Flights, visas and a typhoid shot

As I close in on starting the first leg of my domestic journey, there are a number of things that I needed to have finished for the international part of my trip in January. In each of three cases, they proved to be more challenging than I had expected.

First up was getting my around the world ticket arranged. I knew which countries I was going to and in what order after more than 2 hours with a travel agent this spring. When it came time to book the ticket this fall, it turns out that the airlines didn’t want to deal with such a complicated ticket and politely ignored it. Instead, we ended up booking a series of single tickets. Surprisingly, that ended up saving me about $1,000 and resulted in some better connections. The down side is I won’t get a huge amount of frequent flier miles in one alliance and I’ll have to reconfirm tickets as I go. (You can click on my itinerary on my home page to see where I’m going).

Next up was getting visas. The travel agent steered me to a website that will process visas for a fee. The fee was very pricey but I decided that it would save me a lot of trouble and time since I’ll be on the road soon. I started filling out forms, got my passport photos taken and then realized there was more to this than I had thought. I needed to have evidence of my accommodations in Turkey, a bank statement to prove I could pay, and various questions I didn’t have answers for yet. Grrr. In a delightful coincidence, I ran into a well-traveled neighbor in town while taking a break from forms. I asked her if she knew of a hotel in Istanbul as I needed one for my visa. “You can get your visa at the airport”,she said. “What about for Nepal? Indonesia?” The story was the same for each country. “Check out the Lonely Planet and the embassy sites to confirm that”, she told me, and indeed, she was correct. I can get my visas at each of the airports. Great. Check that off the to-do list!

The last piece of the travel puzzle was my shots. I’ll get rabies shots in December (and the pharmacist jokingly said she’d get me a collar to go with them) but I needed to get my typhoid shot before I leave. I had one of these many years ago before I went to Mexico and I remembered my arm feeling like it weighed 50 pounds. Today I bravely went to the pharmacy to pick up the vaccine and bring it to the doctor’s office. Surprise. They don’t make the shots any more. Instead, I have 4 pills to take every other day until they are finished. Guess who will be bringing an ice pack onto the train on Friday with one more typhoid pill to take?

Now, to finish packing and just a few more errands…

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