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Eurofurence 26 — "Welcome to Tortuga"
Estrel Congress Center Berlin
August 24 - 28, 2022
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Author Topic: Hello!  (Read 4309 times)

Sike_Redwolf

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Hello!
« on: 03.10.2014, 01:32:37 »

Hi there!

I tend to go by Sike, but some call me Banana, referring to the two main Fursonas (and suits) that I have. I am from North Dakota in the USA, about an hour from the Canadian/US border. I am a college student, aiming to get my Criminal Justice degree, and a minor in Sociology. (though I have my Law Enforcement degree, and an emphasis in gender studies). I plan on going into conservation law enforcement.

Anyway, I've gone to a good number of anime/fur cons, but they've all been in the US. Anyone with some tips/help for a person to going to their first out country con would be great.

Thanks for reading, and I can't wait for the next EF!
« Last Edit: 14.10.2014, 23:44:13 by Sike_Redwolf »
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I own 2 fursonas, Sike and Banana. If you want to get to know me, just ask! It will be my first time going to EF in 2015!

VulpesRex

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Re: Hello!
« Reply #1 on: 19.10.2014, 22:19:02 »

Hi there!

Greetings!

Quote
I tend to go by Sike, but some call me Banana, referring to the two main Fursonas (and suits) that I have. I am from North Dakota in the USA, about an hour from the Canadian/US border. I am a college student, aiming to get my Criminal Justice degree, and a minor in Sociology. (though I have my Law Enforcement degree, and an emphasis in gender studies). I plan on going into conservation law enforcement.

Anyway, I've gone to a good number of anime/fur cons, but they've all been in the US. Anyone with some tips/help for a person to going to their first out country con would be great.

Thanks for reading, and I can't wait for the next EF!

   OhMyGosh, where to start?...

    1)  First - PASSPORT.  If you don't currently have one - or if it will expire before the end of 2015 - start the process to get a new one NOW.  The lag time for processing can vary from a couple of weeks to several months, depending on nation-wide demand, so you need to get the ball rolling on this.  Without a passport, you can't enter Europe, and - perhaps more importantly - you can't come back to the USA.  Go to http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/apply.html to start.

    2)  PLAN YOUR TRAVEL DATES AND ITINERARY.  It takes me a full day and a night of travel to get from California to Germany; the transatlantic portion is only about 9 hours, depending on which destinations you use (Berlin, Frankfurt, or Munich in my case) and any intermediate stops (such as London Heathrow or Amsterdam).  Plan to arrive on Tuesday, the day before the convention starts, to give yourself time to adjust to the (in my case) 9 hours time difference.  For me, that would mean departing Monday morning, arriving in Germany late-morning on Tuesday, and whatever in-country travel is necessary to get to Berlin (if you fly into Berlin, this will be perhaps an hour; from Frankfurt, its perhaps 4 hours by train, and from Munich, about 6; you have the option of connecting flights, shaving time from that).

   Often, the most expensive part of a trip overseas in the cost of flying in and out; if you have never been to Germany before and wish to see some of the country (or just the sights of Berlin, or other parts of Europe, for that matter) consider taking extra vacation days for this purpose.  This year, I left California on Saturday, arriving in Munich at 10 O'Clock Sunday morning - time to see a bit of Munich, overnight in Nuremburg, spend a day there, and then travelling on to Berlin on Tuesday.  (NOTE:  In many places, the museums are closed on Mondays...which I discovered in Nuremburg, a town with plenty of museums worth visiting, but most of which were closed on my free day there).

   3)  GET A BIKER'S OR TRUCKER'S WALLET - OK, not necessarily one of these, but you DO want a wallet with a securable pouch or pocket inside, for carrying coins.  The monetary unit in Germany (part of the EUROZONE) is the Euro.  Fractions of the Euro are Centimes (Cents), 100 to the Euro.  The denominations are figured as 1:2:5, which means 1 euro, 2 euros, 5 euros...then 10 euros, 20 euros, 50 Euros, and up to the 500 Euro bill.  It works the same in the other direction, from 1 Euro down: 50 cents, 20 cents, 10 cents; 5 cents, 2 cents, 1 cent.

   The thing is this:  The smallest paper money is the 5 Euro bill; everything below that is a coin, giving 8 different coins, in different sizes and metals.  The 2 Euro and 1 Euro coins are bi-metal, like the canadian "loonie" and "toonie" (for the europeans reading this, the emblem on the 1$ CAN is a picture of a Loon, a type of waterfowl; call it a "Loonie" for short, and it follows that the 2$CAN coin becomes a "Toonie", from "Two" (2)).  The end result is that people carry a lot of coins with them, and pay for most small purchases - under 5 Euro in price - with coins (unlike us americans who don't like messing with pockets full of change, and who tend to pay with bills and accept change, rather than try to figure the amount to pay as closely as possible as is the european custom).

   Most of our wallets don't have attached change purses/pouches...except for the big leather Truckers' wallets, which hold unfolded bills, receipts, and coins in zippered or snap-folded pockets.  I couldn't find one locally, but found a sippered business card wallet with 9 fan-folded compartments for various business cards, which worked well enough - an open copmartment for each type of coin, plus folded bills and a credit card.  (later I bought a red vinyl wallet at the Estrel Gift Shop, as a souvenir of Berlin; it has an internal snap pocket for coins).

   4)  WEAR THICK-SOLED SHOES OR BOOTS. - I wore soft, thin rubber-soled athletic shoes with velcro straps this year, because of the ease of taking off at the airports, and for general light comfort.  But most german cities have streets paved with hard, sharp, uneven cobblestones, and after 3 days of travel I had blisters, and after 5 days, the soles were developing holes which let in moisture from wet pavement (it rained where I travelled that week)...and I was limping.  Even if you don't do a bit of sightseeing or other travelling around Germany, you will be walking around a lot, and you will move quicker and without sore feet if you wear sturdy shoes or boots (because good ankle-support is nice) - well-worn-in, of course!

   5)  Bring both a credit card and and an ATM/debit card.  There are transaction fees and monetary conversion fees associated with both, but the best currency conversion rates will be had simply by making a withdrawal at an ATM (in german, a "Geldautomat"), made with your ATM card.  If your bank has a reciprocal agreement with a bank in Germany, you can eliminate the "out-of-network" fee, too.  As the other fees are charged per-transaction, make fewer withdrawals, in larger amounts.

   DO NOT USE YOUR CREDIT CARD FOR CASH WITHDRAWALS!  If you do, what you are getting is a "cash advance", and - in addition to all the other fees - this is treated as an "unsecured personal loan", and starts costing you interest from the moment you draw the cash; there is no monthly interest-free "grace period" on cash advances, and the interest for a cash advance is often much higher than for simple straight purchases and service payments.  Use your credit card for large-ticket purchases, such as airline tickets, train tickets, car rentals, expensive meals, settling your hotel bill, things of that nature.

   6)  Speaking of which - remember that all transactions involving both the EF Art Show and the Charity Auction must be paid for with cash.  As a general rule, dealing with the Artists and Dealers in the Dealers' Den are also cash transactions, simply because of the difficulties of getting credit card readers connected in the room (and simply, most of the dealers wouldn't be set up for it anyway).  Travelers' Cheques are often not accepted by many merchants, and a personal cheque drawn on an american (to them, "overseas") bank just is too risky and a hassle for them.

   7)  TRAVEL LIGHT - The fewer things - particularly electronic toys - which you have to carry, the better.  Your smartphone will likely not work in Germany, unless you buy a SIM card.  Laptops are bulky.  Compromise, and buy a WiFi-enabled tablet to take with you, for e-mails and basic web-surfing.  There are lots of free WiFi hotspots in airports and such, and you can purchase data-plans for acess by the day or for a number of days from Telekom, one of the prime wireless data providers in Germany.  Also - check that your portable electronic chargers are good for dual-voltage use (220vac, 50hz is the European standard power), and if they are, carry enough plug-outlet convertors to go from our two- or three-prong plugs to the european outlets.  Better still, many hotel rooms now have large flat-screen monitors for TV service, and these often have USB sockets on the side, which can charge your small devices like smartphones and tablets directly.  The Estrel has such TV monitors.

**********

   Wow - sorry for the data dump, but these are just a few of the important things which I have discovered when travelling to EF.  There are more, but I can't recall them immediately, I'm sure that others reading this can provide more tips.

Good Luck! 

« Last Edit: 19.10.2014, 23:35:47 by VulpesRex »
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Sike_Redwolf

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Re: Hello!
« Reply #2 on: 22.10.2014, 05:14:24 »

Thanks for the response!

Thats a lot of really good information, and some I would never have thought to even consider. I'll make sure to get whats needed and what I can do in advance for the trip. Thankfully tickets/passport should be done in Jan.

I'm really excited for EF, and really nervous too, but I'm sure itll be a lot of fun. Hope to see you there!
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I own 2 fursonas, Sike and Banana. If you want to get to know me, just ask! It will be my first time going to EF in 2015!

Lutra

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Re: Hello!
« Reply #3 on: 26.10.2014, 12:30:34 »

Welcome to the forums ;)
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