A Travellerspoint blog

2 weeks and counting

As the days grow longer

As I spend this week at a techinical conference and next week I travel for work it seems the days are getting longer and the list of things I need to do keeps growing! ;-)

All travel plans seem to be in place. I am getting some...but would always welcome more, suggestions on things to do and see when in the Land of Oz. There seems to be a variety of choices and I really want to make sure we see the important, memorable sites. Diving the Great Barrier Reef sounds like fun but where to start? There seems to be so many great places to dive. And where to eat? Cairns doesn't seem too but but once we get to Sydney I want to find the 'hot' spots to eat.

I think the packing list for clothes, dive and photo gear is close to complete. We have all the travel docs, passport, visa, plane/hotel and even Australian $$$ all ready...I just hope I haven't missed anything.

The in-laws arrive the day after I get home from my next trip and we leave two days after that.

Can't wait....

Posted by garciamag 16:45 Archived in Australia Tagged preparation Comments (0)

4 Weeks and counting

Saving money - Its all in the details

As we approach our departure date we are finding simple but interesting ways to save money. Everyone has heard of American Express and/or travelers checks right? Well, research tells us Austrailia isn't as fond of AMEX as they are of MC or Visa. I know that AMEX charges higher fees but what I didn't know is this translates to their comsumer/travel offerings as well.

We decided the safe way to travel was keep a minimum of money and use travelers checks and the AMEX debit style card. The fees seemed reasonable, $14.50 per card and services charges. But we found out that AAA (Automobile Association of America) offers the very same features for much less using a MC or Visa logo on the card thus making it more acceptable for travel. If you are outsite the US you might check with your local travel organization to see what offerings they might have.

Since this is a 'big' trip we decided we should have travelers insurance just in case. Again, AMEX and others have reasonable insurance rates but by checking around we were able to insure our trip for a fraction of what the big names were charging. The company that underwrites our insurance is a big name, here in the US, so we didn't undercut ourselves but were able to save considerable money by shopping around.

The exitement level is rising as we get closer and the details are falling into place.

Posted by garciamag 13:20 Archived in Australia Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (1)

5 weeks and counting

Its beginning to look like this trip might actually happen.

Okay, first let me say this is my first blog of any sort. Second, I never needed a passport before this trip despite visiting Canada and Mexico in the past. Now, of course, you can't visit those countries without a passport but things were easier in days past.

The neat thing about this trip is how much I am not 'paying' for. With many days on the road for work those airmiles began to pile up even though the standard trip for me was less than 1000 miles each way. You can imagine then how hard getting to gold status (thank you Alaska Air) is with short trips. I even asked one of the executives during a gold member luncheon who benefited the airline more the longer trippers or those of us that pounded out dozens of flights to make the grade? Of course they appreciate both types of travellers and I am glad since those miles are paying for two tickets to Australia. I actually accumulated plenty to make the tickets Business class but wouldn't you know it, there wasn't a seat to be had in 1st or BC for a month in either direction of our planned departure.

Well beggars should not be choosy. I am happy to be headed there with only a few dimes, well okay $100, of my money to get there.

The second benefit is having a time share that has locations in the places of Oz that we wanted to see. I really wanted to dive the Great Barrier Reef and see Sydney. With another stop in between we have the rooms covered so no hotels to deal with.

As we close in on the 5 week before departure, everything seems to be in order. Passports, insurance, babysitters all on track. A month off of work, check. I don't have a problem with that either since I just donated (read had taken away) 4 weeks from last year since I was over my limit of stored vacation.

As I checked the web for helpful hints I found Travellerspoint and was amazed that all of this wonderful information, and people, were right here. And I didn't have to sit through ads or pop ups. I guess I'll have to give something back one my trip is over to help others the way Traverspoint has helped me.

Well this is it for my first log. More as things get going.

Michael

Posted by garciamag 17:13 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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