• Rick Sack

Preparation for a Destination

Photo credit - Keith Zhu

The value of preparation has really hit home for me in the last few weeks. For our 50th wedding anniversary in 2020, my wife and I wanted to do something special to celebrate. We enjoyed a cruise to Alaska several years ago and have always wanted to see Australia and New Zealand, so we settled on a three-week cruise and land tour of these two exciting places.

Although our actual anniversary is in September, we wanted to visit during summertime in the southern hemisphere so we booked a trip for January. These tours fill quickly so we paid our deposit six months ahead of time and started our preparations. Actually, we had been saving our money for our anniversary celebration for a while, so I guess you could say we had been preparing even before our final decision.

Photo credit - Ondrej Machart

There has been a lot to do. Our first task was to get our passports and visas. That involved filling out forms and making a trip to the post office for filing and getting pictures taken. We had to check our wardrobe for summer clothes so we could add anything lacking before the stores all cleared room for fall and winter stock. We had to budget what we had saved into categories so we knew how much we could spend above and beyond the payment to the cruise line.

A particularly dicey task was arranging transportation to Sydney where the tour begins. We managed to get tickets from Traverse City to Sydney with stops in Chicago and Los Angeles, then had to rebook when the airlines changed their flight schedule.

Our medical insurance coverage and getting our vaccinations up to date were other items that required checking into. And making sure we had international coverage on our cell phones. We also needed to get an adaptor for the different electric outlets in Australia and New Zealand.

To avoid lost luggage and baggage checking charges, we had to plan our packing to fit into carry on luggage and backpacks. That involved making lists and test packing. Then we had to print out boarding passes and luggage tags for the cruise ship.

To throw a monkey wrench into the whole process, my wife got a summons for jury duty to be served three days before we are scheduled to leave. After a worrying weekend, we called on a Monday morning and found out she only has to serve one day, so we are still good to go.

Photo credit - Casey Horner

We are now a little over a week away from departure and I think we are on track to go without incident. No doubt we will have forgotten something, but thorough preparation has me convinced that it will be minor. Now we only have final packing, which we will do a day or two ahead of time, left to do. I just hope that something out of our control, such as weather, doesn't interfere. Whew, that's a lot of work to enjoy three weeks of relaxation, but good preparation helped us minimize the stress. I hope I come back with pictures as good as those on this post.

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