Last Minute Checklist

Hello, Kitty :D

Hello, Kitty 😀

Random Observation/Comment #143: Weeks before I depart for these extended excursions, I have these restless dreams about forgetting random things that I’ve most certainly remembered packing.  It’s not like I dream about forgetting essential things (e.g., my passport or wallet) – no, those seem to be safe.  The dreams are always focused on rather insignificant items that could be purchased while I’m there goverseas.  I wake up in a nervous wreck because I forget a pair of nail clippers and I’m left me with long nails that really annoy me when I type on my laptop.  Another terrifying one is when all the socks I brought are in a state of perpetual wetness.  I try to dry them, but they’re always wet and I just lock myself in the room because I refuse to wear wet socks.  I think these nightmares are worse than the ones about serial killers, but maybe I’m just weird.

It’s hard for me to admit it, but there are more scary things than wet socks.  Besides the chance of your host harvesting your organs and stealing your money, there’s also the chance of just getting lost somewhere.  To minimize this chance, I’ve used Google Maps to print all of the maps of all of the locations I’ll be going in my first trip.  I covered the public transportation maps and used Street View to look for major landmarks near the entrances.  The search only takes a few seconds to pull up, and the image will definitely help increase expectations.

Anyway, that’s taken care of and I think I’ll be fine in terms of traveling, but I want to dedicate this entry to the essential miscellaneous activities that must be completed before leaving.  Firstly, there are items that I couldn’t keep packed for the two months my suitcase has been prepared.  This would include my toothbrush, shaver, and cologne.  Be sure to bring an umbrella and extra shoes that you may need for hiking or clubbing.

In terms of money, it’s important to have the correct currency in your country.  In my case, I will need British pounds, Euros, and Swiss francs.  Luckily, the rate has been very low (around 1.28 dollars to Euros instead of the December rate of 1.45).

Keep numbers of the US Embassy in each of the major cities you will be visiting. I have personally entered these into my iPhone, which I will keep internationally activated.  I don’t intend to use my phone on a regular basis, but I will activate it internationally for emergency calls.  Below are some details about using the iPhone internationally:

    • International traveling – (activate phone in country to receive calls and make calls to US) – AT&T World Traveler package
      • $6 per month to activate
      • For Germany specifically: $0.99 per minute (doesn’t matter US to Germany or within Germany)
      • For France: $0.99 per minute
      • Denmark: $0.99 per minute
      • Hong Kong: $1.99 per minute
      • Japan: $1.69 per minute
      • Netherlands: $0.99 per minute
      • UK: $0.99 per minute
      • China: $1.99 per minute
      • Direct number of international department: 1.877.707.9208 – use this to activate the service
      • Email:
    • International calling (activate US phone to call to international place) – AT&T World Connect – DO NOT NEED
      • $4 per month
  • Data plan: – DO NOT NEED
    • 20MB – $25 per month, overage rate is $0.005 per KB
  • Text messages – $0.50 per message sending out, $0.20 receiving
  • General travel tips:
    • Turn off data fetch and data roaming
    • Don’t use internet!!!
    • International roaming charges
    • Reset usage tracker to see how much data you’ve used

For credit and debit cards, you should call the company and tell them your travel itinerary so your card is not deactivated when you use it overseas.  Usually there will be 3% foreign transaction fees for card usage on top of the exchange rate, so I would suggest bringing cash and exchanging it there at a bank or post office.  International toll free numbers are available for additional questions while you’re overseas.

This particular blog entry was much more technical, but the mood should lighten during my travels.  I’m excited, but also quite sad.  I will miss all of my friends and especially my parents.  They’ve been very supportive and I cannot begin to believe how much they love me to let me go.  I will return in one piece with a new perspective of the world.  Thank you.

~See Lemons Triple Check