[Monique has just knocked out General Fang with a martial arts strike]
Passepartout: [astonished] She must be the eleventh tiger!
Monique La Roche: [curls fingers into claws] Meow.
I’m finally starting to breathe again.
The flights are reserved
Spa treatments are booked (at least one at each spa)
I’ve written my daily itinerary
My passport is good for six months after I get back and I’ve obtained the appropriate visas and shots (yuck) for each destination.
By the way, information for the documents and shots you need for each country is readily available at http://travel.state.gov
This site also contains current safety and health warnings for American travelers and what to do in case a crisis erupts while you are on the road – definitely keep these numbers close and the american embassy numbers, just in case.
Home Sweet Home
One thing is certain, I’ve got to come home sometime. It may sound silly, but the scariest thing about being away for nearly three months is who’s going to take care of my sweet spacat, Miro.
She is my writing buddy and used to having me around a lot. . . And believe me, I’d take her with me if I could, but it would stress her out so much (though some spas have treatments for pets) and that would be bad for her health.
Lucky me, one of my friends from dance is in between apartments and will be able to stay at the house while I’m off galavanting. Whew, now I won’t have to worry.
If this hadn’t materialized, I had a house sitter to call – like I really want a total stranger watching my house while I’m away! Who knows if Miro would have liked her, plus that’s another person knowing there’s a vacant house.
Another household task is I like to have the house cleaned. I usually do this before I leave, but since someone will be staying this time, I will arrange a cleaner to come a few days before I return, nothing like returning to my own sanctuary.
Finally, make sure any potential issues like water leaks, are attended to, as these things can escalate when one is away.
Safe and Sound
Which brings me to security – though it was really, really crazily hard to keep my chatterbox shut, I only told my closest friends and my mom and dad about my global spa sojourn. My dance class mates already think I do disappearing acts, but for three months – they are sure to be curious. So I’ll just roll with my rep.
I’ve gotta say that I think stopping the mail and making your house look deserted when traveling is a very bad idea. Because burglars often watch when postal workers skip houses – it’s a dead giveaway – and make your home a target. So do whatever you need to make it look as lived in as possible. Light timers, lots of different house sitters, keeping cars in the driveway, etc.
Money, money, money
Before You Leave
In terms of a trip that spans months, determine what your payments will be on credit cards and other bills for the number of months you are away. How much money you are going to need in your bank account to pay them? Make sure this amount is there before you leave.
The best way to handle this is to set up automatic payments via the internet or with your bank online. However, if you prefer not to do this or have an account that doesn’t offer this service, see if you can pay in advance or:
- Write 3 checks and address three envelopes for each creditor
- Carry these in your suitcase
- Write on Your Daily Agenda the date (2 weeks before due date) you need to mail to each creditor.
While you’re on the Road:
Though I hate carrying cash, be sure to have a couple of hundred dollars, enough to get you by and for taxis, if something were to happen and you could not find a bank or get to an ATM for a few days.
Make sure your credit cards will work in ATM’s abroad – call bank and credit card companies for advice regarding this.
Don’t forget traveler’s checks, though they’re not accepted everywhere, they are a low maintenance worry free way to carry extra spending money and it’s always good to have options.
I invite you to print my personal “Before I Go” checklist to manage pre-departure tasks. *Note: This is just a guideline, everyone has their own craziness to manage don’t they?
Next time, a special feature, Where Would Sarah Palin Spa, to be posted on Monday. Until then,
See you at the spa, Candy