Overseas Research Travel Tips
I have an upcoming talk for the Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts about my recent research trip to Poland. I thought that this may be a good time to blog about some of the ins and outs of the trip. This will be the first part in a series of Research Tips and Hints.I think I will start out with some of the basic traveling components i.e. getting from here to there and back. Flying is definitely not what it used to be. For experienced travelers, what I write here may seem obvious, but for those that are unaware, it may help.
It actually used to be enjoyable, not like today, packing is a nightmare. You have limits on luggage weight and size. and those limits are lower than the used to be. Be very mindful of the size and weight limits for the airline you are flying. Weigh those bags ahead of time, as it will save you a lot of headaches when you are checking in. You do not want to have to open and try to repack/rearrange your belongings with a line behind you, nor do you want to pay the exorbitant fees that are imposed.
It cost me $100 one way for a carry-on bag that I had to check on my return flight from Poland. I carried the same bag from Manchester, NH to Munich, Germany to Krakow, Poland without a problem, but could not return with it back to the States because when you fly domestically in Europe the carry on limit is lower. I was flying from Krakow to Munich to Montreal to Manchester, NH. and since the first leg of the flight was considered domestic and my carry-on was over the weight limit for domestic, it cost me 300 zł (about $100) to get that carry-on bag home in checked baggage. I flew with Lufthansa for almost he entire journey. This is an airline that I had flown often years ago when I was making trips to and from Germany and I have always been happy with their level of service. You are not immune from any airlines new fees and weight restrictions, so plan ahead.
If you are going on a research trip, DO NOT take lots of paper documents with you. I suggest that you scan as much as possible and keep it on your laptop. Paper has a lot of weight and you can use that weight allowance for better things.
Then you have the joy of going through security. removing almost everything you have on. Its such a pain in the a** to get through and then try to get yourself dressed expeditiously at the same time you are trying to make sure your items don't take off on you. Minimize any possible problems going through security by removing any immediate unnecessary objects and putting them in your bag, and double, triple & quadruple check your pockets for anything.
Stay tuned for more Tips and Hints for your research travel adventures.