Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Preparing for Prague

Tomorrow at 5am I will be up and en route to Prague in the Czech Republic. I am so excited because I am going to get to see one of my very best friends from the States and fellow blogger Catherine Noyes! This past summer Catherine and I had an amazing adventure in Greece, and I know that Prague will be just as fun! When she told me that Duke was going to send her to Prague for a sustainability conference I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit for a long weekend and explore the city with her.  I am also excited to get another passport stamp, and once I land at 11am I can say I have been to 30 different countries worldwide! I have never been to Prague before but have heard only wonderful things about the city. So tonight I will complete all of my last minute packing and make sure to plan for my journey. Here is an essential list of things I always suggest doing the night before a trip:

Check the weather at your destination- you never want to be stuck in the rain without your gear or forget your winter gloves when the cold is approaching. I am excited to use my glove/mittens and think they will be so fun for my trip

Charge your ipod and get extra batteries for your camera- Living in Europe causes for many different wattages. It's always a good idea to charge your ipod the night before so you don't have to mess with burning your electronic devices up. Nothing can ruin a holiday like loosing all of your music

Print your boarding pass and use carry on- I am fan on carry on luggage. A few years ago when I traveled to South America during Christmas the airlines lost my bags. Mind you I was going from winter to summer, and was stuck without a bathing suit, clothes, or sunscreen. I didn't get my bags for over a week, and this really ruined the first half of my trip. Plus, airlines these days, especially here in Europe, charge for 1 checked luggage. I always try my best to carry on, and thanks to my colleague Kristin I have now been able to weigh the luggage ahead of time to avoid any troubles at security. This handy dandy luggage scale only costs about $15 online.  Airports these days can be such a hassle, and I try to avoid any extra time needed during the screening process. Knowing exactly what my bags weigh the night before helps for sooth travels. 

Consolidate your wallet- Nothing shouts tourist like a padded wallet. I always try to consolidate down to a tiny zipper bag that only hold my id, emergency credit card, and cash. This way I can always keep it close and don't attract pick pocketers, or as I like to call them, wild gypsies! They will steal your tears...

Bring something fabulous to make you feel great on your trip- whenever I travel someplace I always like to make it feel special. This time, I am going to be taking my new boots that are MADE FOR WALKIN'! Feeling confident while traveling is important to help you look like a local and avoiding the wild gypsies :-) And these boots are definitely made for walkin'!

Prepare for the morning-waking up at 5am can be a hard, especially since I wake up at 8:30am for work every day. To be safe I set 2 alarms so I'm not rushing to catch your flight. And yes so dorky but I even lay out my clothes for the morning. I need every extra minute of sleep so if laying out my clothes saves me time I am all for it!

Research your destination, but don't over do it- I like knowing a little about the place I am going, but I sometimes think just going on the no plan plan works out better at times. It's good to know things like money conversion and how much to bring. In Prague I will be using the Czech koruna = 0.0347058457 British pounds or $1US dollar= 17 koruna. What a deal! I can't wait to shop :-) I try to get recommendations from people who have visited the destination before me. You can then get an insiders opinion rather than just hoping your books are right. I also love talking to locals once I arrive. For those of you who know me best, I love eating. One of my first priorities it to find the best local place to eat. Most of the time, these aren't in the tourist books.  Don't be afraid to make friends. Find the places only locals know about. That's what will make your trip go from good to great! 

Sleep and Eat- Traveling is stressful, so making sure you have a good nights sleep and meal before hand is important. Tonight I will be filling up on the good old JMCC (on campus dining hall here at the Pollock Compound). I also am going pack some snacks for the morning's trip. Sometimes airports don't open their shops until 9am. You don't want to have a grumbling stomach on the plane! 

Bring your reusable water bottle- This little guy has been with me for over 10 years. You know when people ask you what you would save if your house was burning down, I think he'd be right up as a top priority. My nalgene bottle has been with me on every trip since 2000. He kept me hydrated when I backpacked Europe, visited Africa, and accompanies to work to this day. I know there was a BPA recall back in 2008 but I just didn't have the heart to get rid of him back then. So anyways, I am a dork and love my nalgene bottle. My trip wouldn't be complete unless he was by my side. I guess I know how Tom Hanks felt about his volleyball Wilson in the movie Castaway. Considering Catherine is on a sustainability conference I thought I note one of my most favorite facts that she educated me on about a year ago. Did you know that the amount of fuel that it takes to produce water bottles for 1 month could fuel 12 million cars. That's just producing the plastic. What are we doing people, recycle and buy a reusable water bottle!

Finally if you are traveling internationally, put your passport in your bag the night before. Getting to the airport without your passport is a recipe for a ruined holiday!

Well those are my words of wisdom from all of my traveling experiences thus far. I am going to try to post while in Prague, but no guarantees. You may just have to wait until next week when I return to get the juicy gossip. Until next time I will see you on the internet. 


  1. So jealous, I know y'all will have a blast :)

  2. Have a great time! Keep blogging; I love it. :)

  3. You - and this travel list - are just too cute! Glad you had a grrrrreat time!