After saying ‘We leave so soon!’ for months, the time has finally come to stop working, pack up our apartment, pack our bags and say goodbye to Brooklyn. And with our departure just about two weeks away, the not-so-fun trip planning logistics are making themselves known. Here is some of the fun things we’ve been dealing with:
There are the ‘big things’: Insurance, prescriptions, vaccinations, moving out of our apartment, and packing our backpacks, actual trip planning, taxes! – more on these below
And then the small things: STEP registration (registering with embassies abroad), mail forwarding, subscription / membership cancelations, figuring out tech situation (update: we bought Chromebooks and won’t have a mobile plan), setting up this blog, finishing up work (maybe this is a big thing too)
The big things:
We never questioned getting travel insurance, but what we hadn’t given much thought to was insurance back home. We have both been fortunate to have great health coverage through our employers since the time we started working, so COBRA alternative options were a bit of a wakeup call. This led us to exploring some other options and I think Will and I can both say we know more about health insurance both in the US & travelers than we would like.
Oh vaccinations… a necessary evil in my opinion. Given our recent trip to South Africa we already were covered with our Hep A & Typhoid vaccines. We also both recently got a Tetanus shot also the Flu shot (if you’re interested). After that vaccines for where we are going are ‘optional’ so to say. Since we don’t have our trip fully mapped out, it’s hard to know how much time we will be spending in rural areas (i.e. we hope do so some longer, overnight hikes, but who knows) or the time period in each place, it’s hard to know how necessary some of the other vaccinations are. We do have some malaria pills, they won’t cover the entire trip, but should suffice if needed.
Then there are things like Rabbis & Japanese Encephalitis. These are harder ones to make a call on, in large part because they are incredibly expensive! I know I know, if we were to get the disease we would never look back on getting the vaccine, but it would also be nice to have that money in our pocket. In the end, we were a bit late going to the travel clinic, so wouldn’t be in the states in time to get the full course of the Rabies vacc, so that made the decision for us (sorry animals, no love for you on the road). --- Update we found out these vaccines are much cheaper if you get them abroad! So rabies vaccine in Japan may be in our future after all.
Big question, what to do about prescriptions while traveling for so long???!! This one really is Maya’s frustration and not Will’s. What do I do about iron supplements? What do I do about my face wash? My birth control (TMI sorry)??? Fortunately for the ones that matter, I was able to get enough to last the duration of our travels. Sorry skin, you might not be looking so hot when we get back!
Packing stuff to leave
I hate moving. I don’t know that anyone does, but I have always actively avoided it. Fortunately, this time, it’s for good reason and has been a great excuse to get rid of stuff. We have been doing all we can to start getting rid of things, but until we are putting clothes, dishes, etc. into boxes, it will feel like there is a ton to do.
My strategy: First back backpack (to take to Asia), then pack small suitcase to leave with my parents in Brooklyn, then apartment can be put away!
Packing stuff to take
Oddly, this is something I’m really excited about. I did my first ‘mock pack’ last week so see how everything will fit into my bag. Good news, it all fits!! Bad news, I have a feeling I’m still taking too much and will need to do a lot of re-planning before we leave.
The last few weeks have involved lots of trips to REI and the like to buy things like travel cubes (I am getting very excited for organized travel), bug spray, etc.
Obviously there is a lot of planning that has gone into the actual packing of stuff so will dedicate a separate note to that.
Actual trip planning
We’re just winging it once we land in Tokyo…. JUST KIDDING. We would never. Actually, our Japan trip is fully planned, at least when it comes to lodging (and Sumo!). We wanted to make sure we got the best, affordable accommodation, and felt like this was one country we could schedule. While we don’t have every day planned to a T, we have received a ton of recommendations and AMAZING advice from our friends at Amelia Travel Concierge.
We’ll be doing most of our planning as we go, so stay tuned.
Probably wasn’t wise to plan this in the midst of tax season. Definitely not something we considered in timing, and just less than ideal to deal with along with everything else.