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Trips made better by this forum

Currently in Spain and once again my trip is better because of all I learn in this forum. We just finished a tour of the Alhambra with a guide I learned about here. I would never have known to contact Margarita otherwise. I learned so much during our visit. So much more than wandering through on my own.

Thanks to all of you for making my trips so much better!!!

Would anyone like to share a tip or advice they received on this forum that made a trip better?

Posted by
33134 posts

I learned about the KONUS Card in Baden-Württemberg which gives free travel in the entire German state, issued at overnight accommodation in most smaller towns and villages in the state.

A real money saver in the Black Forest area.

Posted by
2481 posts

Going on RS tours and seeing how a good local guide enhances your understanding was the biggest tip.

Learning about GoOpti car service was a real plus when train travel wasn't working out getting from Austria to Croatia.

The citymapper app mentioned below was a great tip!

Posted by
4865 posts

My recent Frankfurt Christmas Markets trip was made possible by dozens of contributions on the forum, and especially by Ms. Jo, with her forum contributions that I read before my trip and guided tours and friendship while there, which added that "local" dimension.

Posted by
2475 posts

During my October trip to France, I did an ongoing trip report, and got all sorts of great logistical and cultural tips, particularly from Kim (using CityMapper to get around Paris), Estimated Prophet (getting into the Louvre considerably earlier than my reserved time-slot), Bets (many excellent explanations of things I saw and heard), and Janis (article about the booksellers along the Seine). Many thanks.

Posted by
4293 posts

Most of everything I know? I looked back at my first questions for a return to travel in 2012 and see answers from now familiar names like Lola, Nigel, and Michael.

I tend to not ask a ton of questions but I am a voracious reader of posts going way back. So often posters have no idea how much they have helped me, since they were answering questions from others: people like Pam, Carlos, Jason, Mister E, stanbr and Janet, and Robert. And more!

Posted by
3311 posts

Great thread Carol! I first started reading and posting on this forum 5 years ago. My knowledge of geography has increased immensely! So has my travel list!
I agree with TexasTravelmom, I always go back and search previous posts to see if my question has already been asked or answered, which many times it has.
I have also met up with forum folks in places like Paris, which was a blast!

Posted by
2462 posts

Learning about Google Fi which I had never heard about until I read about it on the forum. We have been using it all year during our travels and just love it. It has worked everywhere for us including Antarctica. Amazing!

Posted by
4246 posts

I don't know where to start. Celtic Legend car rentals in Scotland was a revelation, money exchange (when that used to be a thing) is cheaper over there than doing it here. And of course, Big Mike's big news that my pet giraffe can now be used as an emotional support animal on Icarus Airlines...

Posted by
3941 posts

I learned about the SCAVI tour in Rome here. Also about the Nightwatchman’s tour In Rothenburg. Both worth taking gain.

Posted by
8815 posts

Made enduring friendships.

As far as Forum tips:
In a pinch use dental floss as a shoe lace or to secure a button
Use TripIt app
Use a coin purse
Bring a scarf
Bring a tiny pencil like golfers use for their score cards
Don’t forget twist ties
Bring cheap wash cloths
Pack Small flashlight
Use a Door Jamb
Take various sized zip lock bags rolled up and secured with a few rubber bands. Rubber bands can secure buttons and be used as a key ring.
Bring small Nivea Tin for face cream
Use Altoids tin for a sewing kit or safety pins.
Bring a few classic wooden clothes pins
Always bring your eye glass prescription
Use Chums to secure your eyeglasses AND use a clip on case to secure reading glasses in inside coat pocket. Buy inexpensive reading glasses from 99 cent stores or whatever discount chain is in your neighborhood
Lastly, use a collapsible key and coin travel tray.

EDIT: Always get the business card of the hotel you are staying in or take a picture of the address you’ve written down or entered onto TripIt so you can tell cabbies.

Posted by
93 posts

I'd guess that a sizeable portion of my travel knowledge has been gained via osmosis from reading this forum over the last few years.
So many of our trips have benefitted from the sharing of knowledge on this forum.

The seeds of some of our travel plans have come from reading others' itineraries and trip reports and reading about the longer trips which those of you who are retired take has made me envious enough that my husband and I have aspired to reduce the number of years until ours!

Besides all of the knowledge and ideas I've discovered, it's good to know that there are others who share the same obsession (meant in the most positive way) with European travel.

Posted by
7400 posts

Heading to sleep in a few minutes, so I’ll just name a few:

Priscilla told me about the Alibus to go directly from Malpensa to Stresa.
Cindy H shared the dry Oil of Olay makeup remover facecloths - still use them everyday.
Roberto has been a great resource for less traveled Italy cities.
Someone started the Best Gelato post, and wow, the Suso in Venice - Manet flavor was spectacular! A few other flavors were great, but one was not. I ended with another Manet!

I love reading people’s trip reports to get ideas of places or activities. I have bookmarked several of them.

If the forum can also include the local groups who meet together, I’ve received so much value from getting together with fellow friends who love to share the excitement of our various styles of travel!

Posted by
2866 posts

I don't know where to start, other than to say THANK YOU TO EVERYONE over the last six years who helped me evolve from someone who hadn't traveled in 25 years to someone who's learning to be brave enough to travel solo. I've met in-person friends I cherish and forum friends I wish I could meet.

Just a few things out of the many I've learned and am learning along the travel trail:
*pack light (a work in progress)
*public transportation (still need to be braver)
*be open minded
*force yourself to move out of your comfort level
*don't over plan, sometimes you need to kick back and relax
*read, bookmark, read again

Grazie, Merci, Danke, Hvala, Děkuji and Thanks from places I will visit someday,

Posted by
1356 posts

Connection is key to wonderful travels and I appreciate all the advice, tips and tricks gained from Forum Members over the years. Think my first inquiries were is 2009 when planning a trip to Italy. What stands out is the care some members take to respond to those inquiries. The packing Forum and Trip Report Forum are my favorites. Also, the tips for new smartphone apps are invaluable: TripIt and CityMapper for example.

Edit to add: I had forgotten to mention that I also learned of the Scavi tour from a Forum member. Barbara, thanks for the reminder. Also, the Apia Way walk and visiting some crypts.

With gratitude,

Posted by
6364 posts

Jean, here's a link to the travel group section:

We have learned so much from the Forum. We were such neophytes when we started traveling to Europe, but people on the Forum as (mostly) kind, gentle, and patient.

Just this year we used information from Allan, for example, that made our Venice stay even more delightful, and met up with Pam and diveloonie for dinner in Paris!

Thank you, everyone.

Posted by
14166 posts

Oh yes!!! I agree with everyone!

My life has been enriched by forum members in many ways. Not just advice although I've absorbed plenty of it since I first came on to the forum but by the lifelong friends I've made. Yep, I've met up with forum members in Paris, London, Amsterdam and...Yellowstone, lol!! ALL really wonderful, interesting people that I'm honored to have shared a meal, a drink or a walk thru a geyser basin, lol! I love the local meet ups both in Moscow and Coeur d'Alene and have learned so much and felt so supported by these amazing travelers.

I love connecting with folks off the forum by PM, email and FB to see what interesting and amazing things they are doing both travel and otherwise. What a great group of folks we have here!

As to tips...I think the most salient piece of advice I received early on was to "pack on paper first". I think it might have been from one of the Colorado guys? Frank or Lee? Wow...that blew my mind as someone trying to reform from taking a suitcase the size of a steamer trunk which the Delta agents had to slap a "HEAVY" sticker on.

Decide on how few pants and shirts I could manage with for a time frame. OK, yeah, then go thru my closet, pick out a capsule wardrobe (with suggestions from The Vivienne Files on colors), add that in to the paper packing list. Add all the non-clothing items. Pack to the list instead of randomly adding things. Yes, to light packing. I actually remember the first trip I went on with a curated wardrobe and a light packing mindset. It was a week seminar in Santa Rosa, CA and yes, I took more than I needed.

Take notes, modify, do better the next time.

Thank you all!!

Posted by
6364 posts

I don't know when I "discovered" the Forum, but I made my first post in June of 2010. That would have been right after we returned home from our second RS tour.

58 pages of topics to which I've posted; over 5,000 posts. So many things learned.

Posted by
697 posts

Wow, where to start?

Man in seat 61
Storing tiny liquids in contact lens containers
SBB app
Salux washcloths (now use one every day, not just for travel)
Bernese Oberland pass
Stay in Venice, explore away from the Rialto-St Marks path
How to (specifically) book transport from Muerren to Venice
Slow down, enjoy the journey
Christmas markets in Spain — totally awesome, who knew??!!!!
Get $$ from the ATM
Beware dynamic currency conversion
Understand tipping where you are
Have a drink on St Mark’s Piazza and enjoy the music; ignore the cost
Read Donna Leon
What to do in Cadiz
Stay in Muerren
Where to go in Greece and how to get there
All the options to get from Venice to the airport
What “fun” drinks to order for my kids in Spain and Italy
Packing cubes
And on and on……

THANK YOU Forum!!!!

(And Carol — Margarita is awesome!!! The Alhambra is one of my favorite places on earth, and she can just bring the history to life)

Posted by
506 posts
  1. Recommendations for places not included in Rick Steves guidebooks (hello, Bologna!).
  2. Ideas for making the most of a short stopover at the beginning or end of a trip. (Frankfurt and London, we'll be back!)
  3. Last-minute problem solving advice if a "glitch" arises once the trip is underway (maybe should say "glitches"!)
Posted by
6842 posts

I've been a member of this forum since it first started, back in the late 1990's (remember the Graffiti Wall?), and have found SO much information here. And not just specific information (although I found that in abundance) but how to have a good attitude about traveling; stopping to "smell the roses" so to speak. On my first trip to England, I spent 7 days in London, but the other 8-9 days were spent driving around the country and spending every night in a new location. While I loved that trip, I learned the benefit of "slow" travel here and have relished staying more than one night in a location.

Posted by
33134 posts

DebVT reminds me that after staying in Interlaken for several trips I finally paid attention - finally I say - to the advice on either the Graffiti Wall or the Helpline to stay in the mountains, and I've never looked back....

Posted by
124 posts

I have been following the forum for years, and have only recently posted a few times. But I have learned more than I can begin to describe. Thank you to everyone whose posts I’ve relied on and learned from, especially Pam, Jane, Bets, Kim, Nigel, janettravels44, Carlos, Ms Jo, Claudia, and so many others.

I first learned about the Navigo Decouverte on the forum, and made good use of it in Paris a few years ago.

Pam, I learned about the fun Lainière Santé face masks from you, and got the ones for Bastille Day, then some of their other masks, both festive and plain. One of the few bright spots during the lockdown and pandemic was that I had masks that I loved, so I never minded putting one on! :-) Thank you for that!

Jane, I hope to make it to another Tulsa travel group meeting soon - You all are such fun!

Posted by
2157 posts

I learned about a cooking class in Salzburg, so we did that the other week. Fabulous! The girls asked me where I found out about it and they were a bit surprised. They are young, mid-late 20's, so R Steves is not on their radar;)