We have five rental places during our big trip. Most of these rental places have required a banking deposit and not a deposit paid with a credit card.
At first I worried how to do this without incurring high transfer fees. I eventually found the website Transferwise. This site is great when you need to send someone money in a different currency. Recently I sent around $750 USD and the fee was only around $5.00. If I had paid by credit card I would have incurred a $14 fee, so the transfer by bank account has made things easy.
I get the feeling that people in Australia and New Zealand are used to bank-to-bank transactions. In the US we seem used to credit card transactions. Another thing I have noticed is that if you do paying credit card, most places assess an additional 2% fee, so it is better to do the bank-to-bank transactions instead of paying by credit card.
On March 26th I posted about obtaining a chip and pin credit card. About a little less than a month later and my card has now arrived. Now I am wondering if I should use the card to purchase our train tickets. I will have to see which card gets the better exchange rate. My intention for getting the card was more for just in case we ran into a situation where we needed one. I am excited though to have one now 🙂
Our trip is almost 100 days away. I can’t believe it. I know it is going to be here before I know it. These next few months are already pretty busy that I know the time is going to fly by. The lodging reservations and car reservation have already been made but there are still other things I need to do. Some I won’t be able to do until right before our trip. For now, here is the list of things I can immediately think of.
In the next few months:
Make train reservations!!!! There are four trains I need to make reservations on. I can start making these in a few weeks.
Add our passport information to the Airline reservation
- Sign the kids up for frequent flier accounts so they can get some mileage from the flights (I always do this because you never know how often you’ll be traveling on that airline)
Get Chip-and-Pin credit card. Add husband as an authorized user.
- Figure out things to do daily as we travel. I’ve kind of been focusing on the Alps, Munich and Berlin but I have yet to fully research other areas of our trip
- Discuss activities with my husband so he knows what to expect as we travel. He may immediately say No to something or he might say we should do something. For example I keep going back-and-forth if we should take a Cog train up to the top of Germany’s highest peak. My husband is usually much better at evaluating an activity and deciding if it is something we should do or skip
- Research Paris Musuem pass and RER pass. Does it make sense to purchase or not?
- Arrange for someone to cut our grass when we are out of town
- Look for child size headphones that fit the kids
- Figure out how we’ll charge the Nintendo DS in Europe. You can’t just plug it in as it needs a voltage converter. I’m leaning to looking for a charging cord that connects to a USB port on a computer, then we can charge the DS using my husband’s computer. I don’t think we will need to be charging it too much.
- Determine if there are other electronic cords we can consolidate.
- Purchase new camera
- Figure out how to use my cell phone to make a call in different countries if I need to. Write these instructions down.
- Make reservations at the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam
- Make reservations at the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Make reservations at the Neuschwanstein castle in Germany
Shortly before we go:
- Print out all reservations.
- Make sure we have phone numbers for all relatives/people we will be visiting
- Contact credit card companies and banks to alert them that we are going to Europe
- Contact Verizon to find out about using my phone in Europe
- Make copies of the credit cards/ATM cards/passports that we will be bringing to Europe. Send one set of copies to a relative in case we should lose our cards. It would probably be easier for someone Stateside to contact credit card companies
- Check out apps on my phone with the phone on airplane mode. I have several apps that have subway maps and city attractions. I want to make sure I can use these apps when I am not connected to the internet.
I will probably add onto this list as I think of things, and I will cross things off this list once I have done them.