A dear friend of mine who's coming on this trip asked me at lunch last week “What will happen if someone gets covid on this trip?”
My answer that I share with all of you: I don’t expect anyone will get covid on this trip.
We encourage those who have home health care tests to leave them behind along with your worries about covid. If anyone gets seriously ill there are plenty of clinics along the way to get medical attention if it's more than a simple cold and needs medical attention. Getting a false positive result from a home kit would be more of a problem than a help and could create serious consequences for the entire group.
None of the governments of the countries we are visiting are requiring testing at this time, or are at all interested in seeing your vaccination record. The USA is no longer requiring a negative test to return home. There are too many false negatives and the disease has become much less serious in nature, so the safeguards have changed to reflect that evolution.
We suggest everyone take the same normal safeguards we always recommend with international travel - be smart and take care of your health as always.
We are looking forward to seeing you soon!
In our original itinerary, we only had one full day in Kotor. But because Olympic Air ceased daily flights between Athens and Montenegro, and only had one flight on a Wednesday, we had to add another day to the tour. No extra charge for you! We're covering the extra hotel night. This is now a great time for a free day -- to explore as you like.
For your free day in Kotor, August 19, here are some suggestions:
1. Rent a speedboat with driver to see other places on the lakes than what you saw yesterday. Prices are negotiable and size of group will matter. (See picture 1.)
2. Return to old Kotor, hike the castle, see the many churches and museums (some are randomly closed for whatever reason) and "palaces" that are interesting but not particularly grand. Enjoy a nice slow day. (See picture 2.)
3. Take a hike! View above Kotor for the hikers. The climb itself should take just over an hour to reach the Castle of San Giovanni. However, when they designed hiking Kotor to its amazing castles and churches they didn't make it easy. In total, the hike has 1355 stairs and over 70 switchbacks! The views from the top are magnificent. (See picture 3.)
4. Get a taxi to drive you around to sites and perhaps the coastal town of Budva. It is a favorite vacation spot for Russians. There's an old town and small private beach meaning you have to pay to enjoy.
5. Guided Coach tours:
A. Nearby Kotor Mountain Tour.
Take a guided tour into the high mountains and next valley nearby to see the ancient royal grounds of Montenegro. Very reasonably priced at about $40 per person for the entire day. Here's the description from Ivana, the excellent guide: (See picture 4.)
"Dear American Friends,
For our Cetinje tour, you'll board our coach at Hotel PortoIn in Kotor. We then head up the mountain and over the ridge to visit King Nikola’s castle, the famous military Austro-hungarian map, Cetinje monastery, Mausoleum of Njegos, Lovcen mountain and National Park. We will break for lunch in Ivanova Korita.
Tickets to castle, map, National park, mausoleum, transfer, bus & guide for whole day.
Lunch is not included.
TOTAL: TOTAL: 38e per person (if 36pax)
45e – (if min 18pax)
Please pay at the coach.
B. North Country Alpine Tour
Here is a beautiful tour.
Visit to Djurdjevica tara brigde – zip line over the deepest canyon in Europe, visit to Black lake, largest glacial lake in Montenegro, lunch at private household with fresh homemade meal. Ticket to panoramic ride on the ski lift with a view on Durmitor. Drive back – same road, we do not make a circle. One way is 3h of driving.
Included: Ticket to NP Durmitor, transfer, ticket to Savin kuk, lunch in local household , guide for the whole day.
(See pictures 5 and 6.)
TOTAL: 50e per person (if 36pax)
65e – (if min 18pax)
If you wish to take the Centije or Zabljak tour, please email us immediately so we can book a bus. Ivana is awaiting. Email us at BucketList1776@gmail.com You will pay Ivana directly.
For other options our host at the Hotel PortoIn will be happy to make arrangements or provide directions.
Mark J. Stoddard
With our departure dates approaching quickly, it's time to get serious about what to pack for our next travel adventure. As I sit down to create my list of "must have's" for this trip to Croatia, I am struck by the wealth of experience represented in the group who are going on this trip and I invite you all to join me in creating an exhaustive list of things that have made your travel easier in the past and what we plan to take along this time. I hope my list will also help to answer some of the questions I've been getting from some of you. So please add your two cents or more to my list and help me make this post a valuable asset to our traveling plans.
The countries we will be visiting along this route including the yacht all require European plugs. They also use 220 Voltage. So we will need both adaptors (plugs) and converters (to change voltage from 220V to 110V). If you don't already have a converter and plan to use appliances other than laptop computers (which have their own converter) you will need to bring one with you. The hotels and yacht we use will all provide hair dryers, so that will not be a problem. Here's a link to a converter I just purchased that includes adaptors for the plug. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074QLCKW6?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details
Since some of us will be traveling for more than three weeks, it's inevitable that laundry will be done. Here are some of our plans:
a. There will be several places where laundry mats are available.
b. Limited loads will be done on the yacht. We suggest bringing mesh laundry bags with your name on them so we can do a couple of group laundry batches. Here's a link to the mesh bags pictured below that can be written on and are good quality: https://a.co/d/bRVvlbW
c. I have purchased a portable travel clothesline to hang my swim suit in our cabin and to wash underwear by hand in the sink. I'll have sheets of earth breeze laundry detergent to share with you if you'd like to use this on the trip.
d. Hotels along the way will have laundry service you can take advantage of.
e. I swear by Tide Sticks - avoid trips to the laundry with this magical stick that erases so many drips and drops along the way.
With the airline nightmares of 2022 there is more reason than ever before to travel lightly. We highly suggest packing as light as possible. One 20" carry-on suitcase per person is essential. Be sure to pack many changes of clothing in this bag just in case your checked bag doesn't show up. In addition to the 20" bag each traveler is allowed a second bag such as a back pack or bag. This bag should contain your meds, travel documents and things you can't afford to lose.
Now the challenge comes with the third bag. If you are able, it would be really great to have each couple share the third bag to be checked and that bag should be no larger than 36" if at all possible. Remember, we are traveling in the heat, with a casual itinerary, so no dressy, formal wear is needed. Our secondary flights from Athens and Zagreb are on smaller planes with less room for luggage, so avoid extra baggage charges and keep things simple.
4. Personal Security
On our last trip to Croatia Mark and I noticed some of the hotel rooms didn't have security chains on the doors. I decided to check on a personal alarm we used to take to Russia with us and found a handy one on Amazon www.amazon.com/Lewis-Clark-Portable-Apartment-Flashlight/dp/B000SKZM0A/ref=asc_df_B000SKZM0A?tag=bingshoppinga-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=80676721523990&hvnetw=o&hvqmt=e&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-4584276298671539&th=1
This little gadget hangs on the doorknob and the clip goes in the space between the door and the door frame so when the door opens a shrill alarm goes off if you haven't removed the clip. This also can be used when walking in public as an alarm if approached by someone who tries to grab a bag or take inappropriate action. Just an additional step of security if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.
5. Mosquito repellant
We've been warned that mosquito repellant is needed on this trip. We haven't experienced a problem with mosquitos, but if this is a possibility I know I will be the first one to be sampled, so I'll be prepared. I've been told baby oil is one easy way to repel the little monsters and it's worth a try along with some natural oils.
Here's a very important element in this summer season and with the time we'll be on the water, it's best to be prepared.
Don't forget hats - several so the sun doesn't get the best of you and don't forget water proof hats.
8. Swim suits
Notice the plural. If you enjoy swimming, the days on the yacht will be more enjoyable if you have several suits so there's time to dry between use.
9. Church clothes
Don't go formal, but do plan to wear simple dress clothes when we attend services or have our own devotional on Sunday. Men will need a shirt and tie for Sunday and women will need a skirt or dress, but keep it simple and travel will be much easier with less.
10. Water shoes/sandals
Many of the beaches are rocky, so plan to wear sturdy sandals or water shoes.
11. Water bottle
Staying hydrated in this hot climate is important and while on the ship I plan to fill my personal bottle with water and perhaps lemon or orange slices. We have asked the bus company to provide water bottles on the bus, and we are hopeful this will be fulfilled. At the very least, we'll be stopping along the route to give everyone a chance to purchase water and soda. On the plane I have found most stewardesses are willing to fill my bottle with cold water and this really helps me stay hydrated.
12. Nasal spray
I use xclear nasal spray or a simple saline solution as preventative care since virus' grow in the nose and travel exposes us to more virus's as well as the dry air of the airline cabin.
13. Basic medicine
Travel exposes us to unknown elements, so small quantities of basic meds for colds, allergies, diarrhea, sore throat, etc. should be included in your carry-on bag. We will be able to visit a pharmacy later if needed.
14. Zip lock plastic bags
A strange but helpful item that somehow always comes in handy and takes no space to speak of. I can't even tell you what I've used these for, but I always take a variety of sizes and find different ways to use them. Of course the most obvious use is to carry any lotions, shampoos, toothpaste, etc. in your carry-on luggage. Here's a link to a site where you can refresh yourself on the TSA rules for liquids (seems they are always changing) https://www.wikihow.com/Pack-Liquid-and-Gels-on-a-Plane
15. Personal Snacks
Mark and I like to have a bag of nuts and protein bars (our choice are Built bars) for those times when we are between stops and need a little nibble. Especially on the plane or in the airport when we don't want to pay airport prices. Some who have diabetes are wise to travel with a small store to keep their blood sugar in check. Of course there will be many opportunities along the route to refill your stores.
16. Sweater or Jacket
Even though we are traveling in the hottest time of the year, it is wise to have a sweater or jacket on the plane for when the air conditioning kicks on and for the cooler evenings or even on a bus ride. One or two pair of long slacks would be wise as well so you can be prepared for changing temps.
17. Cooling tools
Be prepared for the heat. We'll bring a cooling towel for everyone, but you are welcome to bring your own fan, or cooling hat or whatever method you can plan for keeping your cool when the sun shines. Of course the yacht, hotels and vehicles will all be air conditioned, but we will be outside and it's wise to plan ahead.
OK, that's it for now .... please add to this list in the comments. We want to hear from you on what you've found to be helpful in your international travels.
OK, traveling friends, I just got a letter from one of our August guests who will be heading to Croatia with us and I need your help answering his letter. I'll post his letter and my reply and hope you'll jump in with advice based on your travel experience regarding phones in Europe.
12:41 PM Friday, July 7
What are your recommendations for using our cell phones while on the trip? Carol and I both have unlocked I-phones with Verizon as our current carrier. They have an international plan we can add. But, there should be a better way to go. Cellular Abroad looks like a good option. Does a SIM card that works in Italy also work in Croatia? What do you usually do? Thanks,
We recently changed from Verizon to T-Mobile so we could have better coverage. We can text for no extra charge, but calls are still pricey for us at .25 per minute.
Our partner, Boris Leostrin will be purchasing a sim card when he arrives in Croatia, but he said it won't work in Montenegro and therefore, probably not in Italy. We may have to purchase separate sim cards for each country if we want to make calls.
We'll do some more research. In fact, lets start a discussion with our travel group and see what advice everyone has to share with each other. I'll post it on the blog and invite everyone to make comments.
Thanks for asking!
So, I'm asking you, our traveling friends, what do you do for phone service in Europe? Please tell us in the comments below.