Thursday, 4 June 2009

Preparing for a long trip abroad – day minus 1 and more

In mid June we are going to Australia for three months – we seem to have been preparing for this trip for ages. Many months ago:

  • an itinerary was roughed out so we could be certain that knew how much time we needed to go to all of the places we wanted to see;
  • flight tickets were purchased during a Qantas sale (although they have changed the flight times twice since then)
  • a 4WD camper van was booked to qualify for an early bird discount;
  • 4WD training was booked so that we can learn how to drive through rivers and along beaches; and
  • when the Australian Dollar collapsed to $2.37 to the £, we purchased a load of dollars (now it is $1.92 to the £).

Now we are a few weeks away from going and it is “list time”. This means that numerous lists are produced covering:

  • what we are going to take in each suitcase - useful if a case gets lost on route, then you know what you have to replace and also so that you can split similar things between the suitcases so that not all gets lost at the same time
  • which electrical items are going and which charger they need - essentially, a “can we share chargers between items” list
  • what we are taking in our hand luggage – high value and essential items such as medicines and travel papers
  • what we have to buy as soon as we arrive –for example there is no point taking enough shampoo for three months since it is easy to buy there and some things can only be got there such as an Australian mobile phone
  • what food we need to buy as soon as we get the campervan – the van has two gas rings so meal choice is limited by what you can cook on two rings
  • what documents are to be scanned and stored on the web (passports, credit card details, address book etc)
  • what items we want to take but have not got so need to buy now
  • whom we have to notify we are abroad  - credit card companies being one of the major ones
  • which bills need paying before we go or which bills will  become payable whilst we are away and how they will be dealt with – house insurance, car insurance and house ground rent come to mind

When we were very new as a couple, we went off to the far Middle East for 10 weeks with a budget of about £1 a day each. Our luggage was one small rucksack containing clothes and essentials plus a rucksack frame with our small tent on it – total weight probably about 10 kgms. Now we have about 60 kgms of weight allowance between us and the question is – “is this enough?”

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