Time is going too slowly but also very quickly. Suddenly it is just 4+ months to departure date and there is plenty to do and plenty to pay!

We sat down earleir this week and worked out our finances and commitments for the next 4 months. It was a bit scary but also very comforting as we now have a clear path to follow to be sure that we can achieve what we are looking forward to on our trip to see the Northern Lights.

Some other things that I have done in the last couple of weeks are 

  1. Update the expenses spreadsheet following the discussions we held this week. The nearer one gets to departure the more money that needs to be paid out. For this particular trip, these include the 2nd half of the cost of our Nordic tour, the Rail pass and our visas.
  2. I visited the Spanish embassy agency in Durban last week to confirm where they are situated and to ensure that all that I have gleaned from the website is correct and sufficient.  Although we will be able to apply for visas any time after 19 September, 90 days before we leave, it is not that simple.  There is a lot of documentation which has to be produced including confirmation of our tour, **faxes – not emails – from our booked accommodation venues, air tickets, insurance, 3 month bank statements and proof of travel bookings within the countries ie our Eurail Global Pass. Over and above that are our passports, proof that we are retired and have property or other firm links to South Africa. It quite amazes me how we, who are honest, go through all these processes to prove that we just want to travel to a particular place for a holiday and so many thousands of others enter countries illegally
  3. Visited the tourist sites of the places we will be visiting so as to have actual details such as addresses, contact nos., opening hours and costs of entry. We are aware that this information is available in the particular cities and places of interest but it is most helpful to have it available in advance. There is also a caution to this preparation – don’t be too definite about what you will do in each place as there are various ways in which the plan may not work out.  See my article on Best Laid Plans

**Obtaining these faxes is not an easy exercise as with many of the offers allow the option of to not pay until arrival at the hotel and cancellation is possible up to 6pm on the expected date of arrival.  I can understand that this does have problems for the hotels and so when asked for a fax of confirmation, many of them will not give this and want total payment upfront. So far I have received 4 of 6 possible responses an only 1 has given the confirmatory fax.

As you can see, as time passes both the type and cost of planning gradually increases but it also becomes more exciting as just the idea of being on holiday is able to raise one’s happy endorphins and we all need that in our lives.