My family has been hoping and planning to go to Europe for several years, but something has always gotten in the way. Not this year! We are finally doing this: Germany and Austria, here we come! The library has been so instrumental in planning for this trip. Sure, there are travel guides, which have been helpful, but there are so many other resources beyond that.
We have watched travel DVDs to get a feel for what we want to see when we get there and to get a feel for the culture and language. When we first began planning this trip, my daughter was worried that it would be nothing but World War II and beer. The DVDs helped ease her fears — there will also be music, food and beautiful scenery. Our favorite DVDs were “The Best of Europe: Fairy Tale Europe, Germany and Austria” and “Visions of Germany and Austria.” We can’t wait to see Neuschwanstein Castle, which was the model for Walt Disney’s castle!
We are also trying to get a bit of German language under our belts before we go. My son has taken five years of German between high school and college, but the rest of us are trying to catch up using Transparent Language. All you need is a library card number, and you are on your way to being bilingual. The program is easy to use and sends emails with prompts to review “stale words and phrases.” I doubt we will pass as native speakers, but maybe we can communicate with a small amount of confidence.
Now that our departure date is getting closer, it’s time to learn to pack. Airline restrictions seem to get more complicated all the time, and I have to admit that I tend to over-pack. Luckily, “How to Pack: Smart Travel for Any Trip” has the answers. Take it or leave it? Fold it or roll it?
And now to plan for the 18-hour flight itself: I have downloaded a travel playlist from Freegal onto my iPod. This takes a little planning because you only get five free downloads a week, but we will now have theme music for our trip that we can keep — Fly Me to the Moon! We can also download some movies from Hoopla in case we’re not interested in the in-flight movies. And, then, we need to download a couple of audiobooks from Overdrive — perhaps “The Geography of Genius“?
Of course, we have to take a couple of plain old books, just in case technology fails us. It’s not easy finding books about Germany that aren’t centered on World War II, so maybe this is a good time to read some Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Maybe I’ll even take the time to learn how to scrapbook our vacation once we get back. Maybe.
Even if your vacation is a stay-cation this summer, you can always dream and plan. Let the library help take you there.