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A Lesson Learnt- Tips before you travel

Last year I travelled to Europe with some of my friends (as pictured). This was our first trip ‘alone’ so as expected, there was a lot to be learnt. Here are a few tips that I learnt the hard way, and recommend you look out for.

1. Beware there are stairs everywhere. Yes…everywhere. Forget about the lift, unless you’re staying in new-ish hotels your whole trip, it is likely that most of the time you will have to trek up 5 to 10 flights of stairs to reach your apartment. Believe me, I’m all for the stairs, love the exercise especially when you’re eating your way through crème brulee, pasta etc. However the exception is when you’re carrying a heavy suit case… which leads me to my next recommendation ->
 2. Pack lightly. Hmmn for some reason this advice I did not take on board, and how very much I regretted it. Everyone knows when you’re travelling to always under pack to leave room to buy more stuff etc. etc. However this trip brought a whole new meaning to ‘pack light’. Let’s just say, carrying a 24kg suitcase up 9 flights of stairs that are so narrow they require you to walk single file and manoeuvre the suitcase to fit wasn’t exactly the highlight of my trip. This occasion occurred in Paris (apartment), Amsterdam (a hostel), Belgium (apartment) and Italy, so it’s not nearly just a one off. Also in some of the train stations (particularly Paris) they only had stairs too with no escalators- which made for another fun situation).
3. Bring a suitcase that doubles as a backpack. You know those weird ones with wheels and straps? Yeah them. This is what I’ll be getting for my next trip, they sound like a dream!
4. Wear in your shoes before you go. Such a rookie mistake, in my mind I thought- oh I need some good walking shoes, so went out and got some nice ones from Wittner, wore them in Brisbane about 5 times thinking yeap that’s good enough and that’s it. However due to it being summer in Europe my feel got swollen and blistered, and I hadn’t worn them in enough so the leather wouldn’t yet stretch- ha! Now 6 months later I wear them all the time and they’re so comfortable it’s ridiculous- they needed was about 2 months straight of wearing them to get to that stage though.
5. Buy toiletries once you get there– don’t waste space and weight in your suitcase. We did this anyway, but just to let you know! Sometimes before you travel, these small details get overlooked. To me, I was aware (except for the stairs) of these things that I talk about above, however I sort of just dismissed them when it came to being 1 week out and organising myself, but believe me they make all the difference.

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