As a graduate of Los Angeles County High School of the Arts, Geneva West had scheduled auditions with a number of dance programs that required her to travel through numerous European cities. Upon returning this week, she sat down to tell of her adventure while traveling through Germany, Copenhagen, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium and France. Here are a few tips on what she found useful on her trip.
Graduate of LACHSA Class 2015
The three week journey through five European countries began with the flight to Berlin Germany from LAX. Each of the locations where Geneva West needed to travel required she take planes, trains, buses and taxis to meet with academy administrators and program instructors. Traveling and staying in Hostels and B&B’s, she was watching her budget carefully and searching for bargains abroad. Here is her expert opinion about packing for a trip to Europe.
Tip 1. Use a Backpack Instead Of A Suitcase
“Discovered a cool sporting goods place named REI in Camarillo and tried on several different styles and sizes of backpacks. Searching for something small enough to fit in the overhead compartment so it wasn’t necessary to check any bags. Also, when hiking through the different countries, it’s nice to have hands free access for food, money, passport and tickets. Wear one pair of really comfortable, supportive shoes and then pack one pair of strappy heels for dressing up.”
Tip 2. Make Sure Your Passport And Money Are In A Locked Pouch
“My jacket had an inside zipper pocket and that was where I put my wallet and passport. It was important to always know where those two items were at all times. Also, when asked for my ID while traveling, which happened quite often, it was important to produce it without fumbling to search through my belongings. ATMs that took my card were spotty and transfer fees were mysterious and steep. The credit cards over there have a special chip that my card didn’t have, so the ATMs available were hard to locate in some cities.”
Tip 3. Sunscreen, Personal Hygiene And Public Toilets
“There were a few items that proved very helpful during my trip. One was my tea tree facial wipes. Tea tree oil is an antiseptic and has a fresh, clean fragrance. Not only was it great to keep my face clear, but it helped when I had blisters on my feet from walking. Another vital item was dehydrated personal sponges and baby wipes. The public toilets rarely have the simple amenities like toilet paper. Some hostels are extremely crude and public showering facilities are not always offered. These personal sponges were a life saver.”
Tip 4. Transportation On Planes, Trains, Taxis, Buses And Shoe Leather
“The trains in France are very expensive and require advance reservations, so we traveled on a bus between Copenhagen and Brussels. Then (we) picked up another bus into Paris. When trying to get home from France, it was hard to calculate my timing given the traffic to the airport in Paris. When I arrived at Orly Airport with 45 minutes before the flight they wouldn’t allow me to board the plane, forcing me to miss my flight. That single mistake cost me over 10 hours of additional travel time and several hundred dollars for the rerouted travel plans. When they say to arrive at the airport two hours prior to flight, they really mean it.”
Tip 5. Wi-Fi, Computers, Cell Phones, Re-chargers & Adapters
“My new iphone didn’t work everywhere even though T-Mobile assured me it would. Finding a place to recharge while traveling wasn’t so easy either. My adapter was a multi-plug device and it worked pretty well, but for every electronic device, you’ll need to have a way to recharge it and without an adapter that works, you’ll run dry fast. Free WIFI is offered in some cities, but not all. Look for the golden arches and they’ll have free WiFi worldwide. Traveling with a tablet would be preferable to a laptop because it’s small enough that it fits in a purse. If it is in the backpack, it will most likely get broken from the pounding it takes in the overhead compartment. My friends laptop was destroyed on the trip.”