I’m embarking on a few week trip to Europe to attend the London Ajax Mobile Event, Nikolai and Vikki’s wedding in Amsterdam, deliver a couple of Dojo talks, and stay with friends between.

Here are some packing and travel tips that I’ve learned over the years:

  • Underpack, by starting to pack in advance. If you pack last minute, you’ll take way more than you need, and then be really uncomfortable on trains and other transit that’s not as super sized as it is in America.
  • Call your credit cards in advance. Let them know what countries you’ll be in, so you don’t get hassled with fraud alerts.
  • Don’t bring much cash, just use your ATM card as needed. Buying currency in advance just never seems worth the hassle to me.
  • Print postcard address labels in advance. And then actually send some postcards. No one gets fun mail any more, and having the addresses already printed out on labels improves the odds you’ll actually send them out.
  • On hot summer days, don’t pack anything that will melt while waiting outside. And pack any liquid tubes in separate plastic bags.
  • If you want to pack more stuff, consider vacuum-seal plastic bags for things like t-shirts. Just don’t go over your weight allowance for your luggage.
  • Use Seat Guru to decide where to sit, TripIt to store all your trip details, mobile boarding passes where allows, and FlyerTalk to get the scoop on your airline.
  • Fly business class. This point is simply here to mock Peter Higgins. Lounges and fast track lines are awesome. Long lines, not so much, but not the end of the world.
  • Have fun and stay happy, and you’ll get better service than if you’re a douche bag. Just talking to people, asking how they’re doing, where they’re going, etc., can lead to a much more enjoyable journey. After all, you’re not the only person to ever have a problem when traveling, or to have lost luggage, canceled flights, etc. Don’t be the obnoxious, loud-mouthed, stereotypical American traveler.
  • Get lost and then find your way back. It’s especially fun in Asia.
  • Do what the locals do, or what is invented somewhere. At restaurants, ask for recommendations, and try eating anything once (expect cats and dogs). For example, try something besides spaghetti and pizza in Italy.
  • Learn at least a few basic phrases in the local tongue. Hello, goodbye, please, toilet, thank you, you’re welcome, and taxi are all useful.

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