Saturday, March 26, 2011

Travel post #1 - By the numbers

Rather than make one giant post about my trip, I'm trying to break it down into pieces. During this adoption process, I have done a lot of blog reading and always felt that people should write more about their travel experiences for those of us who will come along later. Then I went and came home. And realized it's so overwhelming it's hard to put into words without trivializing it or writing a book so long no one will read. And I haven't had time to breathe since I got home with work being so busy.

So, this weekend, I'm going to get it out there. All those things I wish someone had told me before I went and also just the fun stuff. Maybe it will be helpful for someone out there on their way as well.

I took an extended trip rather than just straight in to Ethiopia. I couldn't go so far across the world and not visit my good friends Jon and Susan, living so far away in England and Israel. It made for a whirlwind tour but I wouldn't have changed a thing (except the mixup at the London Eye, but that's a whole other story).

Here's a glimpse of the tour from the sky...

Trip by the numbers:

14 days
4 continents
5 countries
31.5 flight hours
15,419 flight miles
7,726 ft - highest elevation in Addis Ababa
-702 ft - lowest elevation in Tiberius, by the Sea of Galilee
1.6, 16.6, 3.55 - dollar exchange rates for Pounds, Birr and Shekels
2 wonderful travel companions in my sister and brother-in-law
2 long distance friends visited for too short of a time
and finally, most importantly...
1 beautiful baby girl

Some things I forgot, didn't know or remember about traveling to far off places:

1. Write down your itinerary in one place, a convenient place and keep it in the same place for the whole trip. Boarding passes, tickets, passport, ID. All in one place safe from pickpockets but easy to access at the airport.

2. Keep a small bag inside your carry-on that includes the most essential airplane needs so that if you have to stow your carry-on (grr) you can pull it out easily and place in the seat pocket.

3. Keep in that small bag: a pen, or even two (customs forms!), neck pillow (blow up one was very handy), eye shade, book, camera

4. Tylenol PM and as much overnight travel as possible. Saved me from most if not all jet lag.

5. Have a plan for communication. Make a list of all the phone numbers and figure out ahead of time how to call them. Is it 011+number? 01+country+number? Good to know ahead of time so when you just got off an overnight flight and are in a strange place and no one is there to greet you, you don't get frazzled. Not that I did or anything :-)

6. A phrase book or a list of common phrases in whichever language spoken where you will visit. I'd have this list with my itinerary next time so it's all in one place.

7. Did I mention the Tylenol PM yet?

I'm sure there are many things I have already forgotten that I was going to document. These are at least the ones that stood out the most. That darn pen, I always forget one and then I can't fill out the customs forms on the plane. Argh!

What did I miss? What was the one thing you wish you had known before you traveled?

Next up, London...

1 comment:

  1. As one following along behind you I appreciate all the tips. Looking forward to tips for travel with baby too! I'm especially interested in (as a single mama) which trip you think would be best to travel with help, I'm thinking second trip for help with baby, and going alone on first trip?