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Friday, June 21: Day 60 – Long Term Travel Tips

Today we left Strasbourg behind. Each time we leave a city, I wish that we had one more day to explore.

We took the high-speed trains to Munich. Both Rob and I have been here before back when we were teenagers. Rob backpacked with his childhood friend from Franklin, Mike Murray in the summer of 1973. I was here when I was with a summer study group in college in 1978.

Back then, I was eager to see the Olympic Village. For a project in high school, I had done an in-depth research paper on the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Flashback Story: My parents encouraged me to take a 5-week trip to Europe. I was lacking a social science class and this trip fulfilled that requirement. A friend of mine, Debbie Kester, joined me. We were both from Kansas and had not been exposed to many historical events and art museums. I had only been in one museum and it was the historical society in my hometown where we have the confirmed largest hairball found in a cow stomach on display.

Our group was about 20 in size with students from big cities such as New York and Chicago. Our two instructors were from England. I think that we went in every museum from Rome to London.

One day we were running late so our instructor said to choose our favorite painting and be prepared to talk about it with the group. We were allowed to work together.

Debbie (who came from an even smaller Kansas town and showed horses) and I found a painting. We liked the pretty blues in the sky and told our group whose mouths were agape.

The instructor thanked us for our insight and then proceeded to tell the others the painting next to ours was the most famous painting in the museum and discussed its features. (It wasn’t the Mona Lisa but there was a lot of snickering.) After everyone left, we compared the two and stuck by our remarks.

The group really lost it when I asked why we were going to spend so much time at this loo-ver in Paris. They were shocked that I had never heard of it, let alone that I didn’t know how to say the most famous art museum in the world.

I decided to laugh along with them. “What do I know, the only thing cultured I know is sour cream.”

I returned back to my WONDERFUL hometown at the end of summer with a horrible tan and went to admire the hairball with renewed awe!!!

Here are some travel tips:

Google Fi

If you are considering globetrotting, you may want to get on the Goggle Fi network. At this time, it can only be accessed with LG, Motorola and Pixel phones. We were on Verizon and had Samsung phones. We bought the Pixel 3 phones, sold or traded in the old phones. Rob had a co-worker who traveled internationally and stated that he never had to get a Sim card and he, unlike his fellow travelers with Verizon users, had service. Our decision was cost-based since Verizon charges $10/day/line for international access on top of the normal monthly cost. For Google Fi we pay $135/month total for both of us including international data and texts.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

  • Priority Pass is included. This gives you access to private waiting rooms with comfy couches in airport with delicious full meals…sometimes even showers.
  • $450 annual fee. If you spend $300/year on travel, that money is reimbursed. Also, you are able to get the one time Global Entry application which costs $100 reimbursed.
  • Points are accrued for travel and restaurant purchases. Most all of our expenses on this trip are put on this card. We are already purchasing flights with our points on most airlines.


Track Expenses

“Everybody should have a rough budget in mind for their trip. Tracking expenses allows me to be confident that what we are spending each day is within our financial ability,” said Rob.

We have a Google sheet that we share and can input expenses. Rob posts the minute we have an expense. The Google sheet has daily rows, monthly sheets and year end totals. These have formulas that calculate and update with each entry. Our categories are lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, groceries, tours, entertainment and transportation, laundry, postage, miscellaneous. One additional column is a place for notes.


Prescription Sunglasses – even better, I would consider getting transition lenses since I have to change them out when I go indoors.


A blog is a lot harder to do than it seems with the setup before you leave, hosting, writing, posting mechanics, etc. However, it has been invaluable for documenting our travels. We are already forgetting the first few days of this trip. My objectives were to chronicle our journey and to stay connected with family and friends. Rob and I have a system that works well for us. He researches and decides where and how we will travel, stay, and see. I write about it. He occasionally is an author.

Travel Cards

We meet SO many interesting people. Many of them are interested in reading our blog so we often search for paper to give them our blog site address. We made some “business cards” but Vistaprint would have been better, cheaper, and easier.

Road Rules

  • Always get hotels with air conditioning.
  • Don’t get accommodations near a train station. Questionable guests and noisy.
  • Always use the bathrooms on the train. (“Land” potties might cost money.)
  • Carry coins with toilet paper.
  • Know the visa system for a country before you make arrangements
  • Plug in your phone at every opportunity and often.
  • Take your charger everywhere.
  • Connect to WiFi ASAP when you are given the password.
  • Always bring fully charged battery backups.
  • Go to bed and get rested because God wants to show something tomorrow and you will love it!!!

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