Im off for a trip to Europe… I will be leaving from India on October 8. My wife & son will be joining me for this trip. We intend to stay there for 3 weeks. I am trying to undersatnd what are the essential things that I must carry on this trip, since we have planned it on our own and are not travelling with a travel agency's tour. Also, in one of the forums I read about insurance for the trip. Should I really bother about insurance? Is it necessary? Please help.
Have a great trip with your family, mr.Kiranshin. The essentials would be:
Your vital documents - passport, tickets etc
Local currency (maybe some international credit & debit cards too)
A travel guide (really helps in discovering some gems in the countryside)
Contact details of important places - tourist information centers etc
About insurance, if you don't want to be hassled on your trip bcoz of baggage loss or any local illness, you should really consider a travel insurance. There may be emergencies that only your insurance can save you from… if you're still not convinced about it, you can visit sites like www.icicilombard.com & www.insurancemall for information. Happy travelling
Sounds like the makings of a great trip.
Your main question here is.. "Should I really bother about insurance?" Insurance is never necessary - until you need it. Simple as that. You don't say where you're planning to travel to in Europe - and it's a huge place, much bigger than India. Without being biased - some hospitals in Eastern Europe are just awful - one slip on a pot-holed path (there are thousands of them) and it could mean two weeks in hospital. As nasty and inefficient as some of the hospitals are, they still aren't cheap. Get the best cover that money can buy for all of you. Never mind the cost - it'll be worth the price if anything goes wrong and you need to make a claim.
As far as currency and cards go.... Just bring a few Euros and a couple of cards, one debit - one credit with you. The Euro is the worlds most powerful currency and can be used anywhere, either for purchases or exchange into local currency. Most, but not all EU members use the Euro as their currency and a few non-EU members use it as well. Regardless of that, you can exchange Euros everywhere throughout the continent - East and West.
For me, guidebooks (Lonely Planet - Rough Guide etc.) are expensive and very limited - compared to what you can find free on the internet. Plus you can ask for more info when you're downloading, whereas a guidebook just tells you what it's printed and no more. They are also an unecessary burden to carry round all the time. You will also find, right across Europe - many free guides and booklets referring to local regions that you can throw away after use.
A good tip is to have the address and phone number of every Consulate representing your country, in each place you are visiting. You probably wont need to ever contact them, but just in case eh? Bit like the insurance.
If you'd like to come back with a post about where you're intending to travel to, I can paste a few free guides in the form of a private message for you.
Have a great trip.
If you know anyone who lives in Europe, having their names, phone numbers and addresses is very useful, too. You may never have to use it, but if you do, these friends can vouch for who you are in case of, for example, a stolen passport. Either that, or have someone you trust at home write a simple letter. You will very likely not need this, but if you do, you'll be thankful you brought it.
A place to put your money is useful, and I don't mean your wallet. A wallet can easily get lost or stolen. Bring an undergarment money pouch. Carry your passport, credit card, debit card, identificaion, tickets, etc. in it. Also, never carry too much cash. Carry enough for only one day. With cards, you can always declare them stolen and have them cancelled. But with cash, once it's gone, it's gone.
This isn't essential, really, and it's kind fo silly. But you may want to consider a "robber's wallet". If someone robs you, give him or her the robber's wallet, filled with maybe ten euros, some spare change, an expired membership card as identification, etc. This will satisfy them and you won't loose your important stuff and money. I lost my wallet on one trip, and had ten pounds in a robber's wallet and it was enough for a bus ticket to a post office to pick up a money gram so that I could finish my trip! It could save your bottom like it did mine!
The idea of a "robber's wallet" is brilliant! I've never tried it, but I certainly will. Take some medicine with you, because in Europe they have different names and brands and sometimes it's so hard to explain what you mean to a non-english-speaking person.
I agree with the idea of a robber's wallet.
Pickpocketing is a real problem in Europe, especially in touristy places. I recommend placing your plastic out of sight and deep down in your money belt. If you have to pay for something break out your robber's wallet and use this. This way if you are watched only your robber's wallet gets stolen and they will only get a small amount of cash, not your plastic or important documents.