Mr. Dennis Newman took part in our Polish Delight Tour in 2017 together with his wife, Kathy. He's written down all his tips, hints and practical information for travelers to Poland (which can be applied to any kind of overseas travel) and agreed to share them with you on our blog. We hope that you find them useful when preparing to your Polish Delight or Ultimate Poland tour.
(Have you participated in the tour of Poland organized by RealPoland? We would be more than happy to have your review of our Trip Advsior profile)
1. If you’ll be using your smartphone to take photos, transfer any existing photos on your smartphone to your computer and/or external harddrive(s). I ended up taking thousands of photos while in Poland—so I was glad I’d cleared my iPhone’s memory ahead of time. One advantage of lots of photos: to help you recall what you did on different days. Otherwise, unless you keep a running diary, it’s easy to forget; those 16 days can become a blur!
2. Double-check the RealPoland “final copy” of your Itinerary. On its pages, write in red those evenings where you’ll be expected to find your own restaurant for supper.
3. Pay all your bills for the coming month.
4. Put a temporary hold on
a. your mail (stop at your post office & fill out a “temporary-stop” card);
b. your newspaper (for the Chicago Tribune, dial 800/874-2863, and enter the stop/restart dates yourself).
5. If your outside lawn / landscaping maintenance depends on you: Line up someone to mow your lawn & water your flowers—especially those in pots. In our case: we hired a pro to come in one time and mow our lawn. We took our outdoor potted plants to a friend’s house (she used them to brighten up her landscaping). Our indoor plants, our kids took care of. A neighbor lad took care of watering our in-ground flowers.
6. Mail any cards u wish to send to people whose birthdays/anniversaries will occur while you’re traveling.
7. Make 3 color photocopies of your passports — the page that shows your photo & relevant personal info (passport #, etc.). Keep one copy at home—in a file a trusted loved-one is aware of; take the other copies with you, in 2 separate spots (e.g., your checked luggage; and your 3-ring binder. See below).
8. Make a color copy or two of: your driver’s license and your credit/debit cards. Just in case…! Put these also in your 3-ring binder and/or checked luggage.
9. Talk to your Tour Operator (e.g., Magda at RealPoland) and get her input regarding tipping. Put a copy in your 3-ring binder.
10. Prepare a 3-ring binder—one with an outside clear cover, allowing you to insert a cover info-sheet. And you’ll need a 3-hole punch. In the binder, place: your RealPoland “Final” Itinerary; the list (with phone #s) of your hotels; a sheet with cellphone #s of RealPoland’s headquarters, plus the cellphone of your main tour guide; a copy of your travel insurance (ours, from TravelGuard, cost $571); a copy of your passports, credit-cards, driver’s license; a guide to how to use your cellphone while overseas. Then type up an 8 ½ x 11” cover sheet, listing your contact-info, plus your hotels (addresses/phone #s), and the dates when you’ll be staying at them. Slip this cover-sheet into the front of your binder.
11. Prepare an over-the-shoulder carry-on bag/attaché case. Inside I put pens, note-pads, magazines (especially while in flight), and—most importantly—a separate small zipper-case for our passports & boarding passes. Also: bring a tooth-brush & one change of socks/underwear—just in case the airline loses your luggage for a day or two (which happened to us a year ago!). Also: Kleenex. And gum—if you like to chew as you take-off/land (‘helps relieve air-pressure build-up in the ears). Also, the 3-ring binder.
12. Packing: RealPoland suggests not doing any laundry during the tour. Hence, I packed: 17 pairs of underwear/socks; 3 pairs of casual slacks; 4-5 shirts; 2 sweaters; 1 medium-weight jacket; 1 light-weight jacket; 1 water-proof poncho; umbrella(s); shoes: 2 pairs: one for walking, one to wear on the plane (casual dress); don’t forget the powercord & foreign electric-outlet adapters. Maybe wear a sport-coat on the plane (=more pockets!). But we really had no need of any fancy attire. Just business-casual.
13. Lighting-timers: you may wish to set a home lamp-timer or two a few days before you leave, both to make sure they’re working, as well as to have a lighting-cycle going while you’re still home.
14. Email a copy of your Itinerary to any loved ones. With phone #s of the hotels. And of RealPoland and of your tour-guide’s cellphone.
15. From Google Maps: Download a map for each section of Poland which you’ll be visiting. NOTE: Google Maps allows you to download up to 4 maps OFFline— so you can use them as you wander around the various cities, without having to turn on your phone’s “Cellular Data” (using data overseas can be pricey!). NOTE: Also, your hotel should have city maps.
16. On the day before you leave, check in 36 hours ahead of your flight’s scheduled departure (at least, for LOT Airlines). Put the Boarding Passes in your special zipper-pouch in your attaché-case.
© 2017, by Dennis J. Newman, Minooka, Illinois 60447- U.S.A.
Used with permission.