Wednesday, June 17, 2015

International Research: Travel Tips and More!

Debby Giusti
Waiting in line to enter the Wieliczka Salt Mines
and appearing much too giddy.
By Debby Giusti

I bet you’re thinking that a blog about international research is something you can skip. No plans to travel outside the US anytime soon? That might be, but life changes, and as the saying goes, “Never say never!”

A few years ago, our church started organizing yearly trips to foreign destinations. Traveling with friends, having someone else plan the itinerary and seeing the sights with a knowledgeable tour guide is a fun and easy way to experience the world—and research future stories. Hubby and I just completed our third trip. This time we traveled to Poland.

The old part of Warsaw was bombed by Hilter's troops and
has been rebuilt to look like the past.
While Poland had never been on our bucket list, we fell in love with the country and people and were especially amazed by their deep faith, made stronger, no doubt, during their years of occupation, first by Nazi Germany and more recently the Soviet Union. I’m sure a number of us remember the Solidarity Movement of the 1980s that led to the downfall of communism and independence for the Poles. Their courage and conviction touched me deeply. Hopefully, a bit of what I experienced will appear in the future stories I plan to write.

Now let's talk about travel tips and easy ways to gather research information while on-the-go.

Got your Passport?
If not, go to for information on how to access the necessary forms. I filled out the forms and took them, along with an approved photo taken at a neighborhood drug store, to my local post office. They processed and submitted the paperwork, and about six weeks later, my passport arrived in the mail. As you probably know, passports are now required for travel anywhere outside the US. Planning a Caribbean cruise? Remember to get your passport well in advance of your trip.

What about the weather? Some weeks prior to my trip, I added key cities in Poland to my weather app and kept track of the daily temperatures and rainfall. The fluctuations made me realize layered clothing would be a must. I packed a light-weight raincoat, umbrella and plastic, Dollar Store ponchos and put all three types of rainwear to good use while I was there.

Appliances? Europe’s electrical current is 220 volts and requires an adaptor that  can be purchased in the US wherever travel accessories are sold. I have a number of them so I can charge my phone, tablet and camera at the same time each evening at the hotel. Larger appliances require converters.

Hair dryers? Most hotels catering to foreigners provide hair dryers in the rooms, but I find the European models lack the drying power of our US brands. For that reason, I always pack a duel-wattage hair dryer, purchased at Target for about $15, which can switch from US to European voltage.

Carved door in Zakopane, a mountain resort

Foreign Currency? Since ATMs are readily available throughout Europe, most tour companies tell travelers to get their foreign currency upon arrival. I prefer to order Euros, or the Polish Zloty, a few weeks prior to my trip. The rate of exchange is slightly higher in the US, but my bank only charges $5 per transaction, and I like having money when my plane lands. In addition to ATMs, banks and street exchange booths will trade American dollars for foreign currency.  

Credit Cards? Be sure to call your credit card company in advance to let them know your travel plans. If not, they may freeze your card after you make that first foreign transaction, thinking your identity has been stolen. Ask what your credit card company will charge for each purchase or ATM withdrawal, and be aware that the foreign bank, handling the transaction, will add a surcharge as well. Since additional fees are added to each transaction, you’re better off using cash for smaller purchases and saving your credit card to pay for more pricey items.
One of the beautiful churches we visited.

Smart phones? Contact your phone company about international calls, texting and data charges and/or international plans. I purchased a $30 plan from my carrier that provided a month of free international texting, both sending and receiving, including photos and videos. The package lowered the cell call charges to $1/minute and included unlimited wi-fi usage. I kept my phone on airplane mode and logged onto the hotel, airport or other wi-fi hotspot before checking or sending email or surfing the WEB.

Cameras? I purchased a small digital camera for the trip so I could take lots of photos. While I love the convenience of using the camera on my phone for pictures, I knew my battery wouldn’t hold for the eight or nine hours of sightseeing each day.  

Auschwitz: We must never forget!

Security? While traveling overseas, I wear a money belt that fits around my waist where I keep my credit cards, passport and the majority of my money. I carry a small change purse that’s easier to access with enough cash for the day. My travel purse is a Baggallini. It’s lightweight and has lots of zipped compartments and a long strap for crossbody wear. The name badge holders we get at RWA and ACFW, worn around the neck, will hold a passport and credit cards as well. Tourist areas attract pickpockets who can easily lift a wallet from a hip pocket or grab a purse from the back of your chair. Be cautious, just as you would be in any large US city.

Make a copy of the picture page of your passport and give it to a fellow traveler or spouse for safekeeping, in case your passport is stolen. I also keep a list of phone numbers for credit cards and banks just in case I need to contact them. A second copy can also be left with a family member in the US.

City center of Krakow

Packing Tips? Check out my September 2010 blog for helpful packing tips. Many of the suggestions apply to international travel as well trips within the US. I pack my clothing in over-sized, Ziploc plastic bags that allow me to shuffle the various bags around my suitcase without wrinkling the clothing.  

Most airlines have a 50 pound limit on each suitcase. For this trip, I purchased a portable luggage scale to ensure I didn’t go overweight. As it was, my suitcase was five pounds heavy when I packed for our return flight. I tucked a few things in my husband’s suitcase and moved a couple of heavy items to my carry-on bag to ensure I didn’t have to pay the extra $75 charge.
Information from the Holocaust Museum I captured with
my camera.

Carry-on bags? I place my purse in a larger over-the-shoulder tote that fits under the seat or in the overhead compartment. A change of clothes is wise, in case luggage is lost en route. I also include a quart-sized, Ziploc bag with liquid toiletries, an extra pair of contacts, reading glasses, ibuprofen, Kleenex (which many European hotels do not provide), hand-wipes, a small flashlight, my AlphaSmart and a paperback novel.

Gathering research? I take notes in a small composition notebook, like the ones I give away at conferences. It’s easy to tuck in my purse along with a pen. I also photograph many of the larger information plaques and then download them to my computer at home. Most tourist sites have bookstores and souvenir shops. Ask for the English section for books that provide more in-depth information. I also get the guide’s email address for any questions I might have at a later time.

Even in the rain, Poles love to buy flowers. Notice how the
florist holds them upside down. The Germans carry flowers
the same way.
Add caption
Share your own travel tips, whether for international or domestic travel, or leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for the first-ever giveaway of my August Love Inspired Suspense, PERSON OF INTEREST.

I’m providing a buffet breakfast similar to the lavish offering we enjoyed at various hotels throughout our trip.

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

by Debby Giusti

While babysitting a young servicewoman’s infant, Natalie Frazier hears a murder in the neighboring army duplex. Convinced her former commander is behind the crime, the ex-soldier bolts with the baby. But who will believe her story? Army investigator Everett Kohl deals only with the facts, but this time his gut instincts can’t be denied. Is the attractive Natalie a cunning killer, as his ranking officers believe, or an innocent victim? Ordered to bring her in, Everett has a decision to make. Helping her could cost him his job…but not protecting  Natalie and the baby could get all of them killed…

Pre-order your copy in digital or print format: Amazon.


Debby Giusti said...

I'm having all sorts of computer problems and can't upload any more photos. I'll keep trying and will call for IT help in the AM. Sorry!

Lyndee H said...

HI Debby! I was excited to learn you were in Poland since that's our upcoming destination, too! Will be patiently watching for the additional photos. But don't you look cute!

Lots of good travel tips! We always get international health coverage,since we've seen how valuable it can be with our family's trips to and from Australia. Thanks for sharing! Blessings, Dear Friend.

Missy Tippens said...

Loved the photos, Debby! I saw several, so I think you successfully inserted them.

Lyndee, I hope you have a wonderful trip, too! Thanks for the advice on international health coverage. I hadn't heard of that.

Missy Tippens said...

By the way, I wanted to chime in and say I've loved taking photos of information I want to remember. I did that at the Shaker museum in KY.

Cindy W. said...

What a great and informative post Debby! It has been so long since I traveled outside of the US that I don't have any tips to share. Our traveling now is simply by car and we always make sure we have blankets in the car, plenty of water and some snack foods just in case. Once we were traveling back to Indiana from Georgia in late March and encountered a bad snow storm and praise God we got off the interstate to go to a gas station as when we went to get back on the interstate it had been shut down. We found out later a segment of about ten miles had been shut down for over three hours while plows came in and cleared the roads. We would have been prepared but I felt bad for everyone who was stranded.

I would love to be entered to win you book Debby. Thank you for the chance.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Mary Preston said...

I would not have thought to make a trip to Poland. It's on my list now though. Helpful tips thank you. Sounds like you have it covered.

Count me in thank you.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Debbie, this is a treasure trove for me. As I get nearer to a time when I might be able to travel, I'm always second-guessing what I should do/plan/take. This is a perfect overview of things I wouldn't know!!! Thank you so much!

I loved your words about Poland. On our cruise, I enjoyed a long coffee and conversation with a Russian Jewish woman named Revekkah. Revekkah came to the U.S. after the fall of the Soviet Union. She was a doctor in Russia. Here, she became a lab technician because the doctoring requirements are different. She worked long and hard and her words to me were this: "America should never become too socialized. It is good to work hard and see the benefit. I came from a place where so much was controlled and handed out. Here, you have freedom to be what you can be and that is the best."

Her words hit home. There's nothing wrong with hard work and faith. And I could see that in one woman's eyes, a person who came her from oppression, had to change her whole life, and thought she was blessed to do it!

Debby, you have had the experience of a lifetime. If my church doesn't start a program like this, I know one that does, because I think this would be an amazing way to see things!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

International health coverage? Lyndee, thank you! And Deb, the tips about the camera/phone/adapters: HUGE. HUGE. HUGE.

Jackie said...


Thanks for the great tips. My nephew is taking a group of youth to Poland this summer. He loves the Polish people and has been so many times with his church I lost count.

I'd love to take a riverboat cruise through France one day.

Thanks for sharing!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Debby, you international traveler you. I also make my family members register with the US Embassy. The Smart Traveler Program. to let the United States Government know you are never know when the tiny country of BlahBlah might stage a revolt.


Barbara Scott said...

Debby, so many great travel tips! I wish I had read this years ago before my husband and I took a week's vacation in England. We muddled through somehow, but your post would have made it so much easier.

Always the dreamer, I've kept my passport updated for the last 40 years. But the only international travel I've done so far is two quick day trips to Tijuana (no passport needed), a business trip to Vancouver, and that week in England where I went to the emergency room twice and learned all about socialized medicine. I didn't need my international insurance. They took one look at me, said you're over 60, and didn't bill me a penny. You haven't lived until you've carried a bowl of urine all the way across the waiting room, through swinging doors, and then have to track down a doctor who looks 16. Never get a hemmorhagic UTI in a foreign country. Just sayin'.

Love a copy of your book!

Debby Giusti said...

Lyndee, how exciting that you're traveling to Poland. I hope you like the country as much as I did. It reminds me of Germany...except for the language. I never got the hang of pronouncing all those Zs! :)

One of the folks on our trip last year had to get medical care. The doc accepted his US insurance, and our friends did receive a statement about the doctor's visit.

I had an allergic reaction when we visited our son in Germany some years ago and went to the Germany hospital. No problems about being seen...quickly, but international insurance sounds like a good idea. Do you buy a limited policy for a certain amount of time?

Debby Giusti said...

Still having problems this AM. Using my tablet now. Hate that this happened on the day I blog. So, so sorry.

Debby Giusti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debby Giusti said...

Missy, the few pics that loaded took hours with lots of rejections. Hoping to get help!

Debby Giusti said...

Cindy, being stranded in a snow storm is frightening, for sure. We lived in the Mojave Desert and always carried water and blankets and salt for those cold winter nights. We knew to remain in our car if we broke down.

I enjoy traveling by car. We have a van so I can pack as much as I want to take. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Mary P, the exchange rate is better than with Euros. Another plus for visiting Poland!

Debby Giusti said...

Ruthy, our tour guide was a retired college professor. He earned $1 a day. Even with money, he said there was nothing to buy...and so many things, such as coffee, sugar, and gasoline, were rationed. He too talked about ensuring that we don't give our freedom away.

When we lived in Germany, I got to go to Berlin for a women's church function. We took the train, slept in bunks and crossed through the occupied zone. We also bused through Checkpoint Charlie to East Berlin. Long lines. Little to buy. The items in the stores looked like plastic junk. Think Dollar Store items, perhaps not even that good. And the people looked so tired and discouraged.

Debby Giusti said...

Jackie, how great that your nephew leads tours to Poland.

I would like to take a river cruise too! We've talked about the trip on the Danube.

Debby Giusti said...

Tina, good idea about registering with the US Embassy. Too often, folks think they are safe just because they are US citizens. Not so, especially in Third World countries.

Debby Giusti said...

Barbara, what a nightmare for you!!!

Glad you keep your passport up to date. It serves as great identification and you never know what trip might catch your fancy in the future.

Julie Lessman said...

OH. MY. GOODNESS!! Deb, this is better than a travel guide, my friend. If I were you, I'd put together an easy, pocket-size travel guide with all your tips because they are WONDERFUL!!

I don't anticipate going overseas anytime soon (or ever!), but I gotta admit, I would want to print off this baby off if I did!!


Mary Hicks said...

Thank you Debby, you're just who I needed to hear from!! I'm doing a print out as a check list.

I'm going to Poland the first of October for three weeks, my packing and planning drawer is almost full.:-)

I use the Nikon 700 with a long lens for most of my photography, but didn't plan on taking it with me. It's heavy, and expensive. I'd sure hate to lose it.
But selecting a smaller camera is proving to be difficult—so far everything seems to fall around the $500 price range. I'd hoped to get something in the $200/300 range, I may not use it much in future, but I want to get good photos while I'm there.

So many of your tips and suggestions were great—things I hadn't or wouldn't have thought of.

Thanks again!:-)

Glynna Kaye said...

FABULOUS post, Debby! You're a woman after my own heart--a packing planner! When I went to Britain, I did the whole ziplock thing (great for keeping clothes from wrinkling, preventing something from leaking on them or getting a "suitcase smell"). And I got traveler's checks from my bank in the local currency before I left the States. Had a flat money belt I wore, too, for money, passport, tickets, etc.

It's really important, too, to check with your credit card company to ensure your credit card is approved for use at your international destination. Friends got to Germany last year, only to discover their credit card didn't work at the ATMs. Also, carry enough local currency as some out-of-way destinations or vendors (like taxi's) may not take credit cards.

It's also a good idea to have TWO different credit cards. While some friends were overseas recently, suddenly their credit card wasn't being accepted. They contacted the credit card company and were told their credit card # had been "compromised" and the company had cut off its use right in the middle of their trip! Fortunately, they were carrying credit cards from two different companies--each of the pair carrying a different one in case one got stolen.

If on medication or wearing glasses, it's a good idea to carry a copy of the prescription with you, too. And carry a medical emergency card listing medical conditions, medications and emergency contact information.

So glad you got to go on this special trip, Debby!

Debby Giusti said...

Julie, smiling at your mention of a travel book. A good reason to take more trips! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Mary Hicks! Let me know how you like Poland. Sounds like you're a professional photographer. I should have bought a better one, in hindsight, although mine was lightweight and easy to use.

Tracey Hagwood said...

Debby, Such great organized tips. I have only used my passport twice in eight years for cruises, but I never thought to photo copy it. That's so smart. Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge.

Love the picture of your smiling face, adorable.

Debby Giusti said...

Glynna, you're the one who told me about packing clothing in zip lock bags, so thank you. I believe it was a tip you provided for my 2010 post!

Glynna Kaye said...

WOW, MARY H -- Debby's post is EXTRA timely for you!

When I went to Britain, I took my Pentax SLR with it's multiple super zoom lenses, etc. But I now travel with a pocket-size Canon Powershot and have been very satisfied with it--it takes amazing low light / interior shots. I think it was around $300-400 4 years ago. It has a lot of great features for 'customizing' a shot just like the bigger cameras--or you can use it strictly as a point and shoot. The only thing I don't care for with this particular model (and I'm assuming they've corrected it in later models) is that in BRIGHT daylight the LCD screen tends to wash out, making exact framing difficult. Fortunately, the point and shoot capability has compensated for that. I've enjoyed not lugging my camera bag and all the lenses around with me, as this camera is about 2 inches by 3 1/2 and slips easily into a small purse.

Julie Lessman said...

TINA SAID: "I also make my family members register with the US Embassy. The Smart Traveler Program. to let the United States Government know you are never know when the tiny country of BlahBlah might stage a revolt."

Gosh, Tina, never heard of this, but I don't travel much. Had no idea this program available, but I guess it's become a must with the state of the world today.

BARBARA SAID: "You haven't lived until you've carried a bowl of urine all the way across the waiting room, through swinging doors, and then have to track down a doctor who looks 16. Never get a hemmorhagic UTI in a foreign country. Just sayin'."

LOL ... I know it's not funny, but you SO painted a picture that made me laugh, Barb, kicking my day off with a smile, so THANK YOU! :)

I'm really sorry you had that situation in England -- not one ER visit, but two -- YIKES!! Glad you got through it unscathed. :)


Janet Dean said...

Debby, thanks for all the terrific tips for traveling abroad. We've traveled to Italy, a wonderful two-week tour. I took prescription medication, just in case we needed it. And I did. I'd recommend even taking OTC cold meds in case you can't communicate in a pharmacy. We also packed using the large Ziploc bags. I kept outfits together and they really cut down on wrinkles.

Poland sounds fabulous. Thanks for sharing the lovely photos.

We keep our passports updated just in case we one day take a river cruise or visit England, places we'd like to see. Will check your post, if we go.


Janet Dean said...

Mary H, fun that you will be heading to Poland in the fall. Three weeks should give you plenty of time to see everything. Any chance you'll visit the town where Polish pottery is made?


Janet Dean said...

Barbara S, being sick with an UTI in a foreign country makes me cringe. Two trips to the emergency room had to put a damper on your stay. Other than that, did you love England?


Elizabeth Van Tassel said...

Thank you for the lovely reminders to a future hopeful traveler. My plots take place in different countries so it would be fun to pursue this. I lived overseas for two study abroad summers, and had my things stolen in Paris. Thankfully I spoke broken-up French enough to communicate with the authorities. Keep your precious things in a pouch under your clothes or carry backups as you advise.

I loved how old everything is overseas - you just look and history lies right in front of you. Thanks for rekindling that sense of awe with this post!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I am humbled that Janet worried about wrinkles.

Ruthy "The Slug" Herne

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Glynna's clothes don't wrinkle either.

I am amazed they let me into this group.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Debby, you know just what I'm talking about.

In Seattle we had two Ethiopian cab drivers. When I said I had an Ethiopian grandson, the first one said, "It is so good to have him here! In my old country, they would frown at my success. They would interfere because people in power don't like ordinary people to find success. My success (remember this is a cabbie, not a CEO) here is a wonderful thing, my children have education, my grandchildren are so beautiful and healthy."

He came over in '87.... And again, so glad to be here.

Freedom is too good a thing to waste or take lightly. Or give away because we're too busy to vote, speak our minds.

(Oops, soap box, sorry!!!!) I'm just always inspired by immigrants whose vision is so clear!

Myra Johnson said...

Excellent travel advice, Debby, and your trip sounds wonderful! Hubby and I have traveled overseas a number of times now--the Holy Lands & Egypt twice, Germany, Italy, and Ethiopia/Kenya. My least favorite part of every trip is the loooooooooong plane ride! Every time we get back, I'm convinced I will NEVER do it again until I'm rich enough to afford first class or at least business class. Huh. Not likely!

One thing we did prior to our first-ever overseas trip was attend a packing seminar at Container Store. They provided some really helpful tips, plus (naturally) they have plenty of travel items they'd love to sell!

Mary Connealy said...

I love this, Debby.

Wow, what a traveler you are. I can barely get to the grocery store for milk

Meghan Carver said...

I cannot thank you enough for this list, Debby! Good morning! Our family of eight LOVES to travel, which surprises most people. But everyone pitches in, and the older children (ages 15, 13, 11, and 9) have their own rolling luggage. We're actually planning an overseas trip next spring, so this is perfect! So many helpful tips I never would have known. Thank you again! Printing it out for future reference!

Debby Giusti said...

Tracy, remember when the ruling changed about cruises? Everyone scrambled to get passports. I've gone on one cruise. Then I heard about rogue waves. Too much info! LOL!

Debby Giusti said...

Glynna, I like a small camera, which I hold in one hand as I take notes with the other. When I want to capture shot, the camera is at my fingertips.

Debby Giusti said...

Janet, great tips about meds. I did take a number of over the counter products with me and took vitamin D each day to ward off infections.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi DEBBY, What a great post and such helpful hints. Since I have traveled a lot, I appreciate the list of items to check off. Great reminders.

One thing I learned also is to travel LIGHT. You don't need a lot and in a lot of these countries there are no elevators to the rooms upstairs. smile. So stay light. So what if they see you in the same outfit. LOL The trip is what is important, not your looks.

Loved that the Polish were so open about their faith. I found that to be refreshing and true in Spain also. And also in my travels throughout Latin America. I feel sad that we are discouraged from doing so here in the US, a country which was founded on Christian values. Ooops. I guess I'm on my soapbox now. Move over RUTHY. LOL

Sandra Leesmith said...

Great tip TINA to register. You are so right. Traveling now is not like it used to be. We have to be aware of our surroundings and circumstances. Fortunately, most people you will encounter are so helpful and wonderful. They are tickled that you are visiting their country. As long as you show respect for their culture, they will embrace you with open arms. (My experience anyway) Mind you I haven't traveled near any wars so imagine that would be a different situation altogether.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Another tip. If you are on any medications, be sure and take your prescription. You will need that for customs and also if you lose your meds you will have it for a refill. Be sure and have them in their med bottles and in a quart baggie for TSA and customs.

Debby Giusti said...

Elizabeth, so true about European history. The salt mine we toured had operated for 700 years. I had forgotten how precious salt was in days of old.

Debby Giusti said...

Ruthy, agreeing with you. What we have in the US is what people around the world seek.

By the way, no irons in European hotels! That's good.

Debby Giusti said...

Myra, a packing class! Great idea. This trip we were delayed on the tarmac for an hour due to a storm, then a 9 hour flight to Amsterdam where we walked for miles to our second plane that took us to Warsaw. Coming home, we left the hotel at 3:30 AM to catch our flight. As you mentioned, flying is the downside of travel.

Debby Giusti said...

Mary C, you've got me laughing, which is a good thing considering my computer problems!

Sandy Smith said...

These are great tips, Debby. I haven't traveled overseas since a college trip to Ireland in 1978! I hope to do it again one day. I might have to try your ziploc bag idea for packing outfits. I am a terrible packer. We can travel somewhere for a weekend and look like we are going to be gone a week. So our car is always loaded down. Apparently I have passed that on to the next generation. My college son left this week to help with an FCA camp, picking up two other people along the way. As he was packing the car, he said it was good that a third person had found another ride as he had more to pack in the car than he had thought.

Please enter me in the drawing for your book.

Debby Giusti said...

Meghan, we traveled all over Europe when our three were little. Which countries do you plan to visit?

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks for your tips, Sandra. Packing light is a challenge for me. I've thought often of your wonderful trip to Spain. We were there last year and loved the country and people as well.

Debby Giusti said...

Sandy Smith, Ireland is on my bucket list! You sound like me when it comes to packing! :) I need that class Myra mentioned!

Marianne Barkman said...

I love,your informative post. The. Eat thing about overseas travel? I can now do it from y cozy recliner, and just pick up a Seekerville book! And it's less expensive, too!

Missy Tippens said...

Ruthy, what a beautiful story of the cab driver! So true! We need to appreciate what we have.

Missy Tippens said...

Meghan you're a braver woman that I am!! I would be quaking in my boots to travel with so many children. :) :) But you know, if you start them early, then I imagine it's a lot easier.

Missy Tippens said...

Oh, that reminded me! On a recent flight I was on, there was a huge school group--like probably over 50 teens. You would not believe how quickly that plane loaded and unloaded!! LOL Those kids were fast. Our flight was late boarding, but we made up the time and left early because of their efficiency. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Debby, I buy those vacuum bags for packing clothes. You put in all the clothes, seal the bag, then mash it down to press all the air out. I'm sure it's a sight to see my flopping myself on the bed on top of those bags to press all the air out. LOL But it's great for fitting in lots of clothes!

Also, I watched a show recently (some science thing) where they proved you can get more clothes in a suitcase by rolling them.

CatMom said...

Loved this post, Debby (my World-Traveler Friend!).
I think you've covered everything, so I'm adding this to my Keeper File in the event that I do actually travel out of the US one day. (Yes, Ireland is on my Wish List too). :)
And that first photo of you grinning is adorable!!
Thanks for sharing with us.
Hugs, Patti Jo

Myra Johnson said...

Another thing we do before every overseas trip is ask our doc for a general-purpose antibiotic in case of an infection.

And on our recent trip to Montana to see our kids, we learned something new about hubby's knee replacement. Our tickets were marked "TSA Precheck," which meant we didn't have to go through the heavy-duty screening (shoes off, X-ray machine, etc.). But then he had to be searched because his knee set off the metal detector! They said he should ALWAYS go through the regular screening so they can actually see the knee.

kaybee said...

Packing light is a problem for me too. I take everything I own every place I go. You should see my carry-on bag. When we went to the Azores for a church work trip, the only time I've been abroad, my husband mistakenly put my carry-on in with the larger luggage. The flight was delayed and I had NOTHING TO DO for three hours. It was an overnight flight, so everything in the terminal was shut down (remember this is New England) and I about went crazy. I should pack lighter, I really should, but I am ensnared by the demons of "what if."
Love the insights about people who are glad to be in America. Wow.
Debby, will we see a suspense story set in Poland?
Kathy Bailey

Pam Hillman said...

Wow! If I ever go overseas, I'll definitely know who to call for advice! And Debby, I couldn't get Seekerville to load in Safari this morning, so switched to Firefox. Ah, now Safari is up and I don't have to figure out how to log in with Firefox. :)

Sarah Claucherty said...

Debby, thanks for all the tips! I'm a planner, so this post will be great to keep in case I get the chance to travel (internationally or domestically). I agree with whoever mentioned the added security of letting the Embassy know of your visit and the medications/emergency info. I'd recommend adding any medications or similarly vital items to the carry-on/bag you keep with you. Maybe keep a smaller container with you in a carry-on and put the usual bigger ones in the luggage?

I'll check back in case you post more photos! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Rejoicing! I was able to load more pictures. Maybe it wasn't my computer. Maybe something was happening in cyber-space yesterday. Did anyone else have problems?

Sarah Claucherty said...

Oh by the way--love the flower market and little details about buying flowers in Poland! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Marianne, you're so right. We're transported, aren't we, through the books we read!

Debby Giusti said...

Kathy, a story with an Auschwitz tie-in has been begging to be written. I've always been drawn to information about the Holocaust. Grew up reading EXODUS, ANNE FRANK, THE WALL, a bit later, THE HIDING PLACE. Those stories keep the memory alive, which I believe is so important.

Hubby and I toured Dachau years ago. So poignant. So heart wrenching. I've wanted to experience Auschwitz and finally got the opportunity on this trip. Interesting--and it drove home the fact that I was supposed to be on this trip--that we visited Auschwitz on my birthday, which was Pentecost. God was saying, "Right time, right place."

Debby Giusti said...

Missy, we live about 30 minutes from the Atlanta Hartsfield airport, as you know, so we're surrounded by Delta Airlines folks. All the flight attendants I know roll their clothing. And they pack light. I'm always impressed at their one, small carry-on, when I've lugging a huge suitcase AND a carry-on! LOL!

Debby Giusti said...

Patti Jo!

Last night, I had such a terrible time getting any pic to download. That one worked so I kept it! I thought my computer was ready to die...then this afternoon it starts to work again. I'm clueless...but happy! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Myra, I love when I get TSA Pre-check, but it doesn't happen for every flight. Certainly makes security a lot easier!

I'm not sure my doc would prescribe an antibiotic, just in case, although that's such a pro-active idea! Last year, I was in the doc's office with a fever and chest problem the day we were to fly out. I did get an antibiotic. The doc said to start it if I got worse. After a long flight and no sleep, I was worse and was thankful to have the meds.

This year I took some anti-nausea pills that my daughter (a mother with three little ones) keeps on hand. Luckily, we didn't need to use them.

Debby Giusti said...

Myra, did you have to get any shots before your "exotic" trips? Something else to check.

Debby Giusti said...

Pam, I wonder if Seekerville/Blogger was the problem? I kept thinking it was my computer. Yesterday I was only able to comment once. I kept getting blocked out of the site.

Whatever it was, I hope it never returns! :)

Janet Dean said...

Debby, delighted to see you're no longer having issues with your computer. Interesting that the Poles and Germans hold flowers upside down. Do you think that's to keep the moisture in the stems?


Debby Giusti said...

Sarah, I've been able to add more photos! YAY!

Great tips about meds in the carry-on bag!

Debby Giusti said...

Sarah, when we lived in Germany, I'd go the Market Place every SAT and sometimes on WED to buy flowers and vegetables. The Germans love flowers, and so do I. Ever since then, I try to keep a bouquet of fresh flowers on the table on in my kitchen/family room. Just a little gift I give myself that always brings me joy!

Debby Giusti said...

Janet, I think it's probably to protect the blooms. They carry the flowers by the end of the stems. Often, they'll be on foot and lugging home their other buys, like fresh veggies, breads, meats and cheese.

Hubby was the Deputy Community Commander in Aschaffenburg, Germany so we interacted with the Germans frequently. Whenever they came to dinner or to a social function at our house, the ladies would arrive with huge bouquets that were breathtaking! All carried upside down and wrapped with clear cellophane and pretty ribbons. And when we went to their homes, I always took flowers. Loved deciding what to put in the various bouquets. The flowers were less costly than in the US, for sure, and always so fresh and beautiful!

Wilani Wahl said...

Travel internationally sure has changed since the last time I was in another country. That was in 1983. Thank you for the tips.

Cara Lynn James said...

Great pictures and tips, Debby! My tip is to read all the information about the places you're going to before you go. Then it won't seem quite so unfamiliar.

Debby Giusti said...

Wilani, you're right. It has changed so much!

Debby Giusti said...

Cara, great point! Knowing something about the country ahead of time adds to the anticipation!

Valri said...

When I was 17-18, my family lived in Saudi Arabia which was a huge change from our little Calif. town!!!! We traveled all over the world for 2 yrs. as part of that experience and what a fantastic experience it was! I only wish I could go back now and do it again! I have since lived in Guatemala too. I love international travel and hope to do it again. My tip is just not to be afraid! So many people are afraid to ask for help or directions or anything but I've found that most people are glad to help if they can!

Looking forward to your new book!

Lyndee H said...

Loving the photos, Debby. Sweet flower stands. I'm getting excited now.

We buy our health insurance from squaremouth. Several years ago, one of our family ended up in a Chinese ER and a three day hospital stay that cost over $22,000! And the hospital refused credit cards and US insurance. Since most of us don't have that kind of money laying around in our checking account, we pitched in to help her pay so she could get out of the hospital. It was eye-opening. We buy the appropriate insurance based on the country we're visiting and pay an extra premium which allows for a flight back to the US for treatment.

Debby Giusti said...

Valri, I've had friends who lived in Saudi. The women weren't allowed to drive or go off the compound without a male escort. Plus, they had to be covered from neck to toe. Did you find that as well?

I grew up as an Army Brat and lived for three years in Japan. Experiencing new places and cultures was part of my life, which I think helps to make kids more accepting and adaptable. Glad it was good for you as well!

Kathryn Barker said...

Debby, this post is fantastic! What a great list. We haven't traveled internationally in years, but we loved it, even when we encountered the occasional speed bump.

My husband traveled extensively for his business and always used the same travel agent. She was amazing and we never thought to register with the US Embassy. The travel agent tracked us...which came in really handy several times. Once in Mongolia, she found we weren't on the return flight passenger list. We'd been bumped off the flight, but didn't know it. She got us back on...and home we came...and never knew there'd been a problem until we were back!! I didn't think I could travel ever again after she retired, but we did manage to make a few more trips overseas and all worked out well.

One of the most heartwarming experiences I've ever had took place in a room crowded with new citizens, tears running down their cheeks, swearing their allegiance to their new country, the United States. I cried too!!

Would love to win a copy of your book...thanks.

Mary Hicks said...

Glynna, you are so right!! Debby's post couldn't have come at a better time. Thanks for the camera info. I'll check out the Canon Powershot—I think someone else has mentioned that one.

Debby Giusti said...

How horrific, Lyndee! Don't blame you for getting insurance. I would as well...and may look into it next time. Thanks for the info!

Virgina Munoz lived in Poland and learned the language. I hope she stops by and shares what she experienced.

Mary Hicks said...

Debby, lightweight and easy to use is what I'm after! :-)

I'll be going to Sopot—pronounced, 'sopo'. Sopot is right on the Baltic Sea.

Debby Giusti said...

God bless that travel agent for getting you home, Kathryn! Mongolia! You are adventurous, for sure! :)

Thanks too for sharing about the new citizens who had to work to come here, no doubt. My friend waited seven years for her family to have enough money to come to the US after WWII. She's frustrated by those who think citizenship should be freely given to all.

Debby Giusti said...

Mary, I'm sure your trip will be lovely. Pack me in your suitcase, pretty please. :)

Mary Hicks said...

Janet, I don't know about pottery, but I love hand thrown pottery, so I'll find out. :-)

Sopot, among other things, is known for its health spas—and one of the longest piers—of which I won't be walking to the end of.:-)

Sherida Stewart said...

Debby, thank you for all the travel tips. I've enjoyed all your photos....but especially the carved cross on the wooden door. Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

I agree that the Baggelleni bags are great for organizing stuff....if I remember which pocket I put something in. My travel tip is: reversible clothes. TravelSmith sells reversible dresses and tops. You get two looks and a clean side if something gets spilled. They are wrinkle-free and quick drying.

Thanks again for your post with many ideas which are good for US travel as well.

Valri said...

Debby, yes, in Saudi we couldn't leave the compound without a male escort and we couldn't drive as females! BUT, when our family was there, they had just passed a law that foreigners didn't have to cover their heads and faces - thank goodness! I would have died in that heat - sometimes up to 130 degrees!!!! But, we did have to wear long dresses and that was hard enough!

Mary Hicks said...

Debby, I plan on a lovely trip—and you have helped me be better prepared to enjoy it. I would love to pack you along with my 'Winter Silks'. :-)

Rhonda Starnes said...

Lovely post, Debby!

I dream of traveling abroad one day! Unfortunately, Mountain Man isn't willing to get on a plane to go with me, so for now it will stay a dream.

We did go to Niagara Falls, Canada, a few years ago, of course we had to drive. My lesson learned was don't travel that far with Mountain Man because, bless his heart, he doesn't like to stop between point A and point B. We got a late start the day we left going to Canada, so we did stop somewhere in Ohio for the night, but the day we came home, he didn't want to stop anywhere so we drove fifteen hours in one day.

Vince said...

Hi Debby:

Funny you should write the below today:

"Gathering research? I take notes in a small composition notebook, like the ones I give away at conferences."

It just so happens that yesterday I was cleaning my office and I discovered this little marble composition note book. I thought "I could sure use this," wondering where it came from. Well, it was one of the books you give away at conferences. Only it was full of your notes! It was the one you were using! The cover says it is from September 2013 so it is not old. I'm too much of a gentleman to read your notes and I'd sure like to mail it back to you. I tried to mail it but I can't find your snail mail address. Please email it, via Tina, and I'll send your notes back home. It seems they took a trip you didn't! : )

Trip comment and question: Every time we plan and pack for a trip, when we get there, we find that we have forgotten something we needed but never thought of bringing. Can you tell us what you forgot that you wish you included on your trip to Poland?


P.S. Does the hero in your "Person of Interest" look like Jim Caviezel? If so I might be able to get my wife to read a romance.

Jeanne T said...

Ugh! I commented early this morning, and I think it's not here. :)

LOVED your post, Debby. You shared so many fabulous tips! And what amazing opportunities you've had to travel. I've always been curious about Poland, but have yet to visit. I'll have to go sometime. Did you pick up any Polish pottery? I think it's beautiful. :)

There are so many other great tips in the comments, hopefully these two weren't already mentioned. :) I always carry my prescription meds, camera, electronics and their chargers in my carry-on. I've had a few times when my suitcase took a trip without me, and I would have been in bad shape without these things.

Also, if your suitcase has unique things on them (a bright orange ribbon on the handle, and the like), it will be less likely to be confused for someone else's suitcase. Yes, this has happened to me. :) Someone walked off with my suitcase because it looked similar to his. (I might add, don't pack your "unmentionables" on top. I can only imagine what thoughts when through that young man's head when he opened my suitcase, expecting to find military uniforms . . . ).

And I think you mentioned always carry an extra set of clothing in your carry-on. We were without our suitcases for three days when we went to Germany one time. Hubby had no extra clothes. I had one set, which was better than nothing. You just never know . . . :)

Tracey Hagwood said...

Debby, I stopped back by to see your newly loaded pictures and the words from the museum caught my eye,

"I am a child carried out of the Warsaw ghetto in a suitcase in 1942. I was then about 2 years old."

Wow, that really choked me up, the lengths people went to to save the children!

Debby Giusti said...

Mary H, will you stay there the entire time or are you traveling around? Zakopane is in the mountains, a big ski resort, but they consider it a health area as well due to the clean air. Many of the older homes are all wood and beautifully decorated/carved. The Highlanders, as they're called, are known for their wood working.

Barbara Scott said...

Julie, I can laugh now about my London ER adventure, but at the time ... well, suffice it to say, the exprience was not pleasant. My husband and the Anglican priest we were staying with watched me walk all that way across the waiting room trying not to spill my urine sample from a plastic bowl the size of a, wait for it, cereal bowl. Without a lid. None provided. And silly me I forgot to pack the Tupperware. We all had red faces.

The teenage doctor wrote me a 3-day prescription for an an antibiotic I'd never heard of, and then I had to make another trip to the hospital pharmacy for the pills. They were free, so that was a plus. But when I showed the bottle to an Israeli doctor in a coffee shop (a woman), she looked at it and said, "Oh, my gosh, we haven't used this in years!" She was aghast.

Needless to say, three days of a substandard antibiotic wasn't enough to beat the bug, so on the morning we were to fly back, I relapsed and our airport driver had to make another swing by the ER before we dashed to the airport to make our flight.

Other than that, I adored England! We missed the prepaid tour to Stonehenge and all things south, but we managed to take a train to see Shakespeare's birthplace. And we walked around a town at the end of the subway line where I had an actual Angus hamburger cooked to order by a Scottish pub proprietor. He was a jewel.Oh, and we toured St. Paul's Cathedral, rode on a double-decker bus in the rain (on top), and ate in downtown London. A week I'll never forget!

Now if only my book becomes a bestseller, we can make anothr trip sometime, sans ER.

Debby Giusti said...

Sherida, I'll check out the clothing you mentioned. I know of TravelSmith's purses, which are supposed to be very nice. How interested to have reversible lines. Great travel tip!

Debby Giusti said...

Rhonda, your Mountain Man sounds like one of the heroes in our books!

A number of the ladies in our church travel without their husbands, just because the guys like to stay home. The girls share rooms and always have fun. Just an FYI! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Jeanne, great tips about the dealing with lost luggage, which is always a concern. Some friends of ours split their outfits between two suitcases. If one's lost, they at least have half a wardrobe.

Actually, I didn't see much Polish pottery...a few small pieces, but I was expecting to find it very plentiful. I do have a number of mugs and other pieces that I love. Some were purchased in Germany, but most were bought in the States.

Debby Giusti said...

Tracey, all the "stories" I saw were very moving. They were Jewish children who had been smuggled to German families wanting to adopt. The Warsaw Ghetto must have been horrific. So many crowded into a small area. Our guide said children could slip by unnoticed and often stole food outside the wall for their families.

In 42 and 43, all the Jews in the ghetto were taken to extermination camps, and the ghetto was leveled. Years ago, I read John Hersey's book, THE WALL, which takes place in the Warsaw Ghetto. I remember it to this day. Interesting that stories stay with us and can touch our hearts. That's why we all need to be writing...

Debby Giusti said...

Barbara, you were so very sick. Hemorrhagic anything is never good! And UTIs are so debilitating. Glad you have good memories and can laugh about Tupperware! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Oh, Vince, how funny. I must have tucked my own used notebook in with a giveaway for you! Shame on me. Thanks for finding it and being so gracious about sending it back to me. I'm laughing...and a bit embarrassed! :)

What's with Jim Caviezel? You're the second person who asked. Does he have a movie by the same name? BTW, I heard him speak at a church conference, and he was great! I understand his wife is working with pregnancy crisis centers and is amazing as well.

Since I tend to over pack, I took everything we needed! And then some. Didn't need all the summer tops I included. As you might note from the pictures, the weather was cool with occasional showers.

Myra Johnson said...

Shots? For Africa, definitely! Hepatitis A,B,&C, yellow fever, tetanus booster, diphtheria/pertussis . . . yeah, fun. Anytime you're traveling overseas, it's a good idea to check and for anything you might need to know ahead of time.

VINCE, we have been binge-watching Person of Interest (hadn't watched it before this summer). Just got the next DVD from Netflix today!

Mary Connealy said...

Jim Caziezel, who played Jesus in the movie Passion of the Christ, has a TV show now called Person of Interest.

It's a very cool show.

Mary Connealy said...

One thing I learned that has taken a lot of the stress out of travel for me (and I find it really stressful so anything helps) is what I call my MasterCard Rule.

Don't worry about any problem that can be solved with a credit card.

It's that simple.

What do you need to pack that, if you don't have it, your credit card can't fix it.

It's amazing how much less I stress now that I've settled on that.

Honestly, your ID, probably your purse, you'd really miss your phone. I can't fill in for my laptop with anything else.

But beyond that? I once left ALL MY SHIRTS for a conference behind at home. I'd left them out, all ready to go, but I didn't want them in the suitcase to long or they'd wrinkle.

So there they all were, ready to go. And I got to the conference with these tidy blazers and slacks, matching jewelry and shoes and......NO SHIRTS. And I'd worn a red turtle neck sweater which matched NOTHING.

I pretty much just wore the same outfit everyday. :(

I don't remember where we were but it seemed like shopping was NOT convenient. So I survived but it really made me feel stupid and like I LOOKED stupid.

Now...MasterCard Rule.

I very rarely forget stuff. I think reducing the stress helps me to remember.

Sandra Leesmith said...

I loved the series PERSON OF INTEREST and yes, I agree with your wife VINCE, Jim Caviezel is easy to watch. A wonderful hero. What do you think MYRA? Are you and hubby enjoying it? I liked the first years best. The last two seasons were rather strange. I think they run out of new material.

I didn't catch that the title of that show is the same as your title DEBBY. No wonder your book appealed to me. LI was smart in picking that title. Or did you?

Great info from all the comments. Sounds like we have some experienced travelers. Yay.

Sandra Leesmith said...

MARY I'm so laughing. I did the same thing. It wasn't a conference, but a week long retreat for writers. I had several pants but only the shirt on my back. Fortunately it was lightweight and dried overnight. So embarrassing and frustrating. I forgot for the same reason. I drove my car so didn't want to pack the blouses in the suit case where they would get wrinkled. Well they didn't get wrinkled. LOL

And the credit card rule would not have worked as we were way out in the boonies.

Sandra Leesmith said...

SHERIDA and DEBBY, I like Prana's for travel also. Pants can be capris or long pants and are light and washable.

Mary Hicks said...

Debby, I'll be staying at the same home base the whole time I'm there. I'm so glad, I'm not into packing every few days. :-) I'm not into packing period! The plastic bags sounds great.

Myra Johnson said...

I happened on a Jim Caviezel video on Facebook the other day. It sounds like he is a very strong Christian, which was good to know. SANDRA, so far, we really like the Person of Interestseries! Need to watch another episode or two tonight!

Yes, DEBBY, very clever to use the same title for your book! Can't wait to read it!

BTW, we also started watching Blacklist on Netflix streaming. I am really, really intrigued!

(What this has to do with international travel and book research, I'm not really sure, except it's a fun way to check out some possible story hero models!)

Audra Harders said...

Incredible trip, Debby. Viewing the pic of Auschwitz brought goosebumps along my arms. What a horror story, but the evil did not succeed. God is good. Amen to that.

I love garnering travel tips. I tend to pack everything including a spare pair of muc-lucs for those just-in-case moments. LOL! The fee for baggage handling has curbed my enthusiasm for packing nonsense, but while I agree to reduce my packing, it doesn't mean I like it : )

Thanks for sharing the tips and the photos. Wow, Poland. What an adventure!

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks, Myra, for the CDC website. When in doubt, I check about drinking the water. In Europe, the problem is whether to order it water with gas (mineral warter) or still. Big difference. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks, Mary C, for cluing me in. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Prana's...thanks, Sandra!

Debby Giusti said...

Mary H. It's nice to have a home base and travel from there. When our son was stationed in Germany with the army, we visited twice. His house was our way-station. Nice to travel each day and then come back "home."

Debby Giusti said...

Myra, we use everything in our writing. Right? Even TV shows!

Debby Giusti said...

Audra, I now travel with the small creamers like the ones you brought to RWA...or was it ACFW some years ago and shared with me. Having coffee in the room is one of life's little pleasures!

FYI, the hotels where we stayed had hot water pots and instant coffee, sugar and creamer in the rooms! That never used to be in Germany. I'm sure it's the US influence. We saw that a few times in France last year, but it wasn't the norm in Spain or Portugal.

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Loved the post, Debby, with all that helpful advice for traveling overseas. I've picked up info here from you that I'd not thought of before. Thank you. I can't add a thing except if you're touring the country on your own, some of the most economical places to stay are the B&B's.

I noted Barbara's unfortunate ER visit while in London and sorry for her experience. Have traveled to the UK for 30 yrs. and the only time I became ill was on my very first visit with a UTI. I went to the doctor's surgery (office) with a same day appointment. While I waited, a culture was taken and within a short time RX written and filled in the pharmacy on the premises, all at no cost to me. I was so impressed with the MD and his staff's efficiency and pleasantness and never forgot the positive experience. All thanks to the NHS. It does have its pros and cons, but won't go there.

Hubby plans to be in Poland this summer. Someday I hope to get there. It sounds like you had a fantastic time. Looking to read more about your trip there.

Debby Giusti said...

Pat, how wonderful that you've been able to visit the UK so many times! Do you have family there? Or good friends?

We stayed in B&Bs while there. In Holland as well. Always a nice way to feel part of the country and the culture.

Glad your medical experience was better than poor Barbara's!

barb phinney said...

Great advice and wonderful photos! Whenever we travel, we carry a packet of penicillin with us, the kind for intestinal bugs. We see our doctor and she prescribes the best kind for us with the instructions that if we aren't better after a few days of intestinal troubles, to start to take it. We also drink plenty of water (10 glasses a day) starting 48 hours before we fly to help with jet lag. And we never drink alcohol while traveling. At restaurants, it's only bottled water.

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Loved seeing your pics! I've lived overseas twice (once in France during high school and once during grad school in Warsaw :), and I've traveled to Europe seven times... but nothing recently. Recently I've only headed South to Mexico and South America.
But just a few weeks ago, I was telling my husband I really want to take our kids to Quebec. In my memories, it's a beautiful, enchanting city. (Of course, I'd really love to take them to Prague for a month, which if you look on VRBO, it's very cheap to rent an apartment for that long) but it's too far for my little people right now.
Anyway, Canada is on the itinerary!

Mary Curry said...

Hi Debby,

You're such an adventurous traveler. I haven't been outside the states in almost 30 years. Guess I'm a homebody.

Congrats on the great RT review for Person of Interest.

Debby Giusti said...

Barb, good point about drinking lots of water! Long flights require water and walking. Some folks wear compression stockings and feel a bit more energized by wearing them.

Debby Giusti said...

Virginia, you mentioned on FB that you had learned to speak the Polish language. That's a feat, for sure! Was your dad military since you lived in France during high school? I love France. We went there quite often when we lived in Germany. Always fun to travel the back roads and find quaint villages. Be still my heart. Of course, I felt the same way about Germany...and now Poland!

I'm considering a trip to Canada next year as well. See you there! :)

Debby Giusti said...

But you worked for a movie studio, Mary Curry, and traveled cross country all the time. And you live in NYC! Who needs to travel when you have NYC at your doorstep?

I haven't seen the review. The magazine always gets to me last. :)

Walt Mussell said...

I need to renew my passport. Did you have to surrender your old one? I have an expired passport with a valid visa that I may still need for work. Need to get it taken care of.

Used to have a priest that talks often about foreign travel. He was a big believer in coffee houses.

Mary Curry said...

I sent it via email. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Walt, I think I still have my old one.

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks, Mary Cate!

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

I saw and commented on your post yesterday the day after I'd just renewed my passport. Wouldn't want it to lapse, would I? Hubby is British. His family and friends are scattered throughout England and Scotland. We've gone back many times over the past 33 yrs. since getting married. England has become a second home. Have traveled more around in it than in the U.S. This year hubby goes to England and Poland. I stay behind. You made a good point on why B&B's are an excellent choice for accommodations. The most important reason for choosing one. I picked up some great info from yesterday's blog.

Anna Labno said...
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Anna Labno said...
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Sarah Claucherty said...

That sounds beautiful! I need to travel somewhere with flower markets...