaged 100 euros a day. pretty amazing. so, assuming that your museum tickets and housing are already a part of your tour price.....I think you can get 2 amazing meals and daily gelato and wine somewhere between 50 & 100 dollars
I had a knit cardigan, a large chambray shirt, and a rain poncho that I could wear over my day pack. I used them all.

Posted by
17 posts

Thanks for the quick replies. My trip starts August 1st (21 grand tour). I will bring a bag for stuff I plan to leave on the bus. i will bring a sweater and cheap rain pouch. I'm excited to hear that their will be laundry service at days 6 and 14. I would like to splurge on that.
Do people on the tour wear cocktail attire in the evening. Or does everybody just throw a shawl/scarf on with their daytime casual wear? I really intend to pack light as I am carrying it all in a Rick Steve's backpack/rolling luggage.

Posted by
524 posts

I have been on 10 RS Tours and, so far, not one person has ever worn a cocktail dress. These are very casual tours. I have seen people wear slacks or a dress/skirt with scarf, for evening meals. I was in Italy in Oct. and was never bothered by any insects, and Mosquitos love me. I would definitely take along a waterproof jacket, you could buy an umbrella there, if it rains often enough to warrant the purchase. I, too, leave stuff on the bus during the day. The driver will lock the bus whenever he is taking his break. Just like at home, I would never leave anything on the bus overnight. There has never been an incident of theft during any tour I have taken. I can make it on the amount quoted, but I always transfer way more money into checking account, in case I need more. I am unsure of cheap phone prices, but have you checked to see if your carrier has an international plan?

Posted by
17 posts

Glad to hear that no one is dressing up. I am going to search online for the lightest travel iron possible because we didn't go out and buy microfiber clothes that dry quick and I will haul it if I can find one for a pound.

Posted by
16817 posts

I would bring one small supply of bug repellant per couple; some may come in the format of moist towelettes. If you're trying to carry all your bags on board, then liquids must be in containers of 3.4 ounces or less.

While I bring both a waterproof raincoat and umbrella later in the year, I might leave both of those home in August in favor of more adjustable layers. If there is a sudden squall in a touristy spot, umbrella sellers will appear. Now I see that the Muerren weather forecast above isn't too warm, thanks to Pam's worst-case example. The surrounding July days are forecast at closer to 65 degrees in Muerren, still with thunderstorms. It will always be colder on top of Mt. Schilthorn and weather cams at the lift offices give you the best preview before you go up.

Your guide will give you advance notice of a few towns where you have good laundry opportunities. I don't think you need a travel iron; a few hotels might have a loaner iron. When I have sent clothes to be washed and folded by a service, they have always come back quite nice (but not pressed). In your Best of Europe guidebook, laundry facilities are often listed at the start of each chapter, under "Helpful Hints," or in bigger cities (like Paris) are mentioned in the hotel section. Your hotel staff or Google maps can help you find others.

You can leave a bag or some purchases in "deep storage" under the bus. These are generally items that you won't need until the end of the trip, which the driver stores in a separate area. You will also want a day bag for your daily necessities, but may well leave items in the passenger section of the bus when the group is making a short stop.

In big cities and sweaty Italian weather, I tend to change for dinner, but what I change into is not much fancier than the other clothes in rotation.

Posted by
10344 posts

One of the worst (or best) bug stories we've had here was: The travelers were in (I think it was) Venice in the summer. Their hotel room did not have AC, so when they went out for dinner, they left the window open for ventilation. Hotels in many European countries don't seem to have window screens, this one didn't. When they returned to the room after dinner, and turned the light on, they said the room was "black" with insects (I forget which species of bug).

I forget what they did, but the corrective action needed at that point was way beyond bug spray.

Posted by
8009 posts

No cocktail dresses! In fact, on the 2 tours I have done, most people wore the same thing for dinner as they had worn during the day. On my last tour a woman turned up with a different shirt for the last night and said she had been saving it for the last night, but she was the only one who wore something different. In my experience everyone is very casual.

I was hoping the Muerren temps were unseasonable! 65 looks better...

Posted by
119 posts

Ditto what Pam said. We have been on 8 RS tours and rarely changed for dinner from what I wore during the day
unless I was hot and sweaty. Casual tops are all I take.

Posted by
17 posts

I leave in one week and I'm pretty sure my packing is adequate. My biggest problem now is understanding the phone technology. I want to take pictures with the phone, but I don't want roaming charges and I don't want to receive phone calls from other than my traveling partner. So putting on the airplane mode cuts out reaching my traveling partner, because he wont have it on either.