1. You need an adapter AND a converter for US electronics. The casualties: 1 Sonicare toothbrush charger, 1 travel hair dryer (what a cool fire that was), all the walkie talkie rechargeable batteries, and Tom’s head. It turns out you can’t shave your head with clippers running on 240V when they should be on 120V. They draw blood and leave scars.
2. Gas is the same price EVERYWHERE. This takes a lot of pressure off for people who obsess about paying too much (like me).
3. The country closes early. A few supermarkets are open until 10:00, but electronics stores, clothing stores, and most service providers close by 5:30. This is highly inconvenient for nocturnal folk like ourselves.
4. Don’t open with “I’m American or French.” Try Dutch or German. (The French are still reviled because of their “act of terrorism” sinking the Rainbow warrior in Auckland harbor.)
5. When renting a campervan, be sure to purchase the excess insurance. These bad boys of the road are long, unwieldy, and have a tendency to run into parked cars.
6. Don’t let your kids store shells they collected on the beach in the bathroom of the campervan. They often contain dead critters that start to stink. I blamed the men in the group for the odor only to find it was really rotting shellfish. Sorry guys.