thanks for the detailed email!! it's great to be able to talk about travelling Europe! it's so exciting! no we have never travelled Europe! so it will be our first time! we have travelled pretty much all of Asia including india! and last year we have travelled most of USA/Hawaii for one month. this year we did thailand, and the whitsundays, and christmas we are doing tasmania. my sister lives in Scotland so we are hoping to meet up with her in London or Edinburgh. apart from that, we just want to do all of Europe or as much as we can coz we don't know when we would be able to go again, it's just too far away (or should i say Melbourne is too far from the rest of the world!!) and a bit expensive! we don't have any dates yet but we are in the process of applying for leaves at work, and once the 2015 dates are out, we will look at that and decide which tour dates link the 2 tours nicely. according to this year's dates, i think there are about 2 days gap between the European pioneer and the Britain and Ireland tour. we are applying for about 8 weeks of leave as well, but not on a particular date because it all depends on when my husband's work think its best for him to take the leave. we are of coz hoping to be early June, or even end of May because i know flights are cheaper then, and not as busy in Europe!
as for the internet, i am happy to use the free wifi too, but i have heard that the free wifi doesn't have very good connection, very slow and jammed (guess more and more ppl are using the internet). hence we are looking into getting some portable wifi. we don't need to make calls at all, just internet to whatsapp families and friends. from the link i sent you, i looked at the 2 options:
1) EE Euro roaming data add-on* - Â£1/day for 20MB/day,
2) O2 Travel* - Â£1.99/day for 50MB/day.
it doesn't seem too expensive, and it will work in almost all of the countries on the 2 tours, except for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia. this sim would be purchased in London before the tours (a UK company), it's not related to any Australia telco companies. i think 20-50MB of data per day is good enough. but i will keep looking and reading in the next 9 months and see if there are any other better or cheaper options out there.
it's funny that you have mentioned a number of times to bring a waterproof spray jacket on the trip. i have always talked about how good a gore tex jacket is which is so light and thin but it's completely waterproof and windproof!! i love it! we will definitely be bringing it!
with the 28 degrees mastercard, they have changed the rules recently and they no longer allow you to load it up with your own money and take cash out at ATMs (fees will be charged), so this credit card is only good to use as a credit card overseas, with no conversion fees and no transaction fees. so it's great to use it to make big purchases overseas, and pay it off when you get home from holidays.
for the above reason, you can't use the 28 degrees mastercard as a debit card, that's when the citibank plus debit card comes in handy. it allows you to load it up with your own money and use it overseas as a normal ATM card, it doesn't charge any fees to load up money, and it doesn't charge any transaction fee or ATM fee (unless it's charged by the bank of the ATM being used, but it will be stated on the ATM if this is the case), and the conversion rate is very competitive and it's calculated on the date of the transaction. and if there is money left over after the holiday, just netbank it back to your normal bank account for free!
is there a fee to apply for a Multi-currency cash passport? and any cost to load money onto it each time? and if there are money left over at the end of the holiday, is there a fee to retrieve the money back?
we are definitely not planning on spending too much money on shopping, we want to bring the least amount of luggage as possible. we are even hoping to bring everything in one suitcase! haha - being hopeful!
have you travelled to dubai before? any thoughts on staying there for a day or two? LOL