Practical Information, Packing Tips

& Your Frequently Asked Questions Faq’s

Bonjour!

There are some practical questions that come up often for travelers, so here is some information that may help you to ascertain that you are ready to go! If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Voila! All we need for a bon voyage!

Lorey

 

Documents ~

It is essential to leave adequate time to gather all the documents you need so that you are not stressed right before your trip, or even worse, suffer the disappointment of canceling!

Copies!!!

Be sure to photocopy all of your documents. If your passport is lost, it will be easier to retrieve with a copy. Also, take the time to write all the PHONE NUMBERS of your bank and credit cards and the account numbers, etc. in case of theft or loss. Keep this info in a separate place.

Passport ~

  • Check your expiration date and allow 5 months for the process of receiving a new passport. It may not take that long, but this is not the detail to be left to the last minute.
  • Driver’s license for any designated driver.
  • Health Insurance Card. Please note that NO INSURANCE is provided with the registration of the tour so be sure to know your individual coverage.
  • Homeowners’ Insurance contact information ; check your coverage for international theft or loss*.

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Luggage ~ (see also the packing list below)

  • Try to fit all you need into one MEDIUM sized suitcase, with rollers on it!
  • Plus a day pack so you can bring extra shoes or sweater or picnic items with you when we go out for the day.
  • Plus a secure small bag or belt bag for your cash and passport (in addition to handbags) that you can HOLD CLOSELY. Don’t take this lightly; there are plenty of professional thieves.
  • Prescriptions ~

    • Bring a supply for your entire trip as well as a prescription in case of loss or theft.

    We do not have to do a lot of schlepping, but there will be a few times when you would wish you had NOT brought that LARGE suitcase, or an additional one. It is essential that you can manage your own luggage for up to a half hour’s walk AND be able to get it up and down a few flights of stairs. This might be necessary in our transfers from airport to the train station or car rental; train station to the hotel.

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    Money ~

    • It is possible to change money before you get there, but there is no savings on these fees/transactions. The most economical way to get euros is to use an ATM CARD.
    • You could bring a few travelers checks as a safety precaution (unlikely but not entirely impossible that the ATM machine would be down when you need it)

    It is advisable to take out larger lump sums on your  ATM at each withdrawal because there is a fee per transaction. CHECK WITH YOUR BANK about the fees; they vary from one bank to another. Ask for both the “flat fee” and the “currency conversion fee.” (For my bank, it is about 3%, both fees combined.) Also note, that ATM cards in Europe usually cannot access savings accounts, so be sure your card is associated with a checking account.

    Credit Cards ~

    You have already paid for everything on the trip except for lunches, some dinners, your own shopping, and any additional activities or entrance fees that you might choose to do.
    If you plan to use a credit card for these costs, be sure to:

    • make a copy of the contact info in case of theft
    • call your credit card and confirm your travel dates, so they are alerted and do not think your charges are fraudulent
    • find out what the daily usage limit is for your credit card
    • find out what the fees are (different for purchases than for cash withdrawals). Capital One has no international fees for purchases!

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    Technical Info ~

    DIGITAL CAMERAS:
    Be sure you get an adapter to plug your camera in. Also be sure you have enough space on your memory card, or buy a spare! The memory cards are more expensive in France.

    PHONES:

    • Buying a phone card in France is an option. For a 2 week vacation, it should suffice & 10 cents per minute is hard to beat!
    • If you can’t live without your cellphone, be sure to call your provider and ask if you can get the global or international service for 2 weeks and they will give you all the info about costs and services.
    • Remember to get adapters for any cell phones, iPhones, laptops!
    BOTTOM LINE:
    Whenever my own kids travel and we are getting into the car to go to the airport I always insist that they TOUCH 3 things: PASSPORT, AIR TICKET, MONEY! All else is incidental, comparatively speaking!

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    Packing List

    Please review the above info on Luggage for practical advice and as a reminder on how much luggage to bring (or not!).

    Pack for COMFORT! Even our dressiest dinner out will not require formal attire!

    Provence – It will be very warm and dry in Provence, the “mistral” wind comes down from the hills often in the evening and a long sleeve might be pulled out!

    Normandy & Brittany – The weather is expected to be in the mid 60’s during the day and low 50’s at night. Be sure to bring something for possible rain.

    • COMFORTABLE walking shoes~
      Not fun to have blisters!
    • 1 pair of “dress” shoes
    • 2 pair shorts and/or skirts (shorts are beginning to be worn in Europe.)
    • 4-5 shirts or summer tops
    • 2-3 layers of long sleeves
    • 2-3 pair of long pants
    • 1-2 dresses or dress pants
    • 1 light jacket, sweater
    • Folding umbrella or poncho
    • Pajamas & optional light robe
    • Underclothes and socks (4-5 changes)
    • Bathing suit and small towel
    • Toiletries (remember to pack liquids in checked bags). Bring your own: FACECLOTH; European hotels do not provide them.
    • Prescriptions, glasses, contacts)
    • Camera with memory card, adapter and/or cord
    • Cell phone (optional), adapter and/or cord
    • Small binoculars, can be fun
    • Water bottle
    • Journal / sketch pad / book to read
    • Earplugs (can get you a good night’s sleep)
    • Small daypack and money belt or hidden pouch
    • PASSPORT
    • AIR TICKET
    • MONEY/ ATM CARD/ CREDIT CARD
    • Separate list of important numbers (banks, credit cards, insurance
    • An adventurous spirit!

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