Notify Message
Forums
Poll Question

When?

You do not have permission to vote
Page 1
Search
#13283277 Jun 05, 2017 at 04:24 AM
1445 Posts
Just what it says. I'll be travelling this week off and on, so I won't be as available for daily activities, but still somewhat available during the evenings.


Agostina--Assault Commando
Mowery--Not a Vedista
Vedista--Pot5aisthesis4lyfe
+0
#13283653 Jun 05, 2017 at 08:53 AM · Edited 3 months ago
173 Posts
As a note, I voted for Sunday afternoon but would be very much able to do Saturday evening as well.
+0
#13283833 Jun 05, 2017 at 10:37 AM
397 Posts
I might be around some later Thursday night, if I can get my packing done.

I'm so nervous, the last time I left the country was in high school, and that was just to Canada.
+0
#13284143 Jun 05, 2017 at 01:21 PM
649 Posts
#13283833 Kym wrote:

I might be around some later Thursday night, if I can get my packing done.

I'm so nervous, the last time I left the country was in high school, and that was just to Canada.



You'll do just fine! It'll be fun and you'll have a blast. :-)

If you've never done intercontinental travel before, here's a grab-bag of my personal tips that may or may not work for you. Included is a ton of information that you probably already know and you may or may not care about, but I'm including it anyway just in case. :-)

Flight and Jet Lag

  • Jet lag sucks. But it mostly sucks because your digestive system is the last thing to adjust to a timezone. You can force your whole body to adjust by eating on the local schedule, even if you aren't hungry.
  • The first morning (when you land in Europe) is the hardest, since your body think it's about 1am, but it's actually 8 or 9am local time. Pack a lightweight, non-perishable snack that is high in protein, low in sugar (though not absent), easy to digest and ideally has some spice and/or salt to it. I use a particular brand of meat stick, but I used to use fitness protein bars (they weren't spicy, which was why I switched). The spice and the salt kickstart your salivary glands, which are dormant because your body thinks you need to be sleeping and not eating. The protein and light sugars are very easy to digest and get your stomach and small intestine working without all of the chemical prerequisites (which you won't have, because your body thinks it is 1am).
  • Another thing that I find helps jet lag a lot: lie to yourself. Your brain controls your physiology to a degree that most people don't appreciate, and your conscious mind can manipulate that. When I board intercontinental flight, I look at my watch and figure out what time it is at my destination. Then, I turn off my watch and my phone and insist to myself that it is that time. From that point forward until I land, I just keep up the lie. It helps a lot, at least for me.
  • A good neck pillow works wonders. If you don't have one, it's worth the store run to get it. I have a memory foam thingy that I like a lot, but honestly you want whatever fits your body the best. The huge benefit here is that you can use the pillow given to you by the airline as a lumbar support, which actually takes pressure off of your knees.
  • Speaking of knees, another way to take pressure off of them is to remove your shoes. Wear warm socks. Feet flat on the ground (or on a pillow, if you have a spare you can steal from an empty seat) relax the muscles in the thigh and calf, preventing you from cramping up as fast.
  • Use the blanket they give you. Use a second blanket if you can get one. Use a third blanket if you can stand packing it. Cabins are cold, and your body generally wants to be warm in order to sleep. Sleeping is key.
  • If and when you're conscious, try to exercise your muscles a bit while sitting. Tense and relax your muscles individually, especially in your legs and feet. British Air has a great video (which they show on flights) where they literally train passengers how to do these exercises, and my travel experience has been infinitely better since watching it.
  • Walking around is never a bad idea. I try to go to the bathroom when there is a line, just so I can stand. Stretch like a runner while standing in line.

Europe

Everything is compact in the core, and surprisingly sprawly in the outskirts. It feels basically the way the stereotypes say it should feel, which is weird but makes sense. Like, it's Europe, and everything is so European it's almost a cliche. Two things gave me mild culture shock on my first few trips:

  • You can't read most of the signs (since they're in another language, and perhaps even a different alphabet). And not just street signs or other stuff you expect. You literally can't read the signs that tell you where the grocery store is, or what sort of pub is over there (aside from the ubiquitous 'Heineken')
  • The urban layout is very jumbled and crammed together. You have medieval buildings containing an H&M on the first floor with residential flats on the second and third floors, right next to an industrial era power substation, right next to a random elevated road that got jammed in there, right next to a first-milenium church. It's bizarre. American cities are far more compartmentalized (think: how you win at Sim City), whereas European cities are the palpable consequence of organically growing over 2 millenia and dozens of major wars.

Once you get over the subconscious surprise (and thus, mild discomfort) of those things, it's awesome.

Food

Yelp sort of works, but it's less reliable than Foursquare in most of the world not named "America". Foursquare is somehow more reliable in Europe than it is in the US… not sure why that is.

Most restaurants are "seat yourselves". Certainly that is the assumption if you see tables in an open area and there is no prominent "wait to be seated" sign. Even if you make a mistake and seat yourself in a place where you shouldn't have, they will basically always understand.

Tips are optional. Restaurant staff are actually paid real wages (though, IMO nobody pays their restaurant staff what they're worth). I generally tip around 8-10% if I liked the service, or if they let me get away with something (e.g. allowing me to sit there with my laptop for hours on end), but it's by no means expected. Tipping 20% would be the moral equivalent of a 40-50% tip in the US.

Speaking of staff, they generally won't come over to you (e.g. to bring the check or even to take your order) unless you flag them down. Normally, eye-contact is all that is needed, but a hand wave is not uncouth. They're basically just going to leave you alone so you can talk and eat in peace.

Speaking of the check… Basically every European restaurant is going to have a wireless credit card machine that they bring to the table. So you flag them down and ask for the bill, and they'll usually bring the machine with them when they bring it out. If they don't, they'll apologize and run to grab it the moment they see your credit card.

Randomly… European cafes are awesome, and very much the progenitor of modern American cafe culture, but unlike American cafes they don't have ubiquitous wifi or a culture of people chilling on their laptops. This is less true in Eastern Europe (one of the many reasons why Eastern Europe is awesome), but still very noticeably different from the US. Not that working on your laptop is considered improper, there's just less infrastructure to support it and you'll probably be the only person doing it.

When in doubt, walk into an Italian restaurant. They're almost all better than the equivalent restaurants in the US, and will have an appropriately robust menu. They're also everywhere.

Money

This varies from country to country. Credit cards are pretty ubiquitous in northern europe, and they're relatively ubiquitous in eastern europe, though with some caveats that are country-specific (e.g. Germany has very high merchant fees, so you can't use plastic on anything less than €25). Most good credit cards have very low (or no!) international fees, so that's the way to go if the merchant allows it. If you can't use plastic, ATMs are quite plentiful and the same rules apply (the fees will be analogous to withdrawing money in the US from a non-partner bank ATM). I definitely do not recommend carrying large amounts of pre-converted cash.

Basically, it's like being on the East Coast in the US. Should feel pretty familiar.

Remember that Europe went to the EMV system almost a decade before the US, so every terminal is chip-and-PIN. Signatures are very unusual. If your US credit card doesn't have an associated PIN, you'll end up spending a lot of time saying "no PIN" and trying to figure out what the associated button is on the terminal. One nice feature here is that chip-based cards have issuer language as a piece of metadata, and most POS terminals will automatically localize to whatever the language is, so you won't have to learn to read a different language to complete your transaction (most of the time).

Language

English is (almost) everywhere. Even people who aren't comfortable speaking English are very comfortable understanding it. You get to be the entitled American here. Though, having some comfort with French and Italian roots is going to help a lot in restaurants.

Internet

The double arches of McDonalds is the international symbol for "free wifi". Every location in every country has wifi, and it's usually relatively fast, and they never, ever mind you wandering in off the street and using it. They also often have power outlets.

But a subtext on that is you should have working phones. Enabling the overseas data plans is somewhat expensive (though cheaper than it used to be), but 100% worth every penny. I will never, ever again travel without my phone's data plan working. Google Maps alone makes everything so much more relaxing, since you can wander twisty medieval streets with care-free abandon when you know that your phone can always steer you right.

European phone networks are actually worse than the US by a pretty wide margin, which is funny because 10 years ago it was the exact opposite. LTE is quite rare (though getting more common), and where it exists it is much slower than in the US. 3G is ubiquitous though (even in remote regions), and more than solid enough to do what you need.

Emergency Supplies

Cab drivers and hotel staff of all sorts are a great source of local "not googleable" information. Like, "where can I buy insert random item that you forgot to pack" sorts of things. They get questions like that all the time, so it's not weird at all. Item groupings (i.e. which types of stores have what items) are different than in the US, but not too different. There are pharmacies, large grocery stores, local grocers, etc. Bakeries are especially great (European bread and cheese utterly wrecks the equivalents in the US and stomps on the whimpering ashes).

Unless you're in a SUPER touristy area, all of these "need this thing to live" sorts of shops will be all around you and very walkable. Europeans take their neighborhood amenities pretty seriously, and so the only areas that are actively inconvenient are those in which no one lives (i.e. SUPER touristy).

tldr

You'll be fine! Despite being snobby about Western Europe, I think all of it (*ahem* especially Eastern Europe) is awesome and uniquely cool. Have lots of fun. :-)
I can only be damaged to 90%
+0
#13284317 Jun 05, 2017 at 02:56 PM
518 Posts
I've never had trouble with Jet Lag (I know I'm odd.) And I don't have trouble sleeping on a plane even sans fancy pillow (again, odd, I know) so I'd suggest following Tam's advice on those for more normal things. A couple points to add/stress though:

Tam: If and when you're conscious, try to exercise your muscles a bit while sitting. Tense and relax your muscles individually, especially in your legs and feet. British Air has a great video (which they show on flights) where they literally train passengers how to do these exercises, and my travel experience has been infinitely better since watching it. Walking around is never a bad idea. I try to go to the bathroom when there is a line, just so I can stand. Stretch like a runner while standing in line.

Ander: OH MY GOD YES. You don't notice it on shorter in the US flights (Yes, cross-country nonstop is pushing it, but is still "short" in my book.) Blood flow is HUGE. Ankle rotations are my best friends when traveling. Also, depending on leg room allowance, seated calf raises. I'll echo Tam on try to get up every now and then. I sometimes will even get up and stand in the restroom line even if I don't have to use the restroom just to get up.

Also. Water. Hydrate. When the stewardess comes by (which they should about once or twice every hour for intercontinental flights) get a glass of water. Don't just get sodas like some people I know who then have a horrible time. Water. Sodas and other drinks will dehydrate you as will the dry conditioned air.

Depending on the itinerary I will often try to start adjusting my body ie. sleep and eat cycles a day or two in advance of travel. But, again, I've never had too much trouble with Jet lag sooooo, take that with a grain of salt.

Tam: You can't read most of the signs (since they're in another language, and perhaps even a different alphabet). And not just street signs or other stuff you expect. You literally can't read the signs that tell you where the grocery store is, or what sort of pub is over there (aside from the ubiquitous 'Heineken')

Ander: Famous words of the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy apply here. DON'T PANIC!. (pardon my use of Large Friendly Pink Letters as appropriate.) A surprising number of people will at least understand a smattering of English. Particularly front desk workers, waiter/waitresses, and other service industry employees. (At least as long as you don't go too far into hole in the wall places). And, even then. I lived in Budapest for at least a week knowing literally no Hungarian and using hand gestures to order food. When push comes to shove, hand gestures like pointing and motioning to drink and holding up some number of fingers are fairly universal.

Tam: Tips are optional. Restaurant staff are actually paid real wages (though, IMO nobody pays their restaurant staff what they're worth). I generally tip around 8-10% if I liked the service, or if they let me get away with something (e.g. allowing me to sit there with my laptop for hours on end), but it's by no means expected. Tipping 20% would be the moral equivalent of a 40-50% tip in the US.

Ander: I would actually read up on this depending on where exactly you are going. (Google will know). In some countries, gratuity will already be calculated into your tab. And, it sounds like you are going to Europe, so may not be super applicable, but in some places (Japan, when I was there, comes to mind) Tipping is actually insulting to both the wait staff and the management. So, probably safe with Tam's points for most of Europe, but I'd still double check on exact places just to be safe.



tldr

You'll be fine! When in doubt remember to not panic, and have fun. Even in Europe, people are reasonable human beings, not scary monsters. (I know, crazy right?) Hope you have a grand time!







My Cerebrum Is Endowed Like An Equine.
<(' '<) (^' '^) (>' ')>
it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King!
+0
#13284485 Jun 05, 2017 at 04:35 PM
649 Posts
#13284317 Ander wrote:

Sodas and other drinks will dehydrate you as will the dry conditioned air.



Interesting addendum to that…  It's actually not the dryness which is dehydrating you: it's the pressure (or rather, lack thereof). In terms of relative humidity, the air in the cabin is actually pretty close to what you would be accustomed to when you lived in California (a bit less humid than in the Bay, and a bit more humid than in SoCal, but close enough either way). However, the low pressure (right around 7000-8000 feet of equivalent atmosphere) messes you up unless you're accustomed to it. The absolute humidity is vastly lower for the same relative value, and the lack of oxygen forces your respiration and heart rate to rise, drying out your lungs.

Either way though, it comes to the same thing for most people.
I can only be damaged to 90%
+0
#13284582 Jun 05, 2017 at 05:26 PM
518 Posts
#13284485 Tam wrote:

#13284317 Ander wrote:

Sodas and other drinks will dehydrate you as will the dry conditioned air.



Interesting addendum to that…  It's actually not the dryness which is dehydrating you: it's the pressure (or rather, lack thereof). In terms of relative humidity, the air in the cabin is actually pretty close to what you would be accustomed to when you lived in California (a bit less humid than in the Bay, and a bit more humid than in SoCal, but close enough either way). However, the low pressure (right around 7000-8000 feet of equivalent atmosphere) messes you up unless you're accustomed to it. The absolute humidity is vastly lower for the same relative value, and the lack of oxygen forces your respiration and heart rate to rise, drying out your lungs.

Either way though, it comes to the same thing for most people.


That's fair. :P Thanks for the new info. :D I hadn't even thought of the change in pressure. lol. (Tho, I should have)

My Cerebrum Is Endowed Like An Equine.
<(' '<) (^' '^) (>' ')>
it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King!
+0
#13284603 Jun 05, 2017 at 05:39 PM
397 Posts
Thanks for the tips!

So glad I paid extra for aisle seats...

Back to AJ's thread though, WvW changes hype!

Yesterday we changed out my runes per suggestions to the um, Hyperchloric...no that's not right, something with an H instead of Mercy. I still have some gearing options available too to make me more DPS-adjacent. Toughness is "down" to 2110.
+0
#13284614 Jun 05, 2017 at 05:53 PM
173 Posts
#13284603 Kym wrote:

Thanks for the tips!

So glad I paid extra for aisle seats...

Back to AJ's thread though, WvW changes hype!

Yesterday we changed out my runes per suggestions to the um, Hyperchloric...no that's not right, something with an H instead of Mercy. I still have some gearing options available too to make me more DPS-adjacent. Toughness is "down" to 2110.



Hoelbrak
+0
#13284656 Jun 05, 2017 at 06:30 PM · Edited 3 months ago
518 Posts
I've also changed up my Engi build rather substantially. Less boonshare. Less solo survival. Moar DPS. Moar Lock Down. Some more Defensive group friendly things. (I'm running both Purge and Bulwark Gyro currently. Along with the Mortar Kit for the blind field. Should help out the frontline while not over stacking on where we get our boons from.) Should still be able to stand in the front line as long as I have Kym/Tam/AJ Next to me. :P

EDIT: Oh, also. Tam/AJ. I noticed that I can farm bloodlust off the creatures around the spawn. So, that's a plus for using the bloodlust ones. But I loose all stacks as soon as I go into the water. So, that's a rather sizable negative for them. Does any of that change your calculations on Bloodlust vs. Force in my hammer?

My Cerebrum Is Endowed Like An Equine.
<(' '<) (^' '^) (>' ')>
it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King!
+0
#13285415 Jun 06, 2017 at 07:01 AM · Edited 2 months ago
173 Posts
I'm not 100% familiar with wvw scrapper but if you weapon/kit swap a lot you might want to consider renewal, leeching or even intelligence; force sigil is really only good if you are landing consistent damage where as a fire, blood or air sigil is good as a burst sigil since they will only proc when you land a critical hit. Bloodlust is not a very good sigil unless you can maintain which means you will need to get a second one and slot it in your underwater weaponry if you ever need to swim.



On that note, I plan to be swapping my build a bit to run Earth 121, Water 111, Arcane 121 with Marauder's armor, Durability Runes, Zerk/Valk trinkets (because that's what I have; maybe I'll swap to Marauder's slowly) and Zerk or Marauder's weapons with a Sigil of Energy and either renewal or leeching running d/d. With this, I will be providing: self condi cleanse, stomp potential with Mist Form, group protection and stability as I attune to Earth every 8ish seconds, Regen+Soothing Mist every 8 ish seconds, some additional might every 8ish seconds, AoE knockdown every 30ish seconds. Burst heal every 9ish seconds with dodging into Water attunement+Evasive Arcana+Renewal sigil

My current Sc/Wh Air 322, Arcane 121, Tempest 131 load out only really works for true 1v1's and is very weak to condi's.
+0
#13286084 Jun 06, 2017 at 02:33 PM
518 Posts
#13285415 Evochron wrote:

Bloodlust is not a very good sigil unless you can maintain which means you will need to get a second one and slot it in your underwater weaponry if you ever need to swim.



Will that keep the stacks from falling off? If so, that's all I need to do. I can get up stacks with random animals as we group up at the spawns fairly easily. I just need them not to be falling off.

My Cerebrum Is Endowed Like An Equine.
<(' '<) (^' '^) (>' ')>
it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King!
+0
#13286095 Jun 06, 2017 at 02:42 PM
173 Posts
#13286084 Ander wrote:

#13285415 Evochron wrote:

Bloodlust is not a very good sigil unless you can maintain which means you will need to get a second one and slot it in your underwater weaponry if you ever need to swim.



Will that keep the stacks from falling off? If so, that's all I need to do. I can get up stacks with random animals as we group up at the spawns fairly easily. I just need them not to be falling off.


I'm fairly certain they won't fall off however we don't really want to be waiting every time you go down to kill 25 random animals. You lose stacks on down not death.
+0
#13288471 Jun 07, 2017 at 11:58 PM
649 Posts
Results inconclusive. We're going to WvW Saturday night at 10 pm EST.
I can only be damaged to 90%
+0
#13288851 Jun 08, 2017 at 07:34 AM
173 Posts
+0
Page 1