HOW TO EUROPE
The Complete Travelers Handbook
By John Bermont. Internet edition.
A page from
with photographer and author
Get a job, if you can.
THE JOY OF WORK
If you like to travel in Europe, what better way is there than
if somebody pays you to do it? With a job in Europe, you settle
in, learn the way of life, learn the language like a local, make new friends, and
open yourself to an experience that will become a major part of
BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT
Before discussing the ways of getting a job in Europe, first
it is important to state the reasons why you probably will not get
one. It can be done and many thousands or millions have done it. But it is as much
luck as hard work, and plenty of both. Officially I've done it twice. No comment on
the un-official stuff.
The first reason that getting a job is difficult is that the
unemployment rates in most European countries are higher than
in the United States.
If Europeans are having trouble getting
jobs in their own countries, why would it be easy for someone
from halfway around the world? No government has its door
open welcoming you to come over and take a potential job away
from a local voter. Only the United States does that.
Most of those out of work in Europe are barely looking for work. Why would you look for a job if
you are getting 90% of your prior salary in unemployment insurance? That's about the
way it is in Europe. I guess you
would look for a job only if you are too stupid to hold one. When I worked in
Holland there was a story going around about a TV actress who got the pink slip. No worry,
she began collecting
90% of her previous million dollar salary as unemployment benefits. She was probably a
certified air head but she was smart as a fox.
The second obstacle for Americans is that the European
Union (EU) is basically a closed society to citizens from
countries which are not members. The EU consists of 27 countries, more than
half of Europe, and is growing as we breath. Download a map and other items at
The EU Book Shop.
Getting a work permit is all but impossible except for those
with special professions and skills, even in good times. My two
work experiences were for American/European companies
which did the work permit paperwork. I had to fill out some
forms and the company certified I was needed and that nobody
in the European homeland could be found to do the job. For the
German transfer, the company stated that I was on a technical
exchange program. Ten Germans were transferred to the USA
for the seven Americans sent to Germany. I guess that is a fair exchange.
If you are married your spouse had better like the idea of
doing nothing productive for the duration. This caused some
grief for us on the German transfer. Elizabeth quickly found a job
at Frankfurt airport that could make use of her ability in four languages. The
German Arbeitsamt (Labor Department) just as quickly denied her the
work permit because of the high unemployment rate and the fact
that I had a job.
GETTING A JOB
I was lucky to have obtained jobs in Europe twice. The way
I did it can probably be described as serendipity, though I did
have a plan to explore the possibility when I joined each of the
companies which eventually transferred me. There are many
professions which are transportable. As with many things in life,
it's a matter of being in the right place at the right time. You
have more control over place than time, so focus on being in the
European Classified Ads
Job offers in the classified section of the International
Herald Tribune, a newspaper targeting the American expatriate
audience, usually include a statement that you must have valid
work papers. This is true even for bi-lingual positions requiring
a native English speaking person. These jobs will go to British
people because Britain is a member of the EU. The most
commonly advertised jobs of this sort are secretaries, English
teachers, and translators.
A way around the work permit hurdle is to work for an
agency of the US government or for an American company. It is
easier to find these jobs in the US than in Europe.
American specialists occupy a small number of key
positions in the European offices of many American companies.
However each company is as individual as it's name. Some will
hire only nationals of the country where they are located while
others will use Americans in many jobs.
Transitions Abroad, a monthly magazine oriented to work,
study, and living overseas, regularly publishes articles and
advertisements on specific career positions available overseas.
This would be a good place for someone with a liberal arts
education to start exploring.
Tourism and agriculture require large numbers of
employees for just a few months a year. Businesses from vineyards
to ski resorts need semi-skilled workers during their high season.
There are directories and official agencies which can
point you to these jobs. The pay is lousy. Many workers in
seasonal agricultural jobs are reportedly working illegally. Sound
European Employment Bureaus
Generous social benefits and extreme taxes are a bane of
employers throughout Europe. Companies must cope with the
decades-old laws giving workers an absolute right to a job and
wonderful benefits. Consequently, employment bureaus offering
part time or contract employment have started to spring up. It's
very prevalent in Holland, a country with some of the highest
taxes and juiciest employee benefits. To get around some of the
costs of complying many companies employ short term workers
on contract. In Holland you'll see many uitzendbureaus (literally
"send out agencies") offering jobs such as secretary,
bookkeeper, or draftsman. You will need a work permit to take
one of these jobs, and probably need to speak Dutch. Stop in
one of these offices and have a chat the next time you are
strolling in Amsterdam.
I'm a chemical engineer, playing roles as process engineer,
project manager, and business development manager over the
past few decades. In the mid 70's I went to work for a major
engineering and construction company which had offices and
projects around the world. I was single and was regarded as
"transportable" by management. I was soon sent on assignments
for weeks to months at a stretch, domestically and
internationally. In late 1975 I was asked to transfer to the
Netherlands office for a two year assignment. It turned out to be
the best two years of my life on the social side, but not so good
on the professional side. Nevertheless, I would do it again.
Then in early 1991 I accepted another transfer, this time to
Germany. I was working for an environmental consulting
company in Los Angeles. Suddenly it was purchased by a
division of a major German conglomerate. Knowing something
about what to expect, I grabbed for the opportunity when a
transfer became available. This company knew nothing about
transferring people overseas so the experience was much
different. Being married and with a three-year old daughter at
the time contributed to the differences.
These two experiences point out one excellent way for a
technically trained person to obtain a paid leave to Europe. Get
a job with an American company which has offices in Europe or
which is owned by a European company. Then let it be known
that you are interested in moving over there. When you hear
about transfer opportunities coming up move quickly and get in
the front of the line.
FINDING A REAL JOB IN EUROPE
The balance of this chapter will focus on approaches that
will land you a well endowed job in Europe. It assumes that you
are, or will be, working for an American company and have
been offered an overseas transfer. You are a professional with a
college degree or with equivalent experience in your field. Your
field is a specialty in business, finance, science, or engineering.
This is the route I took and the one that I can speak to.
Find an Employer
How do you find a European oriented company? Start with
the company you are working for. If they have branch offices in
Europe, see about obtaining a transfer.
To locate companies with overseas operations, consult
stock market and business directories. These publications list
publicly traded companies. They are the biggest companies and
the ones most likely to have foreign subsidiaries. Then write to
or call the head office and request an annual report. This will
give you a PR agent's view of the company with plenty of pretty
pictures next to the columns of numbers and loads of footnotes.
A good study of the annual report can be invaluable in
approaching a company when you are looking for a job, whether
here or over there.
A visit to your library will turn up a number of directories
listing companies doing business in Europe. The listings in these
directories are based on a number of different criteria and they
are published on individual schedules. Thus, none of them are
complete or totally up-to-date at any one time. It's best to
consult several of these directories.
One that I would suggest as a starting source is the four
volume World Business Directory. This lists over 100,000
companies in 190 countries, including many listings for all of
the European countries. Just look through the directory until you
find names you recognize. That's not hard to do if you're into
chemicals and sticky paper. 3M seems to be in every country
and is usually listed first. Most of the major American
companies have operations in Europe, as do many smaller
companies. Research the prospective employers to find out
where their European offices are located. Other reference
materials to look in are Standard & Poor's and Hoover's.
This is a lot of hard work. Success is not guaranteed, but
1,000 failures are history after you score. I've worked with
enough Americans overseas, from superbly qualified to sorely
incompetent, to be convinced that anybody can do it.
Try the internet job search engines using keywords that
describe your profession and the countries you are interested in.
You can also locate jobs through some bulletin boards on
the internet. These services are free, and can offer information
on thousands of positions everywhere. Computer oriented jobs
dominate the listings but there are plenty of other positions.
When you find potential companies, get the name of the
VP of International Operations or European Operations and
write directly to him/her with your resume. Do not send your
letter to the human resources department. If the VP is interested
in you, he will have the HR department contact you. If you can't
find a suitable VP write directly to the CEO. Make it brief and
After you have an offer for an overseas position you will be
given a contract to sign. This sets out all of the conditions
governing your transfer, your working conditions, overseas
benefits, and miscellany. The contract will be 10 to 30 pages in
length. Keep a copy where you can find it easily.
All contracts must have a term, i.e. a start date and an end
date. Typically this will be two to five years. Typically there will
be options to break the contract which can be exercised by either
party. Say, 30 to 90 days notice is needed to break the contract.
Companies sometimes change this as they see fit, and/or fuzzy
up the completion date to give them an out if things don't go
right. On my first transfer I chose to come home about three
months early, and on the second one the company chopped it
with about six months to go.
The company must pay for your relocation costs, though
they limit what can be moved. For a family, normal household
items are typically no problem, but may be too restrictive for
your personal situation. I had to ask for a reversal on a
prohibition against moving our piano, and got it. Most
companies will not pay to move your car over.
Relocation assistance for single status is very thin. In 1975
I was given a plane ticket and $246 to cover my expenses, and
told to report to work in Holland a week after the following
You might or might not be given a house and/or a housing
allowance. Housing is very expensive where you will be living,
probably in a major city or suburb. This is an important point in
the contract. Consider your wife and children when looking for
a home since they will be spending 90% of their time at home
while you are at work or on the road for business.
If you are living and working there, a car is becoming just
as indispensable in most of Europe as it is in the USA. Having a
company car in the contract can be worth many thousands a year
since the cost of cars, maintenance, insurance, and gasoline is
much higher over there. You can bring your own, as I did for my
single transfer to Holland, or have one provided by the
company, as was the case for our German transfer. A second car
can be very helpful if you have children unless you are in the
heart of a major city.
Typically you and your family will be given an annual
home leave. The company contribution is the cost of the plane
tickets to your home base as specified in the contract. You'll
probably use your own vacation time. Going someplace other
than "home" is probably OK with the company as long as it
doesn't cost more. Bring this up after you get over there, or just
do it and turn in the receipts after the fact showing that you
saved them money.
Bereavement leave and plane fare home should also be
provided in a transfer contract.
Get everything you want in the contract before you go
because it won't happen after you get there, unless you are
indispensable and threaten to resign. Personnel department
clerks will not change anything for you. You must go to the VP
or personnel director who is sending you over there and
negotiate anything you want changed directly with him, and do
it before you go. Don't expect an easy sell and don't expect a
second chance. Your company has probably been using the
same contract for years, or they may have just paid a consultant
six figures to research the matter and write up a contract for
overseas transfers. Your company will probably have little
interest in spending time on your special case so handle your
appeal with care.
When you get over there you will find that Americans are
treated as a special lot. Not all of the benefits given to European
workers will be given to the Yanks, as we are sometimes called.
But you will be getting some special privileges, a fact that is
best kept to yourself, and you are subject to certain tax
Some of the following sections will not apply to
Americans. I put it here so you know the general flavor of
benefits given to European professionals and office workers.
If you are transferred by your employer to work in Europe,
you will probably receive a small booklet of company "policy"
relating to the transfer. This will be in addition to the contract
and will be mentioned in the contract. Companies which have
been transferring people for many years have a good handle on
this while companies new to the international transfer arena will
have a rough start. They either have no policy or they hired a
consultant to write it for them. In this case the policy will not be
absolutely universal and is probably subject to negotiation. This
depends on your status in the company and/or the number of
transferees raising a howl about one or another provision.
Vacations are really nice in Europe. The Dutch company
gave each employee a minimum of four weeks, plus they gave
each vacationing employee a check for the "13th month" so they
could enjoy it properly. We Americans were given only our
standard two week vacation and the pity of our Dutch
In Germany, the standard vacation is about 6 weeks. We
Americans were only allowed 4½ weeks, but that was still twice
as much as most of us were getting back home.
The German company also gave us an extra week off at
Christmas. The standard work week is 37 hours in Germany.
Thanks to an agreement between the company Board of
Directors and the Bundsrat (Employees Council), we worked a
40 hour week and saved up the extra hours for year-end, getting
another vacation from about the 22nd of December to after New
Years Day. The balance of the hours were allotted as "bridge
days," meaning that the office was closed on Fridays after some
Thursday holidays. This gave us a few four-day weekends
during the year, especially in May. There was plenty of time to
go sightseeing in Deutschland.
Holidays are also especially generous in some countries.
We had over a dozen in Bavaria thanks to its Catholic tradition
and all those saints and special events. For example, Good
Friday and Easter Monday are holidays in much of Europe.
There are so many holidays in Germany during May that it's best
if you do not plan to do any business there during that month.
When the holidays fall on a Thursday, e.g., Ascension and
Corpus Christi, many people also take off on Friday, the "bridge
day," and make a four day weekend out of it.
Income taxes in European countries are much higher than
they are in the USA. Social security taxes are also much higher.
Combined income and social taxes can easily take over 50% of
your income in some countries. You will have to pay these
As an indication of the tax burden over there, the average
American currently works until April 17 to pay income taxes.
This date is known unofficially as "tax freedom day." Tax
freedom day in the European Union averages out to much later in most countries.
The average European works about an extra two months to pay
the government. Within Europe, the date varies from March 13 in
Cyprus to August 4 in Belgium!
Institut économique Molinari]. Before you go running off to live
in Cyprus check the financial condition of the country. The situation in that
tiny country had the euro and Europe on edge during March 2013.
When working outside the USA, the IRS still wants you to
file a tax return, though taxes on some or all of your income may
be avoidable. If you meet one of two requirements, physical
presence or bona fide residence in another country, your foreign
earned income up to $95,100 can qualify for exclusion from tax
liability. Taxes and exclusions are also applicable to some expenses of
relocating and living abroad when these are reimbursed by your
To satisfy the requirements for the exclusions, follow the rules
to the letter. Keep your paperwork up to date. When entering
and leaving the USA, make sure that your passport is stamped
with exit and entry dates. Sometimes you have to ask for this.
Keep a log of international travel with dates and times of arrival
and departure, and stash away the boarding cards. I've noticed
that many boarding cards do not include the year, only the
month and day so write the year on if it's not printed. Keep your
overseas residence permit, rental contract, utility bills, and all
other evidence establishing you as an overseas resident.
See the IRS web page
Foreign Earned Income Exclusion for details of the income and housing exclusions.
If you are working for an American company, make sure
you have a tax protection clause in your assignment contract.
This specifies that your total tax liability, foreign and USA, will
not exceed the tax bite had you stayed in the USA. This benefit
is normally referred to as "tax equalization." If you have other
sources of income it can get complicated.
Your company should also provide you with the free
services of an international tax accountant. This is nice in
theory. In truth the forms that you fill out for the tax accountant
make the IRS forms look easy. I guess the accountants like to do
a lot of extra work and run up big bills like the lawyers. It's a
good idea to contact the IRS yourself and get copies of their
special publications applicable to taxing Americans with foreign
earned income. It's hard to believe but the IRS booklets are
easier to understand than the stuff the accountants send you.
The big international bean counting firms, one of which
will probably be chosen by your company to do your taxes, also
publish booklets discussing the tax situation specific for each
country. You can call several of these companies and request
information on having them do your taxes for you. They'll
probably send you their booklet just to prove that they know
what they are doing.
Home State Tax
If your home state has an income tax they may try to levy
you while overseas. Because of cross reporting of income
between state and federal agencies, your state tax board may
decide that you should pay even if you are no longer living
there. Companies have a habit of continuing to use your former
home state address while you are gone for a few years. This can
lead to serious problems.
Stay Below Radar
To avoid tax problems Americans living overseas should
keep off the radar screens of former home state tax people. To
do this, avoid any situation which can lead the state to suspect
that your domicile might still be the place you left behind.
For example, by law your bank must report interest income
to the government. Close your savings accounts. Also, do not
vote in local elections.
If a problem comes up, have proof of your foreign
residence. At the very least, get a driver's license after you get a
home in your new European country. Register yourself and
family with the local authorities as required, and have the proper
stamps placed in your passport. These are not sure-fire defenses
and other items may be held to be determinant by your state tax
board, e.g. if you kept ownership of your home. If you are in
doubt, ask your tax board before departing and read whatever
publications they have on their rules. Keep the publications
covering the years that you are overseas because these things
change, usually for the worse.
ON THE JOB
Working over there has some resemblance to working at
home and working overseas is not for everybody. Work becomes
work after the initial euphoria. Some people are not happy with
their new boss, work assignments, or any of a hundred other
things. About 1/3 of those going to work overseas get so
frustrated within a few months that they start talking about going
home. Some do. It is better to hang in there and stick it out.
Chances are that you'll get over it and adapt to the new
You will probably be in a bilingual environment. If you do
not already know the local language make a strong commitment
to learn it, despite the nay-sayers.
One of my bosses in Holland saw me studying Dutch one
morning before work. "Why are you studying that? Nobody else
in the world uses it." Well, 15 million Dutchies use it and that's
good enough reason to know a little of it. It certainly helps to
improve your social life, important to me as a single guy over
In Germany we attended evening German classes at the
Volkshochschule (municipal adult education). I also spent every
Monday morning for two years at a private school, the local
Eurosprachschule. I didn't need to know much German in our
office, but it was invaluable when I went to Dresden and
Leipzig, and to countries in the former Soviet Bloc. It has also
enabled me to translate German technical and commercial
documents. I became the de-facto translator for the company. My boss had obtained
a German patent for a very unique chemical reactor. He tried to get it patented
in the USA. No go. It was refused. He called in the German patent attorney
and had me read the translation the attorney had submitted to Washington. What a mess.
I re-translated it and drew a few more illustrations for it. We got the patent on
the first try.
In addition to formal studies, you can learn a lot by
watching TV and reading the newspapers.
So, the bottom line is maximize your opportunities by
learning the local language. Do not give up because it is
difficult. Go at your own speed and do as much as you can every
day that you are in Europe. These are golden moments which
won't come again.
You probably won't get a paycheck. Direct deposit is
normally used. This requires that you have a bank account. Your
company's bank would be a good place to open it.
How you are paid can be a dilemma. You may be offered to
have part of your pay in dollars and part of it in local currency,
at some fixed or fluctuating rate of exchange. It can be
distressing if you choose one option only to see the dollar rise or
sink against you. There is no way to predict which way it will
go. The only thing certain is that it changes every day.
Once you start to work, you are entering a whole new
world. Flex-time is very common so you can probably start
between 7 and 9 and go home between 4 and 6 in most offices.
You might punch a clock, even for lunch break, to keep you
honest. This is an advantage over keeping track of your own
time and adding up the minutes every month. Be on the
On meeting anybody in the office for the first time in the
morning in Germany, it is customary to say "Guten Morgen Herr
or Frau So-and-so." You can also look them in the eye and
shake hands. Very formal, still.
The next important part of the working day in Europe
seems to be coffee. Pots and cups are full and hot throughout the
day. You'll probably find that the building has a lunch room
staffed with very helpful people. Coffee may be made by the
kitchen staff or secretaries, and cups are cleaned every day.
Whenever you are in a meeting, coffee service is usually
the first item on the agenda. It's served with some beautiful
chocolate and sugar cookies. I grab those chocolates fast. In
some offices coffee is provided by a machine located on every
floor. Coffee, espresso, and cocoa are brewed in the machine
and it is not bad, certainly far better than you would get from a
coffee machine in the USA.
Formerly an ever-present feature in European offices
was smoke. It was everywhere. Not
just the usual stuff either. Cigars were common. I enjoy a
nice corona now and then and have given them to my secretary
who also smoked them. A guy across the hall from me smoked
some funny stuff on a regular basis, switching from clove
cigarettes to bad grass as his mood changed. My German boss
kept his office in a blue haze.
Smoke is history. Most countries in Europe now have laws against smoking
on a par with the most restrictive laws in many states of the USA.
This is a second hand story. An American I met in Paris
was manager of a hospital administrative staff. He could not get
over the habit of the French workers spending about an hour
each morning drinking coffee and chatting about last nights TV
shows, their families, lovers, and anything else in the world. A
lot of time was wasted in this socializing.
I didn't see such interest in personal affairs in offices in
Holland and Germany. Generally, business is business where I
Work habits of the Dutch and Germans are much different
than those of Americans. When I worked in Holland, the
Americans could never understand how anything ever got done
in that country. There seemed to be an interminable amount of
time spent on everything. Nothing was ever released unless it
was perfect. 99.44% was not finished and everything got held up
for the last touch. The Germans are similar, though they
sometimes take some short cuts.
I had Dutch people working for me and I worked under
Dutch bosses. I often said that I was caught in the Dutch
squeeze. It seemed that the bosses always wanted everything
now but the fellows working for me always had a reason why it
wasn't ready. Simpele dingen zijn soms erg moeilijk (simple
things are sometimes very difficult), as they say in the
Writing a letter is different. Salutations and complimentary
closings are different in each country. Nobody over there uses
"Gentlemen:" or "Very truly yours," in a letter. The standard
closing in international correspondence is "Regards," or "Best
regards," for a more personal touch.
Virtually all correspondence includes a reference number
and some other office code marks. When you respond it is polite
to include the reference number of the letter you are responding
to. Filing is done by secretaries in most offices and the reference
number system works for them.
Letters which are sent to another company require two
signatures in Germany. One is yours and the other is that of your
boss. Germans and Dutch sign their name in such a way that
nobody can ever read it. If the person's name is not typed under
it you won't know who it was. Sometimes they sign with all the
letters stacked on top of each other. Sometimes they produce a
magnificent swirl or two and some more flourish.
Angst (anxiety) is a German word that is so common that it
has become part of the international business lingo. Everything
must be analyzed and reverse analyzed as if it were a chess game
to avoid error, or even more importantly it seems, a perception
of error that can be laid at your office door.
The most aggressive and corrupt German I worked with, or
around, was paranoid of any mistake. "We will be blamed" were
his watchwords. He tried to cover up his million Deutschemark
mistake with childish stunts and by blaming others after his
incompetence sank his fantasy project.
Central heating and air conditioning are pretty rare. Open
your windows for fresh air. Heating is often supplied by hot
water radiators in each office.
It's the little things that will get you.
I wrote a business plan to market a new environmental
process during my first few months in Germany. There were 15
appendices labeled A, B, C, etc. Then I went to the supplies
cabinet for tab dividers. Sorry, no C tabs. There are so few
words in German that start with C that this tab was combined
with D. We do the same with X, Y, and Z. Rather than edit the
report and change the appendices from alpha to numerical I
made the tabs.
A major difference throughout Europe is the size of
business letter paper. Europeans use A4 paper rather than our
8½"x11" size. A4 is slightly narrower and a bit longer. A4
dimensions are 21 cm wide by 29.8 cm long, roughly equivalent
to 8¼"x11¾". This was a continuing nuisance with the paper
tray of the HP III laser printer I brought with me. The paper was
always hanging out the back of the tray, unless I wanted to feed
it sheet by sheet. Our 11"x17" B-size double sheet is similar in
size to Europe's A3 but slightly off again. A3 is twice the size of
A4. This may not seem like a big deal but it can be if you are
bringing over pre-formatted documents and address forms in
your computer. Stuff may not fit on the page the way you want it
to. And documents will probably cause a problem fitting on
shelves or in file drawers.
Envelopes are also different. The standard European
business envelope is the DL which is 22 cm wide and 11 cm
high. The standard business envelope in America is the number
10 which is fractionally larger than 9½"x4", and works out to 24
cm by 10.4 cm.
Two hole binders are used universally. There were no three
hole punches in Europe except the one I brought with me. My
files are about 50% two hole and 50% three hole.
Computer keyboards can be different in Europe. The worst
problem I had was with the "qwertz" keyboard in Germany.
American keyboards are called "qwerty" for the first six letters
on the upper left. The Germans have transposed the z and y. If
you are using a password that includes one of these letters you
will have a challenge. I bumped into this one and eventually
solved it, but it sure is wasted time.
Some computer software will also give you a problem. In
spreadsheets, a comma is used instead of a decimal point. See
Languages, Numbers, Alphabets:
Encounter The Tower of Babel in Europe. In word
processing programs you are better off to disable the automatic
hyphenation because words are syllabified differently. For
example you might see your machine printing out was-ted,
pun-ch, and sc-hool. This problem is common with English
translations made on European software.
Packing up and coming home after a couple of years
overseas is going to be a mix of emotions and challenges.
The excitement of adventure you had in going overseas is
going to be missing. You're going back, but it won't be the same
company. The company kept moving and growing while you
were out of town. New people came and some of your former
colleagues left. Some of the people you left behind will feel
jealous and others threatened and others won't take notice. The
day you return will be another work day in their lives, but
chances are that it will be the beginning of a major career hazard
The Ax Man Cometh
The anxiety of your return to normal office life is going to
dominate your career thinking, and well it should. Some years
ago a study found that 25% of all returning expatriates change
jobs within one year of returning home, either of their own
choice or their company's. This statistic, in my experience, is
well understated. Personally, I lost my job within eight months
of each of my returns. And, of the seven of us who went in a
batch to Germany, four were no longer working for the company
within a year of returning to the USA.
Why does this happen? I can only speculate but I won't
waste much space here. Figure that if the home company got
along without you for two or three years, they can live without
you forever. Just be aware of the statistic and make contingency
plans. Stay tuned to undercurrents in the office. It may be that
you were sent over to get you out of the office. When you
return, if head hunters start making unsolicited calls, your job is
changed without consulting you, your boss avoids you, your
office is moved to the back of the building, or if other
inextricable things start happening, make sure that your
parachute is packed and ready. People are people and
management is fickle. Most of America's corporations are run by "C" students who operate
out of greed and fear. If you are a team player with a good pitching record you are a threat
to their career. They will dispose of you.
NOTE TO READERS
I welcome questions and comments. If you have any concerns about your trip to
Europe that have not been covered well enough in this chapter do not hesitate to write and ask.
My email address is
When you write please include as much detail as possible. There are about 50 countries in Europe.
It will help me answer if you mention the countries and/or cities you plan to visit.
I will reply in a day or two.
Don't forget to scroll through the Table of Contents below. The other 29 chapters of
HOW TO EUROPE
are also available, free to read on line. In addition, the Google search box below can locate specific subjects
in any chapter or page on site.
For a check-off punchlist of everything go to The Finale,
Packing List and Last Call: For
Travel in Europe.
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Note: Italicized notations by the author.
You will need one or more of these plug adapters for your appliances and chargers.
For details on electricity in Europe see chapter 11,
Electricity in Europe: Travel Voltage Fundamentals
Plug Adapter (doubler)
Universal to Continental Europe "Europlug."
4.0 mm prongs
SIMRAN PLUG ADAPTER
Adapts grounded USA plugs to European "Shucko" plug.
4.8 mm prongs
This is a universal plug adapter for the UK and Ireland.
Grounded Adaptor Plug for Britain and Ireland
This series of "3-Pack" Ceptics brand grounded universal plug adapters is handy if you are carrying multiple
gizmos or if you have travel companions who also need a charge.
Britain and Ireland
This 110-250 volt power surge strip has three universal outlets and an American grounded plug
so it needs a plug adapter for the countries you are visiting.
Make sure your gizmos are rated for 110-240 volts.
SM-60 Universal 3 Outlet Power Strip Surge Protector for Worldwide Travel. 110V-250V with Overload Protection.
For charging up to six gizmos at a time use this 250 volt universal
power strip. It comes with a grounded Continental plug.
6 Universal Outlets
220/240 Volt 50/60Hz
If your gizmos charge through a USB port this can keep you going. European cars have the same
12 volt system as American cars.
Scosche Dual USB
Bausch and Lomb 2X Folding Lighted Magnifier
Absolutely the best battery for digital cameras which use AA batteries.
AA Lithium Batteries
Rechargeable batteries are expensive but pay for themselves over and over.
This charger is good for worldwide voltage and comes with 4 pre-charged batteries.
It requires a plug adapter for the countries you are visiting.
Sanyo SEC-MQN064 Eneloop 4 Pack AA NiMH Pre-Charged Rechargable Batteries
with Worldwide 110-240 volt charger
This kit includes a pair of rechargeable batteries with a USB powered charger.
SANYO NEW 1500 eneloop 2-AA Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries
w/ USB Charger
This is a stronger transformer rated for 200 watts.
Transformer - 200 Watt Non Grounded Heavy Duty
Here is the whale of transformers, 3,000 watts. With this you can bring your power tools and
all of your small appliances, but not your TV, to Europe.
Power Bright VC3000W Voltage Transformer 3,000 Watt Step Up/Down 110 Volt - 220 Volt
This digital volt-ohm meter can answer a lot of questions when you have electrical problems.
Sinometer MAS345 PC-Interfaced Digital Multimeter
Make sure that your electrical appliances are 110-220 dual voltage so they will work in Europe.
These appliances require a plug adapter(s), NOT a converter, for the countries you are visiting.
Vagabond Compact Styler
Conair's Dual-Voltage Ionic Hair Dryer
Conair Flat Iron 2" Ceramic Straightener
Travel Hair Setter
SteamFast SF-717 Home-and-Away Mini Steam Iron (dual voltage)
Braun Series 1 150 Men's Shaver with Automatic Worldwide Voltage Adjustment
For light sleepers here is an international "white noise" machine. Includes a Continental
Marsona TSCi-330 White Noise Travel Sound Conditioner For both USA and International Use
Look sharp and be comfortable.
Hot Chillys Women's Peach Skins Solid T-Neck Shirt
London Fog Women's Double Breasted Trench Coat
Weather protection and extra pockets.
Clarks Women's Wave.Run Slip-On
Tilley Endurables TH9 Women's Hemp Hat
I wore one similar to this on my early spring trip to London and Dublin.
Leather Bomber Jacket
My "standard" shirt for off-season travel in Europe.
Kingsize Big & Tall Turtleneck Long-Sleeve Cotton Shirt
My favorite T-shirt/undershirt has a pocket for securely carrying passport, cash, and credit cards.
Hanes Heavyweight Tagless Pocket Tee
New Casual Grey Herringbone Wool Cap
Rolling luggage sure beats lugging a pack on your back.
Delsey Luggage Helium Fusion Light 21 Inches Expandable Carryon
Day luggage for your walkabout.
Travelpro Luggage WalkAbout LITE 4 Deluxe Tote
Keep your stuff organized.
Luggage Packing Cubes
eBags 3pc Set
eBags Small Packing Cubes - 3pc Set
Wear a money belt under your shirt to protect your passport and valuables, especially if you are staying in hostels or dorms.
Victorinox Deluxe Concealed Security Belt
An RFID blocking wallet protects your passport and credit cards from identity theft in public places.
Travelon RFID Blocking Passport Case
For coffee or tea in your room, without waiting or paying for room service.
Lewis N. Clark Immersion Heater 120/240V
Starbucks makes the best instant coffee I have found, and these little packets cost only 58¢ each
in the 50 unit sack. That's a bargain in the USA and an absolute steal anyplace in Europe.
Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Coffee, available in House Blend, Colombia, Italian, and Italian Decaf roasts.
Who wrote this?
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