It’s Sunday night and, with just four weeks until I finish work, my head is starting to spin.

I’ve been for a trip to the supermarket tonight to purchase my special “travel pack” of toiletries. I’ve got everything except razor blades. Oh, I do hope they have my favourite brand of Gilette Razors in Europe! And I did my second “pretend pack” and everything seems to fit.

I’ve also begun to think about how I’m gonna spend all those hours on the plane getting there. I’m an EXCELLENT long distance sleeper and I could easily do the standing up sleep commute they do in Japan.

But I get bored easily and I’m not very good at reading on planes. Actually I am quite good, but I read very quickly, so I’m worried I’m gonna have to take half my book-case with me.

So just in case I’ve begun to look through my mp3 collection. I think I’m gonna go predominantly with talking books in preference to music. Although I’m gonna have some signature tunes to listen to on arrival such as “I Love Paris” and “Stockholm i natt”, I think the books will be best for the long flights, as I can have someone gently read me to sleep.

I hope I don’t snore too much on the plane and I hope I get to sit next to someone nice.

Oh, and I’ve been checking out the value of the Australian dollars against the US Dollar, the Euro and the Swedish Kronor.

To those of you with a better financial brain than mine, how does it look? I need the AUD squiggly line to keep going down, don’t I? Should I try a last minute currency trade in Yen?

Damien recommends travellers cheques as well as cards. Anything else I should think about?

4 Replies to “Countdown”

  1. Erm… is your ticker still correct and you’ve got 5 weeks before you leave?! I normally do the “pretend pack” about 5 hours before I leave and the “real pack” just before the taxi shows up! :)

    Anyway, yes on those graphs you want it to go down – but it’s more common to show it the other way around to show what you get for your one australian dollar so on most graphs you want it to go up!

    My opinion on Traveller’s cheques is that they are fine, but not much safer or cheaper than using credit cards and your eftpos card in ATMs (and I’m not organised enough to buy traveller’s cheques in advance – see above!). They’re great in the US where you can use them in shops, but you can’t do that in Europe. Ask your bank which foreign banks they have relationships with as the charges will be lower – eg Westpac is with Barclays and the Banque Nationale de Paris.

    Click here for some cheesy “welcome to Paris” music! :)

    Bonne voyage!

  2. I recommend travellers cheques as part of a mix of options, including cash and cards. The biggest advantage, in my opinion, is that if you buy them when the A$ is strong (like now) then you’ve locked in a good rate, no matter happens in the future. If China decides to tank and world commodity prices crash, then the A$ will head south very quickly too…

    And if you buy Amex cheques (also available through Westpac), they have partner banks throughout Europe where you can exchange them fee-free at the other end. This sounds more complex that it is – I swapped some over at a local bank in Barcelona without a hassle despite me speaking no spanish and the teller no english.

    All it takes is a little bit of planning. But knowing how much thought you’ve put into this trip I know that won’t be a problem for you!

  3. Hi, I bought traveller’s cheques on my last overseas trip but didn’t end up using them. The good thing about them would be that if (buddha forbid) you were robbed of all your cash, cards and cheques you could go to an Amex place (if there is one nearby and as long as you have your cheque numbers recorded somewhere) and get some money. Another a-n-a-l travel tip would be to email yourself your important documents (eg. scan your passport, ID etc) to a hotmail or yahoo account so that you have a copy of them – just in case. Also noise canceling headphones are great for long plane trips if you want to spend the $.

  4. Thanks Tom, Damo and Rozie. OK, so the advice is maybe get a couple of hundred dollars worth of travellers cheques as an emergency. I’m with Commonwealth and I notice they also have a travellers card now. If I could be bothered reading the 45 page pdf download I’m sure I might be interested in finding out more about those too! And yes Rozie, I’ve already scanned and emailed far too many documents to my google account. I like the sound of noise cancelling headphones. I fear for the people next to me though, as I’m a bit of a snorer. I just know staying in some hostels I’m gonna clear the room, quickly becoming known as “that old fat gay bloke who snores”. Hhehehehe

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