We finally made it to the 5th week of travel plans. We’ve found out where we want to go. We’ve decided what to see and do while we’re there. It’s been determined when we are traveling. And we’ve figured out where to stay and how to keep a budget. The journey to this point maybe has felt like walking the Via Appia, but believe me when I say it will pay off in the end.
I had not yet mentioned staying in free or super cheap places since Jennifer and I travel together, and we want the trips to be a bit nicer. Plus being
older in our 30s we are passed the age in which that is an okay thing. If you don’t care there are a few options.
There is Couchsurfing which is a service that hooks you up with locals and allows you to stay on the couch for free.If you are a bit more adventurous and traveling during the proper season, you can check out the site Camp In My Garden. This is relatively new and does exactly what its name implies. The prices can range anywhere from $5 to $10 on average.Then there is always the well known Hostel. You can use Google to search for sites that list hostels – first on the list is HostelWorld. This is more accommodating for the backpacker who is venturing from location to location, instead of people who plan to stay in one place and venture out from there.
Before Jennifer became Mrs. Jennifer she traveled by herself to Greece, staying at a hostel in Athens and in Crete. She doesn’t have any pictures of her stay there, sorry. Jennifer stayed at Pension George in Santorini and “absolutely loved it because it was very safe, very clean, fairly cheap.” Adding that is was “somewhere between a typical hostel and a hotel. You had your own room and bathroom. The owner was nice and informative about the local non-touristy events in the area.” When asked if she’d stay in a similar place now as a married adult, Jennifer replied “It’s a great place for adults who want to travel on a budget and I’d go back to a place like that now even.”Another travel tip is don’t be afraid to haggle. Obviously if you go into some swanky boutique or a Louis Vuitton store this is definitely NOT the place to haggle. However, if you visit a street market in, let’s say Berlin, this is the place and time to bargain.It’s not fair to most of us but you’ll get a better fare by flying out of a bigger airport, think JFK in New York City or Washington Dulles in the DC Metro-area. Or fly from a hub for the different airlines. More planes equals better rates for flying.
Since this Norris Family lives in the Central Texas Hill Country the closest choice we have is Austin or San Antonio. This will for some
weird reason route us through Detroit’s Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) before crossing the Atlantic. Positive about DTW is that it makes you feel like you’re not in Detroit at a party or bar or simply not an airport (see picture below).Drinking water does not have to be limited to bottles of water in most of Europe. Not only is water super expensive – sometimes more than a glass of good wine – but it is just playing on the scared mind of Americans. Across most of Europe tap water is safe to drink, as well as wash in of course. Lots of street-side fountains and taps are perfectly safe to refill your water bottle. If you see a sign with a glass covered by a red “X” stay away from drinking this water. Not buying this public water idea? I then suggest getting a Brita sport water bottle that you can purify and fill on the go. These are sold in many stores across America. Prices vary.Toilets and hygiene can be a bit more tricky but just as easy to get as clean water if you know where to go and what to look for. Whether you are using a Squat Toilet, Water Closet, Pay Toilets, or Public “Pissoirs” there is something for everyone. Some tips here are keep some change handy because most places to relieve yourself cost, either for entry or toilet paper. Fun Awkward Fact: Shaking hands with your right hand is not only because most people are right handed, it’s also because the left is seen as unclean due to its use in the cleaning of one’s bottom. Public building will all have a fairly clean area familiar to most Americans. Although there won’t be signs to advertise them, ANY place that serves food and/or drinks will have a restroom. It will be out of sight in order for most to keep it out of mind. The most interesting are the self-disinfecting booths that are similar to the American port-o-potty. Here’s one from Paris.No matter how much one plans ahead there will just be some things to experience in the moment. Hopefully these past 5 weeks have given you some new insight or travel tip to use on your next adventure. Now that you know what to do, get out there and Rome!