Thursday, September 15, 2011

Massive To-Do List before the Backpacking Trip

I looked at the calendar today and it's the 15th of September. This same day next month, I will be taking my flight out of the Philippines for a six-month backpacking trip around south and southeast Asia. I have declared my reasons, made the travel resolutions and planned the itinerary. It is definitely invigorating and satisfying knowing that I got this far. There is just one thing I have to do. Well, more like 50. Before the all this travel begins, preparations have to be done. I have exactly thirty days.

Travel Insurance1. Call insurance agent to get a quote.
2. Deposit payment for insurance.
Will opt to have my phone on roaming for the whole trip
1. Call bank to ask if topping up phone through online banking is possible while abroad.
2. Top up your phone two days before leaving.
3. Activate roaming capabilities two days before leaving.
Finances1. Call credit card company to inform them I will be traveling abroad. (They might block transactions I do abroad thinking my card has been hacked or whatever.)
2. Call bank to inform them I will be traveling abroad. (I don't know. Do I have to?)
3. Buy some US Dollars to cover first few weeks.
4. Ask people for spare change in SG Dollars. (Yes! I do not want to buy even a few SG Dollars at the airport to get to the city. Spare me some of yours?)
Packs & Things1. Buy backpack. DONE!
2. Buy security pouch. DONE!
3. Buy toiletries pouch.
4. Buy packing cubes. (Been hearing a lot of raves for these. Fast becoming a travel necessity Organizes the mess that is your big backpack.)
5. Buy earplugs. (Necessity for budget travelers. Am I right or am I right?)
6. Buy sleeping mask. (Friend has offered to give me hers. Score!)
7. Buy Philippine flag bagtags. (This blog is named Walk Fly Pinoy. Plus, I will be traveling through Asian countries. I want to signal to other travelers that even if I look like one, I am not a local. That is if my big backpack doesn't give it away first.)
8. Buy altimeter cum thermometer. (Still thinking if I need it. Quite expensive. But it'll prove useful while I'm in the Himalayas, right?)
9. Buy toiletries.
10. Decide if you need sleeping bag. (Some say no need to bring one. I'm not sure if I need to. It's just comforting to know I will always have clean and comfortable sheets at night. What do you think?)
11. Buy universal adaptor. (Will bring quite a handful of gadgets. I need an adaptor just in case.)
12. Buy duct tape. (Most definitely a necessity.)
13. Buy headlamp.
14. Buy waterproof bags. (For my gadgets, of course.)
Just additional articles of clothing. What I feel will be most useful.
1. Buy one dry-fit shirt.
2. Buy one pair of jeans. (Yes, jeans! I like them, thankyouverymuch!)
Health & Hygiene1. Get list of medicines (for common tourist ailments) from a friend who is a doctor. Get the prescriptions, too.
2. Buy medicines in the list. Have them reimbursed through your company insurance. (Can I say score again? Score!)
3. Organize your first-aid kit.
4. Go to the dentist and have teeth cleaned and spruced up before leaving. (Will milk this company insurance while I still can.)
5. Get a haircut.
Camera1. Buy two camera batteries. (I will be going to the Himalayas. The cold climate drains out batteries faster and I don't know if I'll get to charge them at all.)
2. 4GB SD Card (I already have a 16GB and a 4GB. Wouldn't hurt to get an extra.)
PC1. Back up files and leave them inside the laptop at home.
2. Back up files in Dropbox / Mozy. While you're at it, study how these things work.
3. Back up important documents in Google Docs.
Documents & Immigration
Note that for most of Southeast Asia, I will not need a visa since I am a holder of a Philippine passport.
1. Prepare requirements and apply for Indian Tourist Visa at Indian Consulate in Manila.
2. Prepare requirements for Indian Transit Visa. (To apply at the Consulate in Kathmandu. Leaving Nepal to re-enter India through New Delhi onwards to Bangkok, Thailand.)
3. Prepare requirements for Nepali Tourist Visa.
4. Print plane and train tickets.
5. Reprint passport ID photos.
6. Obtain bank certificate (proof of financial standing) for the Indian Consulate.
7. Renew police clearance (proof of no derogatory record). (What I have now is valid til end of December. Will renew this when I return for Christmas.)
Work & Blog Stuff1. Complete company exit requirements and clearances.
2. Create Special Power of Attorney and have it notarized.
3. Start applying for and taking in freelance jobs. (Anyone needing a English-Spanish translator? Writer? Transcriptionist? What I will be earning will sustain my future travels so you'll sleep at night knowing you are fulfilling someone's dreams.)
4. Create an About Me page and a Links page. (About Me page DONE! Scroll up.)
5. Find another blog design (a simpler one). DONE!
6. Connect with other travelers online more! (They will be the source of your travel inspiration, ideas, suggestions and advice. Their input will be most invaluable.)
7. Update my Couchsurfing profile.
Others1. Research on terminal fees/airport fees/departure fees on all flights to be taken if any.
2. Research bungee jumping in India. (I have leads on Rishikesh. Anywhere else close to Delhi?)
3. Ask friend in Singapore if the offer to crash at her place is still up.
4. Finalize transporation option from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur Airport.
5. Find Kathmandu to Lukla Flights for November. (Notoriously booked as it is peak trekking season.)
6. Plan the second half of your travels. (Like I said in this post, I only have the first three months planned. The next three is still in the works.)

I did say it was massive. Clearly, I have a lot of things to do before all this backpacking begins. I mean, really. With my 9-to-5 job, I still struggle to find the time to accomplish all these, loosing a lot of good night's rest while I'm at it. But I know, I know. This will all be worth it in the end.

Is there anything I missed? What else do I need to bring that you think is essential for a six-month trip? What travel gear did you find most useful in your travels?

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