Travel lightly! The fewer pieces of baggage you have the better. Remember the sleeping bag counts as 1 item. You may check two items and carry on one. Your carry on item should have your absolute essential items and a couple changes of clothes. In the event that any luggage is misplaced you will have the essentials at least. Whatever you carry on the plane must be able to fit under your seat or the overhead compartment. For a 10 day trip most people should be able to get by on 2 bags.
Germany will be hot in August! So bring cool comfortable clothes with lighter colors to reflect heat. Consider wearing a hat, sunglasses and sun block. In Holland you should expect rain.
Use the following as a check list keeping in mind that every item you pack may return to haunt your tired feet and back:
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Sandals or flip-flops
- Light Jacket (rain jacket)
- Skirts / pants
- Hat or Ca
Medicine / Toiletries
- Prescription medicine (with written prescriptions)
- First Aid Kit (band-aids, pain reliever, etc.)
- Contact lenses/lens care products
- Feminine Products
- a small towel
- Money belt/ neck pouch
- Cash, traveler’s checks
- ID cards
- Insurance information
- Credit cards, ATM card
- Long distance phone card
- Camera and film
- Mini Flashlight
- Address book
- travel journal
Host Family Gift
In the Netherlands when you are a guest in a home it is polite to bring a gift. You will want to bring something with you to give your host families in appreciation for their hospitality. What should you bring, you ask? Something that says St. Louis or United States of America on it. Do you have a devotion to a particular saint? Perhaps there is a religious image that you really love that you would like to share with your host family.
Other Things to Consider
Make copies of important documents: Passports, Insurance cards. A new law has been passed in Europe that you must carry a form of identification with you at all times. You must have a copy of your passport with you at all times. Keep a copy with you; leave a copy with your parents.
Bring over-the-counter medication in it’s original marked packages (antacids, pain relievers, decongestants and antiseptics, etc.)
If you need to carry prescription medications, do so by carrying them in their original packages. You should also consider carrying a copy of the doctor’s prescription (a generic drug name may be easier to fill in Germany if necessary). Please give your chaperones a list of the medications you will be carrying.
While travel in Germany is safe, as in any large city with many people, pickpockets can be prevalent. Carrying purses is not recommended for women. It is best to keep money on your person, in a travel pouch worn under your clothes, or some sort of travel pack around your waist. The main thing is to be smart and be aware of those around you.
How much spending money you bring is largely up to you. Most meals will be covered, but you will be paying for four meals on your own. You may also want to bring money for snacks and souvenirs. Some group leaders may be planning day trips, and they will let you know if there are going to be added expenses.
Should you use traveler’s checks?? You certainly can, but they are inconvenient. You would need to exchange traveler’s checks for Euro dollars at a bank or other institution in Germany, which is very time consuming. You would also need to carry your passport for identification in order to do this. This is a hassle and does not guarantee a good rate of exchange. You might just carry cash with you. Consider watching the exchange rate at your bank and getting your American currency converted to Euro before we leave for Germany (The Netherlands uses the Euro as well). You can leave the bulk of your cash in your host homes or hotel and only carry with you what you need. Another option is to bring a credit card and use and can keep small amounts of cash on you and get more cash whenever you need it.
E-mail will be the best way to communicate with your teens. Know that they may not have internet access in the Netherlands, but they will when we arrive in Germany on August 15. There is one computer per hotel with internet access, so try to use e-mail sparingly, there will most likely be many people wanting to use the computers. Please only expect one e-mail from your teen.
Pack lightly and have fun!!