About a year ago my daughters and I were in the process of planning for their first trip to Europe. Seeing that all three of us were recent college graduates we balked at the thought of signing up for a group tour package. Deciding to set our own itinerary meant we would have a whole lot of work ahead of us.
Fortunately my daughters figured that since dad was paying for the trip they wouldn’t complain at where he wanted to go (amazing how that works out). We decided to use library materials as our “travel agent” to give us tips on where to go and what to see. So for a few months prior to our departure I checked out travel guides, books and DVDs to learn more about Europe. And borrowing from the library helped us save money. After all who can’t use extra cash when they are going on vacation?
In addition, the suggested itineraries helped us focus our sightseeing on the places we really wanted to visit while making sure we didn’t overextend ourselves. We also had copies of important phrases from different guide books so we could at least say “please” and “thank you” in the language of where we were (a hint- the good guide books will have an index of common foreign language phrases). I had also checked out a French CD to brush up on my skills as well as used our Mango Languages program to make sure the phrases we were trying to use sounded reasonably close. If you are not familiar with Mango Languages, it is an online language-learning system, teaching conversation skills for over 30 languages including English. Mango uses real-life situations and actual conversations to more effectively teach a new language. Once again, this is a free database available at CCLD. All you need is your library card and PIN to access Mango Languages.
We used the library computers to research the State Department website to make sure where we were going was safe, checked on flights and trains, and researched tricks to help save money on airfare and hotels. Fortunately, we had also downloaded a few library eBooks prior to departure which gave us something to read during the long flights and delays we encountered.
So the next time you are going on vacation come on in and give us a try. You will find a variety of resources to help make your trip more enjoyable. Also, make sure to sign up for our vacation planning class next month at the Central Library: Roadtripping – May 21 at 6pm. Learn to plan, organize, and discover great places to visit this summer using roadtrippers.com and more. The Tech Lab Class is limited to 12 participants. Call today to register 733-9175.
Ronald W. Shaw