Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Logistics of All This

When we tell people what we are doing on this year-long walkabout.  We get one of two reactions.  One is that we are totally bonkers.  Others are envious, but shake their heads at the complexity of it all.

I will add to this from time to time as things come to mind.

So here are some things:

Personal documents:  We had to make sure that our passports were up to date.  Also, Bruce's driver license was about to expire and he had to get it renewed when we passed through California in November.  Permission to enter Chile and Argentina is obtained on arrival at the airport.  We want to go to Iguazu Falls, and that can mean crossing into Brazil.  We already have five-year visas for Brazil, so that is not a problem for us.  If you want a Brazilian visa, you will have to go a Brazilian consulate and go through the same treatment that we give Brazilians at our consulates there.  $130 and ten working day delay while they hold your passport.  No way around it.  The blogs say that many American tourists only do the Argentine side of the falls because they didn't address the visa issue in time.

You should make photocopies of the photo pages of your passport in case you need to go to a U.S. embassy or consulate to get a replacement.  You should put those photocopies in your checked baggage when you fly.

Lodgings:   The idea of this walkabout is to live in places like residents as opposed to tourists.  So we have tried to get places with kitchens as much as possible.  Also washing machine and hopefully a dryer.  Going out to restaurants all the time gets old, and self-service laundromats are often hard to find overseas.  Every place that we reserved was found by Penny on www.tripadvisor.com and then reserved by going to the place's own web site.

Car rental:  Shop around on this.  For the Eastern United States part of this, we had originally thought to rent a car in the New York area and return it in Miami.  It turned out to be cheaper to fly to Baltimore and then to Miami, and rent cars at each of those places.  This was a big surprise.  When we went around the world in 2008, we got a very good price on a one way car rental from San Francisco airport to the Newark airport.   So you need to investigate this rather carefully.

Maps:  Penny prints out driving directions from Google Maps, or from Via Michelin if we are in Europe. We recycle the paper after using the directions.

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