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I am sure many of you that read my blog have gone on long international trips in the past. By long trip, I mean more than 10-14 days. But, likewise, some of you haven’t. I’ve been preparing for my 40 day trip to Africa, leaving at the end of April 2012, and thought it may be helpful to list the many details that one has to attend to before departure. Because most of my trip is through an adventure travel company, G Adventures, there isn’t as much research involved. Certain tasks take priority over others, so I will list them in order of urgency.
- Decide upon trip and airline travel — and purchase.
- Purchase travel insurance same day. I secured mine through World Nomads for $129 for six weeks and it covers everything from baggage delay to emergency evacuation! I learned my lesson last year after booking a trip for three weeks in Turkey–then flying to five Scandinavian countries for another three weeks–and had planned on purchasing insurance–but a week after I booked the trip, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. Delta Airlines was kind enough to refund my money, so I only lost a few hundred dollars on another flight.
- I had to order a new passport. Although mine was still good for 4 more years, I didn’t have enough visa pages left for the countries I would be traveling through. Get photos for passport and visas. Apply for Visas if required . I can get my two Visas at the border.
- Make appointment for travel shots and any other doctor appointments. I went through a local county health department (rather than a travel clinic) for my shots and only spent $150.
- Order travel accessories or clothing. I ordered a new rolling duffel/backpack, hiking shoes, and a lightweight/compressible sleeping bag.
- Pack. I start this early so I can see what I’ll need to purchase as far as clothing, toiletries, etc. and to see how much it weighs. Then, I unpack the things I’ll need before the trip or that will wrinkle easily.
- Research hostels/hotels and book. I decided not to rent a car in Cape Town (where I’ll be for four days before the group trip begins).
- Notify credit card companies and bank of your travel plans.
- Set up automatic bill pay if internet connections are questionable.
- Research things to do and book. For some activities, I wait until I arrive and decide upon. For example, I’d like to hike Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, but I’m not sure what the weather will be like, and am confident I can book it when I arrive, to hike a couple of days later.
- Type up itinerary to include contact information, time changes and currency conversions and leave a copy at home for family.
- Make photocopies of travel documents (e-ticket/health insurance/credit cards/debit card/passport/vaccination record/itinerary). Leave one at home and pack a copy in your suitcase. I also e-mail a copy of my passport and credit cards to myself.
- Download books to Kindle or other device.
- Update I-pod with music/books.
- Make appointments for hair and nails (I’m a girl)!
When you work full time, it’s important to get started on everything early, so that you don’t feel rushed at the end. You want to enjoy your trip and pre-planning puts your mind at ease!
I’ve had a request from a fellow blogger to list my expenses because he would like to eventually go on this trip…so here they are–
Tour (20% off – Last Minute Special) $2879
Airfare (Cincinnati has some of the $1768
most expensive air travel of anywhere)
Food/wine (Most food is included) $ 400
Trip Insurance $ 130
Hostel in Cape Town $ 209
Visas $ 150
Optional Excursions (approximate) $ 350
Transfers from/to airports $ 50
Don’t forget that I won’t have some of my usual expenses at home…food, gas and entertainment. So, I can take at least $750 off the total!
Of course, there were other expenses…passport update and pics $150, shots $150, luggage, $70, sleeping bag, $112, hiking shoes $68, clothing (fleece/2 shirts) $110, toiletries/misc. $50 = $710. But, I can use these things for other trips.
I may have left something off of this list…so much to do…if you can think of anything, let me know!