What should I take?

The three most important things you need as an international traveler are your passport, comfortable walking shoes, and a good attitude. Passport applications can be obtained at a main post office or downloaded from the internet at http://travel.state.gov/passport/. Apply immediately if you need one, or if your passport has expired.

Make a photocopy of the first two pages of your pasport, and a copy of your airline ticket or e-ticket confirmation. Keep the copies separate from the actual documents.

Please limit yourself to one checked bag per person on the flight over. You will be responsible for handling your own baggage, getting it on and off transportation, and to your room, up stairs, etc. Lay out the bare minimum, then take only half of that! Make it easy on yourself. Pack light. Comfortable walking shoes that can manage cobblestones and stairs are a must. Layered clothing can easily adjust for indoor/outdoor changes in temperature. Check www.weather.com to see forecasts for cities we plan to visit. For excellent packing tips go to www.ricksteves.com and choose “Plan Your Trip” then “Travel tips.”

It is a good idea to put your name and address on a label insde your suitcases as well as outside. Also, give copies of your itinerary with hotel names and phone numbers to family or friends.

"Trip clothing" –our friends laugh, but if we have shirts, slacks, underwear, socks, etc. that are reaching the end of their usefulness, we take them along to discard after use, freeing up space in our baggage for things we want to bring home! Bring your own washcloth if you need one. You rarely find them in European hotels.