River Cruising

I’m currently cruising the European Rivers from Amsterdam to Budapest so here are some travel hacks.

Weather

As you can see from the above photo it was a bit of a grey day in Amsterdam when we boarded the boat.

But as our Cruise Director, Roland, says “There is no bad weather: just a bad choice of clothes.”

A good jacket, and every cabin has an umbrella, . . . so no worries.

N.B Generally the further you get from the oceans the better the weather.

Schedules

With River/ Canal Cruising its likely that there will be some adjustment to schedules.

On the narrower rivers and canals the amount of traffic can make a difference to the timing, especially when there are lots of locks.

Sometimes either too little, or too much, water mean that traffic is prevented from moving on the river.

The best advice I can give is to chill.

The Captain, and the Cruise Director, however will work with other ships and coach operators to ensure that you get the best chance to have a memorable holiday.

On our cruise a damaged lock mean’t that we had to change ships.

The faster coach transfer, across country, meant we were able to spend additional time at two of the ‘ports’.

Cabin Location

For this cruise we had a cabin on the second of three levels on the port (left) side of the ship.

Next time we will probably pay extra to have a cabin on the higher level as the additional 2-3m of height makes it easier to see over the canal/river banks.

We will also aim to choose a cabin on the starboard (right) side as it gives a bit more privacy when the ship is docked. (except when another cruise ship pulls up alongside)

Time on Ship, or Time on Shore?

If you are on a one way river trip the direction can make a difference.

Going upstream the ship will be going slower so you might find yourself on the boat longer.

Going downstream the ship will be able to go faster so the time ashore may be longer.

Explore Instead of Eating

On a river cruise it’s unlikely you will go hungry with three large meals and snacks; so if you really like exploring it might be worth skipping a meal.

A couple of times a meal was served while we were in port, but we got off the ship and had another couple of hours for sight seeing.

Friends or Acquaintances?

Some people like to make friends with other couples early in the cruise and stick with them, eating meals together.

For us we try and meet as many different people by dining with different people at each meal.

It’s really up to you.

Disclaimer I haven’t been paid, or received any benefit from this post.

Drying Clothes

I only travel with a few pairs of boxer shorts and socks so washing every couple of days in a necessity.

So how do you get things dry?

Here is what I do.

Step 1

After washing and wringing out the items I lay them out on a bath towel.

Generally I aim to cover about half the towel.

Step 2

Fold the remaining half over the clothes.

Then fold the middle over again.

Step 3

Roll the towel tightly from the edge.

Leave for a couple of minutes.

The clothes won’t be absolutely dry, but no more than a bit damp.

Hang them up overnight and they should be dry by the morning.

Checking Out Checklist

Have you ever left anything in a Hotel Room? . . . . I know I have.

Here is a quick checklist to help stop you losing stuff.

  • Wardrobe hanging space
  • Wardrobe shelves
  • Coat hook behind door
  • Under the bed
  • Room safe
  • Desk drawers
  • Bedside tables top
  • Bedside drawers
  • Bathroom shelves
  • Bathroom drying rail
  • Chargers + cables
  • Travel power adapter

If you can think of anything else . . . leave a comment.

Walking Hazards

I’m currently touring around Europe which has reminded me of a couple of the hazards walking around another country.

Bikes

Bicycles are a much more common form of transport in Europe than most places.

Many places have differentiated areas where the bikes have priority such as this paved area in Hamburg . . . so make sure you don’t wander onto it.

The problem is that the cyclists don’t always stick to their area, especially when they are passing another cyclist.

In Amsterdam where the streets are narrow and the footpaths tiny it can make you very nervous.

Cobbles

Not just in streets but on the footpath.

If you have a spinner suitcase cobbles can be a real issue.

Particularly a pavement with bands of cobbles like this.

As well as the extra wear, and the noise, the case is constantly twisting in your hands.

With my normal carry on I will often walk up to a km from the station to my hotel.

If I’m travelling with a spinner case I will be getting a taxi for anything over a couple of hundred metres.

Making Room For Shopping

My friends know I can’t resist buying loud shirts when I am travelling. . . . . but wonder how I find room in my luggage to bring them back.

Well I work on the principle of throwing things away as I travel.

When I notice a pair of socks gets a small hole in them; like this example they go in my travel box.

They can get the last wear the next time I am away and then its in the bin.

The same applies to worn underpants and stained, or slightly torn T shirts.

On a typical holiday i would probably throw away 4-5 old and worn items of clothes, . . . which means there is room in my bags for a couple of shirts.

Silly Travel Hack

I came across this ‘Travel Hack’ the other day.

The idea is that the Binder Clip protects the razors blades when you are travelling.

Well I don’t know about the blades you buy but the blades I buy come clipped in a plastic box.

When You have finished your shave you can just click them back in the box.

Even if you buy disposable razors they come with a plastic guard you can put back on.

Whichever way you go it will be cheaper, and lighter, than this stupid idea.