ELECTRONICS. In Western Europe, electricity is 230V AC, enough to fry any 120V North American appliance. Americans and Canadians should buy an adapter (which changes the shape of the plug; US$10) and a converter (which changes the voltage; US$10-15). Don’t make the mistake of using only an adapter (unless appli ance instructions state otherwise). New Zealanders, South Africans, and Austra lians won’t need a converter, but will require an adapter. The website www.kropla.com/electric.htm has comprehensive info on what you’ll need.
FIRST-AID KIT. For a basic first-aid kit, pack: Bandages, pain reliever, antibiotic cream, a thermometer, a Swiss Army knife, tweezers, moleskin, decongestant, motion-sickness remedy, upset-stomach or diarrhea medication (Pepto Bismol or Imodium), an antihistamine, sunscreen, insect repellent, and bum ointment.
FILM. Film and developing in Western Europe are expensive, so consider bringing enough film for your entire trip and developing it at home. Less serious photographers may want to bring a disposable camera or two rather than an expensive permanent one. Despite disclaimers, airport security X-rays can fog film, so buy a lead-lined pouch at a camera store or ask security to hand-inspect it. Always pack film in your carry-on luggage, since higher-intensity X-rays are used on checked luggage.
OTHER USEFUL ITEMS. For safety purposes, you should bring a money belt and small padlock. Basic outdoors equipment (plastic water bottle, compass, water proof matches, pocketknife, sunglasses, sunscreen, hat) may also prove useful. Quick repairs of torn garments can be done with a needle and thread; also con sider bringing electrical tape for patching tears. Other things you’re liable to forget: an umbrella, sealable plastic bags (for damp clothes, soap, food, etc.), an alarm clock, safety pins, rubber bands, a flashlight, earplugs, and garbage bags.
IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS. Don’t forget your passport, traveler’s checks, ATM and/or credit cards, and adequate ID (12). Also check that you have any of the following that might apply to you: a hosteling membership card (23); driver’s license; travel insurance forms; and/or rail or bus pass (50).
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