Sunday, July 26, 2009

Getting Ready to Travel

After all the months of waiting and planning, it's hard to believe that our trip to Germany starts on Tuesday. We haven't been back to Germany for about three years, and so the level of excitement and anticipation is high. Even the thought of having to do the airport security kabuki dance, followed by eight hours spent jammed into Spanish Inquisition-quality airline seats seems almost bearable.

But there are lots of things you have to consider when taking a long trip, and even more when that trip is to an overseas destination...

- Passports up to date, and any visas needed? (Yes, and no)

- Is the airline still in business? (So far)

- Practiced looking innocent at passport control? (Yes)

- Arrange to stop the mail and newspaper deliveries? (Yes to both)

- Will key electrical devices work on the voltage available at the destination? (Yes, and I have plug adapters so that our American-style two-blade grounded plugs will fit European two-pin outlets. Useful information here)

- Will our cell phones work in Europe? (Still need to find this out, but not having a digital leash for two weeks isn't necessarily a bad thing)

- Laptops charged and loaded with the desired family history files, games, movies, etc? (Yes)

- Puzzle books and reading material for the airplane and train? (Yes)

- Camera charged and ready, equipped with large-capacity memory card and card reader for the laptop? (Yes)

- Travelers' checks bought, enough Euros for the initial expenses on arrival obtained, and credit cards ready to go? (Yes to all)

- Desired clothing and shoes cleaned, folded, and ready to pack? (You don't know Agnes very well, do you? It's not the absolute last minute yet)

- Can Bilbo lift the suitcases onto overhead train racks without incurring his third hernia? (Stay tuned)

- Ensured we're still on speaking terms with Agnes's cousin we planned to stay with for a few days? (Yes)

- Made sure the rest of the family knows how to reach us in an emergency? (Yes)

Okay, I guess we're ready.

Now, some of you have asked about whether I'll be posting the blog and my Facebook page while we're gone. I plan to try to update more or less regularly, but I'm not sure we'll have Internet connectivity until we reach our hotel in Singen. Worst case - you might have to wait until we get back on August 12th...but you'll manage. Mike and Amanda, Andrea, and John and Fiona will keep you entertained. And I'll come back with pictures! And stories! And observations and cranky gripes and other stuff!

And the beauty of Internet travelogues is, of course, that you can just surf someplace else when you get bored.

Okay, the countdown has started. Visit here tomorrow and Monday for the final pre-departure flails.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

7 comments:

Amanda said...

LOL! You sure do a lot of preparing for your trips. Don't forget to throw some sticky tape into your hand luggage. You never know when you might need some ;)

bandit said...

Check the weight of each piece of luggage. If you go over you will pay big to get them on the plane.

John said...

Have a great time. I hope the guys working you out of DC aren't on their mandatory overtime day due to the short staffing caused by the FAA's management practices...oops, probably didn't want to hear that.

Mike said...

Called the credit card company so the don't turn your card off after the first purchase overseas?

Melissa B. said...

Ella Numera Una just returned from 2 weeks in Europe. I've never seen so much dirty laundry in my life! At least her "electornics" worked. We learned last year from the sister's trip to Spain last summer. She managed to blow out an entire hotel with her hairdryer...twice!

Mike said...

Called the credit card company so THEY don't turn your card off after the first purchase overseas?

Leslie David said...

I can arrange for a phone with Verizon that has the sim card for use in Spain and Portugal. You might be able to get by with being out of the net, but I need to make sure my parents can contact me.

Euros--where are you getting them, your bank?

Did you have to go through the security briefing and give an itinerary because you're a contractor on foreign soil?

On my way up to NY going to BWI I got the complete search, the X-ray, patdown etc. and this is what I can't figure out--every time I fly I get this, and they say it's random--it's not random when it happens everytime. The less I wear the more I get searched. I was wearing jeans, a T shirt and underwear--you've seen me in jeans, what else did they think I had with me?