• Airport

    Posted by PAULA VERPLANCKE on 3/10/2016

    Just a reminder...


    We are meeting at Ted Stevens International Airport at 3:00 A.M. tomorrow.


    See you then!

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  • Additional Information - Packing list

    Posted by PAULA VERPLANCKE on 3/8/2016

    The following list is recommended but not mandatory. Remember that you will be out of the country and sometimes it is easier to have these items on hand.


    • money
    • phone/camera
    • headphones (You might want to listen to music on the airplane)
    • pen/book
    • toothbrush
    • toothpaste (travel size)
    • shampoo and/or conditioner (There might be small bottles at the hotel, but if you need a lot of shampoo or conditioner, you might want to bring a travel size bottle with your own shampoo)
    • hair brush
    • dental floss
    • chapstick
    • deodorant (travel size)
    • lotion (travel size)
    • socks
    • underwear
    • tennis shoes/comfortable shoes for walking
    • jeans/comfortable pants (no sweat pants, please)
    • t-shirts/blouses/sweatshirt
    • Men – bring a button down shirt and a tie. Ladies - bring a nice blouse and pants and/or dress for the night that we go watch the Flamenco show!
    • light rain coat (Wal - Mart sells disposable rain coats for $1.98)
    • pajamas (You will have a roommate!)
    • medicine (If you take medicine on a daily basis or have permission to take a prescription, please do not forget it!)
    • sanitary products
    • sunglasses
    • lock for suitcase
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  • Currency Exchange

    Posted by PAULA VERPLANCKE on 2/1/2016


    Things are expensive in Europe! Practice figuring exchange rates so you know how much something costs when you are in Europe.  Bring a pocket calculator!  You’ll have less culture shock and less frustration, if you have an idea of how euros something should cost.  Become familiar with the bills.  Do not simply hold out your bills and let the shopkeeper take what he needs.  Have the money out and ready before you pay if possible. 

    If a CD in Madrid costs 13 Euros, how many American dollars would that be?

    Answer:  13 Euros X 1.36 (or whatever the current rate of exchange is) = $17.73

    To figure out how many dollars the euros are, multiply the # of euros X $1.36

    Figure these conversions:

    1. If you see a purse that costs 15 Euros, how many dollars would that purse be? _____________
    2. If you don’t keep your current metro ticket with the time stamped on it and a “a train employee” comes on the metro car you are on and asks to see your validated (stamped) ticket and you don’t have one, he/she will make you pay on the spot and in cash 35 Euros = $____________  (moral: keep your ticket until you leave the system at your destination and then throw it away so you don’t mix them up with good ones or already used ones.)


    If you want to know how many Euros you should receive for $50, then you simply divide by 1.36    $50 divided by 1.36 = 36.77 Euros

    We want euros to cost fewer American dollars! 



    I always keep a coin purse for each currency (or at least a ZipLoc). That way I am not trying to read each coin and pick out the American or Euro coins while the shopkeeper waits.  You will need to keep some American dollars in your fanny pack or purse for purchasing food or drinks at the airport in the United States. 



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  • Spending money

    Posted by PAULA VERPLANCKE on 1/28/2016

    SPENDING MONEY – Participants should plan on a budget of $30 - $50 per day of the tour.  WorldStrides recommends a minimum of $50 per day to cover beverages, lunches, and small souvenir shopping.  ($30 X 8 days = $240;   $50 X 8 = $400)  No wiring of money.  It is better to have MORE money than you think you’ll need than be stuck.  You can always spend the money back at home.


    CARRYING MONEY – You may choose to carry that money in a combination of ways.

    1. Cash

    You will need some cash. 

                                       -American cash for the airport ($10 - $20?)

                                       -Euro cash to get you started for the first few days in Europe


    ***Each participant should purchase $50 worth of Euros or more prior to departure to get you started for the first day in Spain.  We can buy these at the Seattle International Airport. 

    AAA sells “Tip Packs” of Euro cash;  their exchange is about the same as what you would get in an airport. Online order phone number 1-877-414-6359.

     Wells Fargo in Wasilla sells Euros. I believe you have to pre-order the amount of money you want to exchange.

    We can buy more once we are in Europe at a Casa de Cambio (which will give a better exchange rate than at the airport – like 10% better exchange rate!) 


    1. Debit cards and/or Credit Cards

    Many travelers like the convenience of using their debit cards to withdraw money on the tour.  However, participants should check with their banks to see what fees, if any, are involved with international withdrawals.  You also should see if there is a minimum age limit. You should also call your credit card company to tell them that you will be using the card overseas and the dates you will be in Europe.   Always make copies of your credit cards which will have the number to call in case it is lost or stolen.

           Credit cards – Credit cards are best for large purchases.  You still would need cash for smaller purchases.  They will give you the best exchange rate when they figure it at the main office of the credit card company.  This is the most hassle-free way of saving time instead of exchanging money constantly.  Visa and Master Card are the most widely accepted.   For the most part, Discover is not accepted in Europe.  Credit card exchange rates are extremely competitive. Why? They’re based on wholesale rates rather than rates typically offered to consumers.   Always make copies of your credit cards which will have the number to call in case it is lost or stolen.  Check with your bank or credit card company to make sure your card will work overseas.



    1. Buy Euros at the Casa de Cambio or at  banks (the best exchange if you have time to find one open), OR at the airport before leaving (the danger in putting it all in cash is losing or having your American or Euro cash stolen during the trip).  Note: Be aware… If you are not 18 years of age, you will not be able to exchange money. Last year a couple of students did not bring any money and they were not aware that if you are not of age, you will not be able to do any transactions.



    1. ATM machines – ATMs are very common in Spain and provide ready access to cash, allowing travelers to carry as much money as they need for each day.  The money comes out in the currency of the country they are in.  The rates are competitive with local exchange bureaus and an ATM transaction is easier than the cashing of travelers’ checks.  However, there may be a small transaction fee every time you make a withdrawal. Check with your bank to make sure your ATM card can be used internationally and what the rates are.  ATM users are strongly encouraged to carry a 24-hour emergency number for their ATM card and bank account separate from their ATM card that will enable the immediate prevention of withdrawals in case the card is lost, “jammed,” or stolen.  Make sure that you know your ATM code before you leave!  Use the ATM machine that is in a well-lit area and be with a friend or group; be aware of persons standing close enough to see the PIN being entered into the machine.  Never give anyone your PIN number, even those willing to “help.”            





    I personally bring a Visa Card and a combination of Euro and American cash.  I put my large amount of cash in a bra pouch; most of you would put it in a money belt that is worn under your clothing.  I keep daily spending money on me in an easily accessible place like my fanny pack.  You would need to keep your passport and the large amount of cash (if any) in your money belt.  Please consider how reliable you are with money as you decide which option(s) to pursue.  Never carry your wallet in your pants pocket or in a purse with straps.  Thieves thrive in tourist areas and the subways.  Use your money belt!!!







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  • What to do if...

    Posted by PAULA VERPLANCKE on 1/27/2016

    What do you do if.....

    What if the tour bus leaves and you are left behind?

    (Stay there until we come back for you. Keep the phone number and address of our hotel)

    What if everyone gets on the metro and you are left on the platform?

    (Wave first at us! Stay there at the exact same stop until we come back for you. It will take a while because we'll have to get off at the next stop and then catch a car coming back to that stop.)

    What if you get on the metro car and no one else does?

    (Try to get off by opening the pull handle to open the door first. If you don't realize until the car is leaving that we are still on the platform, get off at the very next stop and WAIT for us to catch the next car and come to you.)

    What if you and your friends (the group of three or larger) get separated while at a museum or in a store?

    (Stay or go to the last place you know for sure that you were together and WAIT until your friend(s) come back for you as they retrace their steps.)


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  • Invitation

    Posted by PAULA VERPLANCKE on 1/20/2016

    Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,


    We have been invited to attend a meeting at Wasilla High School next Tuesday (1/26/2016) at 6:00 P. M.  We will spend 15 minutes going over some logistics (passports, tips, etc), and the remaining 45 minutes meeting each other and getting a cultural introduction to Madrid. This meeting is not mandatory, but if you would like to participate, that would be great.  There are students from Wasilla High School and a few students from Palmer High School who will also be going in this tour.  Since we will be riding the same tour bus and maybe we will be on the same flight, it would be nice if students from CTHS meet students from other schools.


    Students at Career Tech will have a meeting during lunch a week from today (1/27/2016).  I have included 3 attachments in the e-mail sent home today.  that I will be needing back from parents. 

    1. Student Permission Slip - Please sign the permission slip and return it to me. 
    2. Short Term Field Trip Insurance - I sent an e-mail earlier last week about the mandatory Short Term Field Trip Insurance.  Checks need to be made out to CTHS in the amount of $14.00.  Our school will be sending in all the forms and the money together.
    3. Heath Form – Please return to me.


    I will also have this forms available to students next Wednesday and during  our parent meeting in February.



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  • Passports/Visas

    Posted by PAULA VERPLANCKE on 1/8/2016
    • All students need to complete/update their passport information on the WorldStrides website. I have been informed that this is mandated by the U. S. Government, as of April 1, 2002.
    • In addition, please be aware that all passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of return.
    • Note – If your child is not a U. S. citizen, you are responsible for obtaining all travel documents (including visas) needed for travel.
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Last Modified on January 12, 2018