Did you ever read a list of suggested items to pack on a trip, and feel as if it were written by a stodgy grandmother? I mean, who'd pack galoushes? Of course, having had wet, cold feet on a trip, I could see some of the helpfulness of that suggestion, but I wouldn't be caught dead in them.
I always rolled my eyes when I read about bringing a travel alarm. I mean, seriously, what was the author going to suggest next? How about bringing a nightstand, too? What kind of hotel wouldn't have an alarm clock?
I was smarmy about all of this in Germany. There was always a clock to keep us in line; after all, aren't the Germans known for their punctuality? We had no problems with getting up on time, even in the throes of jetlag, thanks to the handy dandy alarm clocks.
In Spain and Portugal, we learned that the profileration of alarm clocks was not to be the case. Perhaps it was that we were staying at budget hotels, or maybe it was a result of the more relaxed Romance style culture. Who knows. Either way, we had to rely on wake up calls from the front desk.
My advice on relying on wake calls is this: don't do it! We were lucky that the two hotels were very good about calling us, but I've been on other trips where we never received the wake up calls (luckily enough for us, we'd also set the alarm). It finally struck home with me the validity of the stodgy advice of packing a travel alarm. And, while I'm at it, be sure to check that the batteries are good.