List Lovers – This is for You!

First attempt at packing...

A week from today, I will fly 3,625 miles to embark upon a trip of a lifetime (for me it definitely is) to Costa Rica for 88 days ~ that’s right, you heard correct! I have been preparing for this trip for 9 months and yet I still have items on my epic ‘To-Do’ list before the big day. What would such a list consist of? Well, it’s funny you should ask because that is exactly what this blog is about.

Before we get to that, let me share how this adventure came about. BFFs are fabulous for coming up with great ideas and my Bestie of 25 years had done just that when she proposed a Costa Rica yoga retreat trip last September. She had me at Costa Rica; access to daily yoga was an added bonus. I was ALL IN before knowing any of the details. Important details I might add, but no matter, because the seed had been planted and I was already brainstorming of ways to grow it into a full blown garden of serenity for my soul.

Now, for that all-encompassing list I promised earlier that can help travel preparations run smoothly without hiccup (at least that is the plan) and in my case has been a lifeline to maintaining my sanity (excitement level was off the charts), calming my anxiety regarding the unfamiliar aspects of international travel (this was my first Mega international trip and oh, did I mention I do NOT like to fly) and eagerly awaiting Departure Day by counting down in every measurable method imaginable. No doubt many of my compulsive behaviors would surface, but I like to think of them as systems I have in place to manage my life. Making a list (for everything) is one such behavior that I would be helpless without.

The List:

  1. Find discounts
  • Look for discounts before, during and after travel preparations plans – even after reservations have been made and you discover a promo code, often times the offered discount will be applied
  • My trip to Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica is organized through One Collective Yoga Vacations, http://www.oneyogacollective.com/ which offers fantastic retreats around the world – AND early registration offered a $300 discount

2. Renew passport

3. Make 2 copies of all important documents

  • There is lots of advice online regarding how to travel safe and avoid losing important documents such as passport, IDs and credit cards. I’ll let you decide which is relevant to your situation
  • I copied my passport, driver’s license, front/back of credit/bank cards that I am traveling with just in case they are lost or stolen and need replacing.

4. Enroll and/or update airline frequent flier accounts

5. Track low airfare deals on handy-dandy apps and buy best deal

6. Update Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (S.M.A.R.T) trip profile

  • This website https://step.state.gov/step/ lets you register your trip(s) overseas and family member emergency contact with the U.S. Embassy to receive safety conditions notifications in the event of an emergency albeit family, natural disaster, medical or civil unrest.

7. Check CDC for any vaccination requirements and make doctor’s appointment to renew medications needed during travel

8. Research international calling and WiFi service options

9. Make another list (yep, this would be first of many sub-lists) of excursions of interests at your destination

It’s at this point in the preparations that the trip began to sprout into an idea of Spanish immersion classes while on vacation. Why not, right?

10. Research immersion schools that let you learn the language and more about the culture while on vacation

Then, I watered the idea further with another idea – volunteerism! Again, why not? Luckily for me a list of volunteer opportunities had already been prepared and provided by the School I had chosen. FYI, I will have future blogs about both.

11. Make another list (told ya) of requirements of volunteering and any restrictions per each excursion

12. Read TripAdvisor posts about #10 – #13

  • When doing this, I highly suggest setting your intent, staying focused and maintain perspective – no matter what!!!

13. Buy gear that is necessary (In my case that meant uh, pretty much everything except a yoga mat – that, I had)

14. Pack

  • I love Soniastravels video blogs on YouTube. She gets right to the topic of her videos, stays focused and keeps it simple. View and subscribe at https://youtu.be/9pNTSm66CFg

15. Enjoy your trip! Including the prep process…

CONFESSION: To date, #14 is still an un-crossed off item on my list. I’m a week from Departure Day and I have not managed to roll, stuff into packing cubes and get packed…{sigh} Why is it that the shortest item on the list can also become the most frustrating?

My problem is that I had decided on taking only one backpack. After visiting all the local outdoor stores in the area, asking a million questions of each sales rep, consulting TripAdvisor and Amazon for ratings before finally deciding on the perfect backpack – fitting EVERYTHING I needed for my duration is becoming an impossibility that I just refuse to accept.

Be that as it may, there you have it! I hope this list and subsequent links prove helpful to you in your travel preparation. I’m off to reevaluate what my need versus want items are yet AGAIN so my ‘To-Do’ list will finally be completed.

Share your travel ‘To-Do’ list items, I would love to know what your prep looks like.

Happy travels ~ Viajes Felices