Today is the last day before departing for Prague. Up until this point, I stressed and planned for this trip to Europe. I am 36-years-old, a single mother and a nurse. I requested time off way in advance, but in the long run, I ended up quitting my job a few weeks ago. Not related to this trip, but it worked out. I am also taking 2 additional classes this quarter. That means I am taking the 12 study abroad credits plus 2 more 5 credit classes. A lot of caffeine has been consumed this summer. So far my grades are not suffering.
So let’s talk about planning for this adventure. I had to plan the typical shopping list. This includes adaptors for plugging my laptop into European outlets. Dresses, shoes, insoles because I will walk a lot, jackets, underwear, and the like. I had to plan which books I will read on the plane and during down time. Do I need my own pillow? Nope. I can sleep anywhere, but some people might want to consider this. I needed an across the shoulder purse to avoid pick pocketing. I ordered one of these. There was a great list of the things the program directors thought we needed. They put it together and I reviewed it for what I thought was necessary.
I was told that things like shampoo and conditioner would be way cheaper in Europe, so I didn’t pack much more than soap, toothbrush, and toothpaste. I want to have control of my luggage, so I condensed it all into a carryon. I know that cleaning is about 18 euros a load, and I could do that once a week. So I packed less.
The next planning was if I wanted to stay longer. I traveled outside the country once when I was 7. I barely crossed the border into Canada with my 2nd grade class. I definitely wanted to explore Europe a bit. So, this was going to be a little different. Many people told me to explore Austria, Poland, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Greece, and so on. Well, I am a single mom with a fixed budget. Ultimately, I decided to spend a few days in Romania to visit with extended family, then I will vacation in Italy for a week after that. I want to see the Colosseum and the Vatican. I checked plane tickets to Bucharest from Prague then checked tickets to Rome. It appears to be slightly more expensive to travel by plane instead of train, but it seemed worth it. I set up hotels in Rome for 3 days and Tuscany for 5 days. In Romania, I will be with family. I am not sure what to expect from here on out. Fingers are crossed that this all works out.
The most important planning of this trip was for where my daughter would stay while I am gone. I do not have the luxury of having a partner for help. I was able to ask her dad to watch her while I was gone. In exchange, they are staying in my home. As a helicopter mother, I planned for 4 back up people to watch her in case of an emergency. My mother, sister, best friend, and another great friend. All people are on back up and their numbers are written on the refrigerator. The fridge is full of groceries. She also has a full membership to defy, a trampoline park, and the gym pool for activities while I am gone. We set up an email account, so that I can talk to her while I am gone, just in case the phone has problems. We are spending these last two days together.
I also needed to plan housing for my dog. Her shots are up to date so I found her a house to stay at with a friend. I also had backup places at dog hotels. These can be spendy. $15/day up to $50/day. I’m really crossing my fingers hoping she does well at the friend’s home. I dropped her off yesterday and cried all the way home.
I also need to enjoy myself while I am there. In class, we planned for many adventures with the group but also things we could do individually. We looked at museums and farmers markets. I wanted to find some bookstores and maybe get some old written folklore. In Italy, I checked prices for wineries and visiting the places I want to go. There are quite a few museums all over Prague that are super affordable. The bridges and boat rides are everywhere on the river. If all else fails, I have my books and know about cafés and places to sit by the water.
The other fine tuning needed was calling the credit union so that all my cards stay active. No one stole my identity but me. Really, I did change my identity for this. I am a whole new person, going to the other side of the world, in my fancy dresses, and college education! I also reached out to my phone company and set up international calling for $50/month.
I feel like I have planned so much. Thank goodness I already had my passport and vaccine documents. I am also sending those documents to 3 different friends in case something happens to my documents while I am abroad.
I think I am ready. I’ve tried listening to what everyone has to say. I have reviewed many different google lists, on what to bring and how to plan. I have looked up fun activities. My homework is up to date. Now to spend this last day here with my kiddo.