Just 30 days and then we are up, up and away to Lisbon, Portugal where we will spend a week on the first leg of our 3-month trip.

We have reached the point where all the major bookings i.e. air tickets, cruises, accommodation and visas, have been finalised with the exception of 2 more visas and 3 more flights. The 2 visas are for 2 day stops in New Caledonia and 1 in Greenland. The first is a French territory and Greenland a Danish one but as they are not on the continent they are not Schengen countries. Interestingly, Iceland which is Norwegian and also not on the continent is a Schengen country so we don’t need a separate one for there.

There are a number of smaller but very important things to do in this final preparation period. If they are not done we won’t be able to truly relax and enjoy our holiday.

As applicable to ourselves they are:

  1. International Drivers’ Licences – these are for our self-drive tour of a New Zealand (NZ) and probable drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles down the California Pacific Highway. Although Trevor will be driving it is important that I also have a licence as a backup.
  2. Foreign Exchange – now that we have our visas and proof of accommodation we need to go to the bank and purchase US, Australian and NZ dollars and Euros. Although we will be using our Credit and Debit cards for most purchases it is always necessary to carry cash in the local currency for taxis, tips for people who assist at airport and, hotels as well as tour guides and to purchase small items. Using one’s credit card can be easy and quick but an international purchase always carry an extra cost over and above the exchange rate.
  3. First Aid Pack – we always carry one wherever we go as do most people who leave home for any length of time but being away for 3 months it is necessary to ensure that there are sufficient of all items for trip. Related to this is the fact that we both have chronic medication and we must purchase a 3-month supply. NB: A person must have a doctor’s prescription for any prescribed medication with which one travels. The chemical name rather than the brand name of the drug should be used where possible.

Then there are the more mundane things which must be done. Items such as cancelling newspaper deliveries and calculating 3xmonthly payments such as utilities, rates, telephone, levies etc so that these can be paid in advance. In addition, to ensure that there will be sufficient funds in our daily accounts for any debit orders which are taken off monthly. It is so often the regular daily, weekly and monthly commitments that are forgotten.

Another thing that we have to start thinking about is what to pack. Last week I was asked how to decide what to pack when travelling for 3 months and going to a number of different climates. As usual we shall pack as little as possible but ensure we have enough to wear and keep comfortable. As I have written in a previous blog, other travellers don’t notice what you wear. It is your holiday to enjoy and that is just what we plan to do.