At the end of my last post I alluded to the fact that our next major holiday might be within Australia. I was considering a houseboat trip on the Hawkesbury River but when I began researching the idea it became less appealing.
The lure of overseas travel was just too great so we have opted to go back to the UK in November. This trip will be somewhat different from our previous trips to the northern hemisphere for several reasons. We are going in late autumn rather than the height of summer and relying entirely on public transport instead of hiring a car during any part of the trip. This is because the focus of the trip is quite different – we are not taking a touring holiday and sightseeing along the way but are planning on staying in just a handful of major centres with the majority (3 weeks) of our time in London.
This also means much less time will be spent researching, planning and booking the trip. In fact, we could pretty well leave tomorrow as we have current passports and have booked our flights, accommodation except for one night in Cardiff and have a list of things we hope to see and do in London. Hopefully, the queues will not be as long at the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
Perhaps we will be able to take the tour of the Royal Albert Hall, too. It was closed for cleaning last time so I only managed a photo of the exterior.
I have also given brief consideration to what we might need to pack. As always we have chosen accommodation which includes laundry facilities which allows us to keep the clothes we take to a minimum. Due to cooler weather, we will need some warmer clothes but I still expect to be able to just have one small suitcase each. I am looking at buying a lightweight down jacket for each of us. I think these would be a useful addition and take up minimal space.
Well, it is now 5 months until we head off to the maritime provinces and cities in the eastern part of Canada via the USA.
Almost all of our accommodation is booked. We are spending 2 nights in the central part of New Brunswick and have yet to finalise our plans there. The only other night of which we are somewhat unsure is one that we had earmarked to be on board an overnight ferry from Portland, Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. We got as far as booking the ferry in October last year only to discover 2 days later that the company had lost the contract and would not be running the service in 2016!
Our fares were refund without any problem but the next issue was how to get from Maine to Nova Scotia. Apparently the contract has been awarded to another company and everyone is ‘hopeful’ that the service will run in the summer of 2016. Although we would prefer to catch a ferry we are not prepared to keep hoping until the last minute when the entire itinerary is dependent on that piece of travel. We have decided on an alternative plan and that is to fly from Boston to Halifax. This will mean an extra night in Halifax which is no problem but we will just book that closer to the time.
We have decided to allow until mid-March (4 months before we leave) to get some clarification regarding the ferry service but if we cannot get some definite details by then I think we will go ahead and book flights. We do not want to leave that until the last minute and end up paying premium prices. We will not be booking any car hire until we are sure where we will be arriving in Nova Scotia – Yarmouth (ferry) or Halifax (plane).
Unlike our trip to the UK in 2014, we do not really have much that we want to purchase before we go. We have appropriate suitcases and our passports are current. We are planning to buy a tablet to replace the netbook but will wait until less than 60 days before we travel in order to be able to claim the GST under the Tourist Refund Scheme. The only other thing that I can can think of is a USA/Canada power adaptor. I will buy one like the UK one which had a USB port as well. We can then plug our 2 plug/2 USB powerboard into it which will allow us to use 2 power outlets and 3 USB ports at the same time if necessary.
Oops! I must have missed a week. The time is racing by and it is now just under 5 weeks until we leave. The excitement is building now.
In the past fortnight I have bought an iPhone and a new camera so I am busily trying to learn how to use the features I will need.
All of our planning seems to have come together and I feel as though we could leave tomorrow if the need arose.
Housesitters organised and house manual written
Flights, trains and ferry trips booked
Car hire booked
Itinerary finalised apart from the last 8 days
Travel guides downloaded to my Kindle
Packing lists done
We still have yet to buy currency to take both as cash and also loaded onto a Cashcard.
The reason I have not finalised the itinerary is because I am waiting to see if we are lucky enough to get the opportunity to buy tickets for the Last Night of the Proms concert. We should know by the end of this week and then I can rework our plans for Cornwall, London and Cambridge so that we will be in London for the night of the concert if necessary.
It is good that most of the planning is done as the next few weeks will be a whirl as I fit in appointments for dentist, tax accountant, hairdresser and superannuation information as well as friends coming to visit and a birthday celebration for The Duke. I also need to make sure my work is as up-to-date as possible when I leave as most of it will be waiting for me when I return after 6 weeks away.