Travel Tips

Since we have a three-day holiday weekend, I’m off to Berlin with a group of friends.  I have wanted to visit Berlin for many years so I am very excited about this trip.  Stay tuned for lots of photos and stories next week.  In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few tips for travel in Eastern Europe.

  • Make sure you have at least an hour and a half layover in Warsaw if changing planes.  I only had an hour on my trip last September and I barely made it through immigration to catch my flight to Krakow.
  • In my experience, Ryanair isn’t as terrible as people say — but do follow the luggage rules. I think “priority boarding” is worth the extra money.
  • Don’t have a online password (for example, to access your email) that has a $ in it.  I’ve discovered that many European keyboards don’t have the $, so if you are checking your email at a library or the hotel, you may not be able to access it.
  • Also, always check to make sure the computer is set to English before typing in your password.  I sometimes forget to do this after writing in Lithuanian on my laptop.  I get really frustrated because a website will say my password is incorrect — I won’t realize that I’m typing letters with diacritical marks instead of numbers.
  • Know the answers to your security questions, especially if you will be logging onto financial websites while you are in Europe — even if you will be using your own laptop.  The website will recognize that you are logging in from outside the US, which typically triggers the security questions.  I once couldn’t access my bank account because I couldn’t remember the answer to a question and the website wouldn’t give me an alternate question — after several attempts it just locked me out.
  • Be prepared to call your bank and unblock your ATM card after trying to use it at a bank machine in Eastern Europe.  This is a high ATM fraud region and often American banks will block ATM card usage even if you notified the bank that you will be traveling.
  • In London, I always bought my train tickets from the cashier rather than the ticket machine.  I discovered that they could sell me discounted return tickets and passes that either weren’t available from the machine or I didn’t know how to request from the machine.



About amanda

Creating academic and public environments for the humanities to flourish Researching Soviet and Eastern European history Engaging people and ideas as a writer and interviewer Traveling as much as possible View all posts by amanda

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