Getting down to the wire

13 Feb

With only nine days until departure, here’s a quick look at some things I’ve been thinking about:

  • Since I bought my ticket in early January, the value of the dollar vs. the rand has improved significantly — from 6.67 rand per dollar to 7.27. That will save me a few bucks.
  • Did you know that there are free international online faxing services out there? Here’s one: Free Fax Button. This has come in handy when making reservations because it’s safer to send credit-card info by fax than by e-mail.
  • I’m a little peeved by the policies of both Iberia and British Airways regarding seat selection. Both charge a fee to reserve seats in advance. Instead, you select them when you check in online 24 hours before the flight. If I end up getting stuck in middle seats for two 9-hours-plus overnight flights, I will not be a happy camper. (And how is it that American airlines have not jumped aboard this trend?)
  • The more I read about Iberia airlines, the more I dread the experience to come. Anybody ever flown them before? I guess that’s why the ticket was so cheap!
  • Among the last-minute things to put on the to-do list: Call credit-card companies to let them know you’ll be using the card in a foreign country, so it doesn’t trigger fraud alerts.
  • Yes, I am actually going cell-phone-less for two weeks. Is that even possible these days? Lots of people either rent one there or get a card to be able to use their own phone abroad, but I’m really looking forward to not having one.
  • I’m a firm believer in packing light, so all I’m taking is one overhead-sized roller bag. Edmonds’ own Rick Steves has always had good advice about this. I draw the line, however, at packing string so that I can dry my laundry (done in sink) in my hotel room. Key things to remember to pack: addresses for postcards sent home; copy of passport in case it’s lost or stolen; hat (for sun protection); plastic bags and Ziplocs; small book bag for day trips and for bringing gifts back home.
  • There’s one thing I’m sure I won’t forget to pack this time around, because I learned my lesson when I went to Costa Rica last winter: backup eyeglasses. I didn’t have them in Manuel Antonio, which sucked because I got knocked down by a rogue wave and my glasses were washed away. Fortunately it was near the end of the trip, so I was able to stumble home without them.

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