So we were eating Sunday lunch at the pub and this woman decided to change her child's nappy on the adjacent cricket pitch...
We're planning to go to quite a few places:
The astute amongst you will gather that the above will cost a few bob which is true. I have tentatively renamed the whole affair the Halfway-Round the World Trip© to reflect the budget...
It certainly is aided and abetted by the rumours and scare stories generously passed on to us.
In the meanwhile, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Advice is a much more sober reflection on the state of affairs and kept up to date on a daily basis.
We started out with some stuff which was constrained by the safari limiting us to 15kgs (quite enough you might say).
General backpacking advice is to take three changes of clothes and some washing solution which is fine but what about the digital camcorder, digital camera, tri-band bluetooth phone, GPS...?
Naturally, the first packing attempt didn't have everything fitting into the rucksacks.
Should we get a bus ticket or walk?
The majority of the trip is with a Star Alliance Round The World airfare. In our case an Economy 39,000 miles for £1749 (September 2002). By comparison, we estimated that it would have cost over £5500 to buy the individual flights in the UK. There are a couple of other flights involved: some Emirates flights to and from Africa and some Visit South Pacific Air Passes.
The local Thomas Cook in Marlow has been very helpful to us (thanks to Therese and Gemma in particular) suffering our regular attempts to squeeze the last few drops out of the air fares.
D-day is Monday 30th September 2002, though we do fly to Paris and back on the 28th to initiate the Star Alliance ticket (don't ask).
"Bits and pieces" you might say.
On looking at the Lonely Planet description of the Maldives, Fiji/Tonga and Bali it became apparent that learning to scuba dive would make those places a lot more enjoyable. Hence a PADI Open Water Diver course at Diver Training Services, Bisham Abbey.
You don't want to be scared of needles if you're taking this trip:
|Hepatyrix||1||0||Hepatitis A and Typhoid combined|
|Mengivac (A+C)||1||21||Meningitis A and C combined|
|Japanese Encephalitis B||3||35|
|DipTet||1||0||Diptheria and Tetanus combined|
|Polio||1||0||a spoonful of medicine|
So that's over £300 involving seven or eight visits to the travel clinic over a three month schedule (they try not to burden you with more than two injections at once).
Naturally, it pays to shop around and look closely at what you're getting in terms of the duration of the protection offered. Having shopped around you'll discover the advice can be, um, different. Helen's whole course of HepB was £25 -- surely a clerical error, sadly I'd paid for my full course up front. The JapB had a different program, Helen had two injections and I had three (of an unlicensed product!).
Important note #1 is that the NHS doesn't do most of the above vaccinations except that it appears to supply the vaccine and the health centre gets to charge an injection fee which can vary quite wildly.
Surprisingly few visas have been required for this trip. Mostly the visas have been due to reciprocal arrangements with African nations (i.e. if it wasn't for the fact that we demand a visa for them to enter the UK then we wouldn't require a visa to enter their country). The other countries appear to be Australia and the USA, both of whom allow British tourists reasonably free access.
Generally, then, as a Briton, you get 90 tourist days everywhere on arrival except for:
|Australia - ETA||£10|
|Australia - WHM||AUD160|
WorldTravelGuide keeps a well informed site.
Stopping the milk is the easiest thing to do especially, as in our case, if you buy it from the supermarket. You just stop buying it. That's all, it's easy.
The car, the motorbike, the stereo, the computer... So the idea is to find some nearby friends who have more space, time or sense than they currently need and offload your stuff onto them. The problems start if you lose contact with them as you won't have much when you return.
Banks seem to have gotten the hang of the Information Age at long last. Even the phone companies are struggling into the 20th century.
Helen did mention that her bank had said that we might not get the access we need whilst abroad which foxed me for a minute until I remembered that some banking types like to force 128-bit keys around their SSL transactions for which you need and up to date browser. I guess we'll see how we get on.
One thing we haven't figured out yet is how to get money whilst abroad. I understand the rest of the world isn't quite like Europe when it comes to cash machine availability. We might have to, yikes, talk to someone in a bank!
Actually, an export of my IE Favourites.
Copyright 2002 Ian Fitchet. All rights reserved.