Is this even real life?!
I bought my plane tickets back in April thinking that I'd have all the time in the world to plan, but holy cow did that sneak up on me!
There are two kinds of people when it comes to planning vacations - people who take it a day at a time, and people who want to have every day planned out weeks ahead of time.
I studied event planning, so it's usually pretty safe to say I hang out with the latter camp more often. But with this trip, I don't know what happened. I think I kept on procrastinating because this trip is the "dream trip", and perfectionism and procrastination go hand in hand. You want everything to go as perfect as it does in your head, but the thought that something might go differently stunts the whole planning process.
Needless to say, if I'm going to start booking stuff I should probably start doing it soon!
Planning aside, there are a number of things that need to happen before I can even set foot on an airplane. Today I took some time to start working on those pieces. Things like:
- Checking to see if my health insurance would cover me if I got hurt while abroad
- It does! I'm covered for ER visits. I'd have to pay up front and then fill out a claim form, but I'd be reimbursed later. The goal is not to have to use the ER.
- Reviewing things I've bought or already own that will be needed
- I bought space bags and XL/XXL Ziploc bags for my clothes (look how happy the model is to be able to organize those items!)
- I bought neoprene draw-string bags for my various camera lenses, which will go in my recently purchased camera bag
- I unlocked my old mobile phone and bought a prepaid SIM card, which should last me until I can grab an international SIM card in England for cheaper
- I found my old power adapter and all of the attachments
- Making a list of things I need to buy
- I should probably get new luggage, considering the zippers on the family luggage pieces are being held together with paperclips (seriously, not even kidding)
- The host has requested two bottles of California wine (one white, one red), a selection of See's Candies, and a number of over-the-counter drugs that aren't easily purchased in England
- I need to exchange some USD for some GBP. Right now the conversion is $1 USD = £0.64 GBP - yikes.
- Managing my flight booking
- My passport is valid, but it is currently locked in a (practically) indestructible safe. This means I have to wait for the owner of the safe to open it up for me before I can submit that information to the airline.
- I originally wanted to upgrade from premium economy to first class. (It's the dream trip - go big or go home, right?) In April, and up through June I was able to purchase that extra upgrade for $1k each way. I checked to see if the price had gown down at all and my jaw dropped - it's nearly $8k to upgrade now! No clubhouse, flat-lying bed, or bottomless drinks for StephCa.
- Reviewing transportation options
- I was formerly a ZipCar member, which I recently discovered is operating in England too! I'm still weighing renewing my ZipCar membership against a regular car rental, and even longer train rides.
- There are SO MANY TRAIN LINES just in London! I've been studying the map every day and been practicing identifying which stations are in which zones.
And these are all things off the top off my head from today alone!
I think later this week I'll start putting together plans of what I want to do once I'm there. I know my first two or so days while I'm jet lagged I'll want to hang out in Cambridge where I'll be staying. The friend I'm staying with has been going to the university there so they'll know all the ins and outs by now. I've got a ticket for a show on August 31st, and I'm helping my host move into a different apartment the following morning. Other than that, my schedule is pretty wide open!
I'll be in Britain for just about two weeks, so I'm hoping that I'll have enough time to see everything I want to see - I just need to figure out what it is I want to see first!
Note: I say "Britain" because the idea is to travel to Scotland and (maybe, hopefully) Wales as well. No Ireland this time ):