Time has really flown by recently but now the real checklists start to kick in. Cancelling various items such as the monthly garden refuse collection, at least one or two magazines and newspapers is straightforward enough, but then a little birdie told me about health insurance vs travel insurance. We elected to use our regular health insurance provider (Southern Cross) for an annual travel insurance policy, after doing a local internet search for the options. We normally take the insurance that is included in our annual credit card fees, but that has certain limits, one of those is the amount of time you are away and the other is that you must pay a fair proportion of your travel using the credit card.
These days, many companies (particularly in the travel sector) charge a 2% premium when you pay by credit card. As with most cards, ours attracts reward points or dollars, but as the reward value is less than 2%, it was a no brainer to pay by direct bank transfer.
The annual travel insurance policy was the equivalent of a little more than 3 months regular premiums, but we were allowed to suspend it for three months – but losing our ‘no claims bonus’ of $250. It still meant that the real cost of a very comprehensive travel insurance for multiple trips for 12 months was almost a bargain. However, we can’t suspend it again next year as that suspension deal cannot be invoked again within the next 12 months, or maybe it was longer?
The other bit of (possibly) useful information for travellers, also concerns credit cards. Before travelling on a world cruise – or anywhere overseas for that matter, it does pay to telephone your credit card company with a list of countries you will be visiting. Before you travel, you should also validate your credit card by using it in an appropriate local ATM machine and just check your balance. This validates your card before departure. On your return, you should repeat the procedure, but it may pay to have a bottle of smelling salts handy.
On a more personal level, we have almost finalised all the little travel links, with just two to confirm. The first is the Shuttle from Sydney airport to the City (oh what a boon the internet is for travellers..) and the final links are the shuttle from home to Auckland Airport and a shuttle from Miami International Airport down to Fort Lauderdale.
It always fascinates me that some companies are back to you within hours and others don’t seem be bothered about replying at all.
We’ll leave some of the details to the actual day such as the coach details from Dover to the car hire company at Heathrow. Not very cheap compared to the public coach from Dover to Victoria Coach Station maybe, but the chosen coach is directly from ship to the door of the hire company.
Paula has still to work through some of our side trip or tour options but we are well aware of the usual tourism 123 ABC mantra, Another B****y Castle, Another B****y Church, Another B****y Cathedral… Apart from maybe the Blue Mosque in Abu Dhabi (a new experience) most tours concentrating on the ABCs will be probably be given a wide birth.
Apparently the recent troubles in Egypt may now have settled down a wee bit, so at the moment, we are skipping Port Said, but with an extra day in Istanbul – which we are happy with, but others are more than keen to do the pyramids and were bitterly disappointed with the change. Who knows? We, like many others, are quite philosophical about the potential for hiccups and as long as we can still get on in Sydney, off in the UK and back on again in Fort Lauderdale, we’ll be happy enough.
Joanne has been busy designing our “Crazy Cruisers” logo and I have been personalising it for name tags, so at our first “Meet and Greet” leaving Sydney, those on the Cruise Critic message board roll call, will be able to speed up the friend making process quite considerably. However, I fear that the list of attendees is going to grow rather rapidly in the next 4 weeks as word gets around.
Skyping the UK and watching new grandson Noah grow so fast, has been a revelation and much as we are looking forward to setting off from Sydney and the various ports, I am also looking forward to that first cuddle with the only representative of the next generation of our family...