Travel-prep is a full time job

30 Oct

Guidebooks, Passport & Visas

If you think that going on an Asia trip is pure leisure and relaxation, you are WRONG. As soon as I had booked my ticket, it dawned to me that it involves lots of hard work! I all of a sudden realised that I had to do quite some planning and (the most difficult part) deciding.
  • Info: I didn’t have a clue where to go and what to do.
  • So I started ordering all kinds of guidebooks (LP South East Asia on a shoestring), phrasebooks (in case English is not as widely spread as I would like) and country guides (Culture Smart, Culture Shock books). Another thing is to find time to read those books…
  • I also hooked up with friends that have been to South-East Asia to pick their ideas, and then have lots of pages full of ideas, on top of hundreds of pages of guidebooks. (Thanx to you all)

Aha- Asia is not Europe… You can’t just go wherever you want – you need a passport and visas to show you are ‘a good person’.

  • And of course getting a new passport involves waiting in line and forcing a smile to slow & rude civil servants. And not to forget the cursing at passport picture automats.
  • I also needed to start organising visas for Laos & Vietnam – and they require to decide the month you want to visit – didn’t have a clue, but had to commit.

And I would like to stay alive during my travel

  • So I needed to get all kinds of vaccinations and medications: japanese encephalitis, the whole alphabet of hepatitis, rabies, tetanos, anti-malaria pills etc (very expensive business)
  • Linked to this, I had to sort out my health insurance and get additional insurance for all kind of dramas, earthquakes, flooding, illnesses, repatriation,…

A human being is a social animal

  • So I also started connecting to people (via internet) from different countries that I would be visiting, to have a bit of interaction along the road.

Packing for the tropics is not the same as travelling Europe

  • So I started creating a list of things to buy or organise: a netbook for blogging on the road, photo camera, backpack, musquito net, emergency lists of embassies, etc etc etc
  • It very much comes down to THINK, THINK, THINK

PS If you have suggestions about what to take (or not) let me know ! (e.g. you think I’ll surely forget, or that you missed on your travels, or what you found practical, etc) Thanx a million!

And on top of that I will be renting out my apartment, so i need to pack my personal stuff, create space in my cupboards and wardrobe, organise payments for when i am gone, repaint and clean, etc etc etc

So if you think going on holidays is easy & fun… think again ;-)


One Response to “Travel-prep is a full time job”

  1. Anu 9 December 2008 at 13:21 #

    Just one thing that I didn’t see on your list. You foreign ministry probably has a register of Belgians abroad. It may be wise to get in touch with them or Belgian embassies in the countries that you will be visiting. I don’t know how your system works, but I do consular work for another country, and we have a register which allows us to get in touch with all citizens in case there is a natural disaster or something. You can just imagine how many people called our ministry after Mumbai attacks, and it helps to know where to start looking for a person that friends or family has reported missing.

    Man, you lucky bastard. I wish I could take off too. Enjoy!

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