Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Not much longer now!

Only 25 day left until My Great Britain and Southern Ireland tour! I am stoked!! I've been buying clothes/jewelery/other stuff for the trip like crazy, while still keeping the tight budget I put myself on in mind. I have finally started to relax a little bit about money. At this point, it looks like I will be pretty much set for the trip as far as money goes. I have already paid for the tour, the flight, the insurance, the pre-night and two post nights, and luggage (well actually I already had that.) I am thinking that by the time of the trip, I will have about 100 euros a day (so about 2500 euros) and 150 dollars in excursion vouchers, which I have heard is way more than enough. Plus, I will be bringing 2 other credit cards just for emergency money.

Still haven't figured out the phone situation...but my dad is supposed to be helping me with that. I don't know whether or not I had decided this when I last posted, but I am not bringing my laptop. I got all kind of cool new features on my itouch and a wall feature so its pretty much the same as a laptop, just 1/20th of the size. Which reminds me, I need to get more memory cards for my camera...

ANYWAY, It is finals week in school and my last final is on May 8th so after that, time will fly until the trip I'm sure. I was just thinking the other day how incredibly weird it will feel going on this trip alone... Flying from my home in Atlanta Georgia to New York by myself then catching another flight into London Heathrow then traveling to the hotel alone etc...weird. For the first night of my trip, I booked a single room at the Presidential Hotel (right across the street from the Imperial) so that I could have some time just to get settled before 17+ days of being around people/sharing a hotel room.

I've met about 6 people from my tour(the Great Britain AND southern Ireland), 2 from just the Great Britain portion and 4-5 from the Ireland portion from the online Meeting Place Forums. I wish I could meet more before we leave, maybe some more people will post. I have learned some new things already, for example, there are no squirrels in Australia and Australians get very excited to see them lol. Anyway, More posting to come as I get ready for My first Contiki Tour!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why not update a little bit!

OK, I've gotta say, I am SUPER excited! I can't freakin' wait for this trip. I am pretty sure that I am driving my friends and family up the wall because I talk about my upcoming trip almost everyday. The current countdown is at 35 days until I depart for London!

I am still kinda freakin' out about the money because I really want to be able to go through this vacation without having to watch every single penny I spend. Apparently, Contiki suggests that you bring somewhere around 70-100 Euros per day and that includes the optional excursions and buying souvenirs (which I am not that into, I'm going more for the experience rather than crap that is going to sit in boxes when I get home.) I also have earned $150 dollars in Contiki Optional excursion vouchers by attending webinars and such.

I have been buying some clothes before the stores get rid of all the spring stuff for summer because it is supposed to be a little cooler than Georgia's May. I am still trying to figure out how much dressy clothing/comfy clothing/casual clothing I am going to need for my trip, but right now it looks like I am going to be bringing, a few cotton spring dresses for exploring the cities, 2 pairs of jean, some casual shirts, a few t-shirts, and at least one dressy dress.

One of the big questions now is whether or not to take my laptop. On one hand, I am very attached to my laptop and I use it every day to check facebook, email, twitter etc. I can also store pics on it so I wouldn't need multiple memory cards, I could charge my itouch, I could update this blog, I could manage my money through online banking, watch movies on the bus, etc. However, the downside to taking it is, I have to lug it around, it takes up weight/space in my luggage (contiki has a strict limit) and MOST of all, I have read on the Contiki message boards that people have had the laptops stolen out of there hotel rooms or they have damaged them. What I am thinking about doing instead of taking my laptop is taking my itouch, since it can get online, and using it to check email/facebook/twitter, do short updates on blogs, listen to music/watch movies, and manage online banking. I can also get a outlet plug to charge it and it is small enough to carry in a purse. Also, heaven forbid I DO lose/get it stolen/break it, it isn't nearly as expensive to replace.

I was reading a book about women traveling solo and it suggested that you do some things before you go to prepare for the trip so it isn't so scary and such a shock being in an unfamiliar place. One of the top things it recommended was doing things solo such as movies and going to restaurants. I have always been a pretty independent person and I do have what my family calls an "internal compass" meaning that I am pretty good with finding my way around unfamiliar places. Thankfully I only have two days in London before my tour begins so I am hoping that by the end of the 17 day tour, I will be a little more comfortable with my surroundings and ready for the next 8 day that I have left to travel before heading back to the USA!

I still have a little more to say but since I am technically at work, I guess it should a little bit lol.

Post more later!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Getting Ready

Uggh, Forty six more days until I leave! It feels like sooo far away! I have been working hard on my Budget for the trip. I am getting kinda close to having enough money, so that is good. I have met 12 of the people that are going to be on the trip with me, so thats cool.

In case anyone is reading this that doesn't know what my plans for this trip are, It is a trip to Great Britain, Scotland, and Ireland. It is a Contiki bus tour that lasts 17 days, starting and ending in London. If you haven't heard of Contiki, It is a tour company for 18-35 year olds from all around the world. More specifically, the tour goes to London, Windsor, Oxford, York, Northumberland, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Scottish Highlands, Dublin, Kilkenny, Waterford, Chester, Wales, Galway, Cliffs of Moher, Killarney, Blarney, Cobh, Midleton, and Cashel. Wow, its going to be a very busy 17 days!! I leave on May 25th 2009 and I come home on June 20th (Almost a whole month! YIKES!)

So Basically, I am still booking hotels and activities while scraping for any penny I can get my hands on (not to mention, pulling for the dollar to stop sucking and raise in value a little bit!)

Anyway, I am going to continue to post every once in a while until I leave, and then I will try to post everyday I am gone about what I am up to!

Talk later!!