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Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door 2009 Paperback – September 1, 2008
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"The more money you spend, the bigger the wall you build between yourself and the culture you traveled so far to visit. Stay in the small inns, eat in family-style restaurants, visit out-of-the-way places, rub elbows with the locals. You'll spend less money and have a great time in the process."
This is Rick Steves's "back door" travel philosophy. For more than 25 years, he has traveled and led tours around Europe, finding and sharing the joy of simplicity and openness.
Along with tried-and-true tips on packing, transport, sleeping and eating well on a budget, and meeting the locals, Steves reveals more than 30 "back doors" found throughout Europe, from a tiny lake town in Austria to the narrowest gorge in the world, which winds through Crete. If Europe is your destination, this book is more important than your luggage. --Kathryn True --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Steves preaches a low-cost, low-to-the-ground style that not only saves money, but gets you closer to the real Europe, the way Europeans experience it.
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I've been to Europe once before, but I only stayed in one country, but this time I plan to visit for several months and travel throughout Europe and that's where this book shines. It will help you with all your questions on all the modes of transportation and all the differences of the region.
If you're going to Europe, this is one thing you need to pack or download on your kindle.
Pay particular attention to LUGGAGE! USE A BACKPACK! This is paramount! I can't stress this enough! Get used to fact that you MUST wear most of what you carry! Also get used the fact that you will hand launder things like socks and underwear and shirts. I always pack "quick dry" clothes! Take your favorite BAR type detergent soap or buy something while in Europe if you can find it. I use KIRKS Castile! It gets things really clean. Allow one bar per week of travel. Look for it local or get it on Amazon. REMEMBER THE IRON LAW OF LUGGAGE PHYSICS: ONE OUNCE OF WHATEVER MORPHS INTO A POUND OF LUGGAGE!! All caps serves to warn you! Whatever you take you WILL CARRY! Or you'll abandon it out of desperation! The upper limit is twenty pounds! THAT'S REALLY HEAVY!! Some Airlines are charging for carryons too. Know before you go!
A small Phrase Book is essential. Mr. Steves serves up "French,Italian & German Phrase Book". Well worth the expense and trouble...AND weight. Knowing a few phrases really helps. A lot of people in Europe really don't know English!
Get guide books for your Kindle or Nook. Wait!, you don't have one yet? Get one! iPads are great but they weigh three pounds! I know, some books don't translate well to "e-book" BUT if you bring a physical book YOU WILL CARRY IT!
Get a GSM phone before you go and buy SIMS in "tobacco shops" if you need to call home. Roaming charges for "American" phones are astronomical! They seem to be trying to fix this but it will be at least 2014 or later before they do. You might try Google Talk over the Internet OR E-MAIL. E-mail has a long lag time though...
ELECTRICAL OUTLET ADAPTERS ARE A MUST!! British is different from European AND Italian. That means three different adapters! *****Your chargers MUST work at 240 Volts! Look at them closely to see if they do!***** Amazon has them. Get good ones with good reviews. Expect to pay 14-15 dollars for EACH of them! One of those three way cubes allows more than one charger to work at the same time!
If you take Medicines ask your Doctor for 90 day supplies or "samples" to get you through! Inventory Meds and know before you go.
WATER: Bottled water is available all over Europe. Don't carry a bottle if you don't have to. Some "purification" tablets for when you can't be sure might be in order.
HYGIENE: I caught an upper respiratory disease in Greece! I had the sniffles and felt bad for a month. Wash your hands before eating or taking pills. Do carry hand sanitizer!
Make the washing hands sign to be directed to a "WC". You can go to the bathroom while you're there too. In Turkey some WCs are "co-ed" if there is a large crowd of tourists! Get used to it.
TRANSIT: Europe has fabulous Transit! Your phrase book really helps here! If you can't figure out which Train or Bus and Direction you can get lost. The language barrier really starts to kick in here! I like Street Wise fold up maps. They are light weight and small. They contain a lot of vital information and it's in English. Get one for every city you visit.
CRIME: Expect to be scammed. Get some information about crime in Europe from the Internet. Watch those videos of pickpockets at work. This is an institution in Europe! Get a leg wallet and use it! I used small pouches on my belt for credit cards and small amounts of money. My phone was in one too. I secured the flaps with heavy rubber bands cut from a large bicycle inner tube. Search for "Raine" here on Amazon. They make good stuff! Their "PDA" pouches are perfect!! I felt them probing me many times! It's VERY subtle! I lost nothing to them! Read up on petty street crime before you go. Know what to look for. Know what to expect! I took a simple walking cane. It's a weapon too! You can use it to maintain a safe zone around you when in a crowd. I had no trouble with it on any Plane trip! NEVER be on the street without it!!
Sorry for the "book" but you must know this stuff for a trip to Europe.
And get this book and read it. Time and money well spent. Ten stars! **********