7 days to go

Time to start thinking about packing. My dry run a couple of weeks ago resulted in me using about 10kg of my 30kg allocation from Singapore Airlines. Plenty of space for taking a few more items of clothing and leave room to bring souvenirs back.

I’ve been starting to look at some of the forecasts for places I’m going to be in Switzerland for the first few days. So far it is going to be incredibly close to the temperatures I am leaving. Lows of 8-10 and highs of 16-22 for areas I’ll be in for the first five days. The first day has some storms forecast for Zurich but also only expecting 5mm so it might just be a fast passing front.

I mentioned in my 10 days to go post that I have already spent 5 figures on this trip, that wasn’t entirely true as my spreadsheet with costings had a column pre-allocating expenses for daily food/drink intake. I’ve pre-budgeted $100 per day, while I don’t think I’ll be spending quite that much every single day it did eat a fair bit into the overall cost in the total tally I mentioned. That’s not to say it won’t end up costing that much because it absolutely will by the end of it. I’m not expecting to get any change out of $15,000 by the time I land in Melbourne on the 16th of June.

Coming back to packing, I’m working on my check list of things I need to pack, along with what is coming with me in carry on and what can stay in my suitcase. So far I have thought of the following:

Backpack (Carry on):

  • Passport
  • Travel booklet (all of my pre-booked tickets and hotel info)
  • Laptop
  • Nikon DSLR
  • Lite soap bag (in case I feel like I need to freshen up a bit in Singapore)
  • USBC charging cable
  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • Powerbank
  • Sunglasses

Suitcase (Checked Baggage):

  • 10x Socks
  • 10x Underwear
  • 4x Pants
  • 2x Light Jackets
  • 1x Medium waterproof jacket
  • 2x Shorts
  • 5x Shirts
  • 2x Dress shirts (never know when you’re going to be going somewhere a bit more upmarket)
  • Swimwear
  • Hiking boots
  • Soap bag
  • Travel power adapter (with European, UK and Asia converters)
  • External HDD (to backup all my photos across my laptop and camera SD cards and an external drive)
  • DJI Pocket 2 handheld camera
  • Travel tripod
  • Travel Umbrella

That’s all I can think of right now, I’m sure there’ll be more. The countdown is well and truly on!

10 days to go

It’s been a long road getting to this point. For most people it would be a six-to-nine month process planning an international venture. This trip was supposed to happen in 2020 so I’ve had a bit of time to plan it…

I’ve had four different plans, two that were in place for 2020 revolving around a little thing called Coronavirus ID 19 that had me plan one trip in two directions (just reversing the trip if border closures meant I couldn’t move between countries in Europe, I would just do the England part). When it became what we now know as the Covid-19 global pandemic those travel plans had to be shelved, but weren’t forgotten at all.

Time spent during lockdowns watching slow-tv as background imagery to working from home resulting in several additions and changes to my trip. So by the time borders opened and plans started forming, an entire country had been added to my travel plans.

See, there’s this YouTube channel called lorirocks777. They have a swath of cab view videos from around Switzerland, France, Germany and Northern Italy (among others). Much of the content I saw on this channel resulted in my desire to see it with my own eyes. So the plan went from England, Belguim, Germany and Italy to Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and England.

This is where the other two plans come in to play. As I was working out these details several factors started to play into how I would carry out the trip. Seasons, peak periods, and special events all played a role. As nice as Switzerland looks in the winter I really didn’t want to be travelling at the coldest time of the year (especially as it would be so busy there for the ski season).

Just when I thought I had nailed down flying into London (Heathrow) and doing it in the England > Belgium > Germany > Switzerland direction from the 6th of May to 12th of June, his royal highness King Charles the Second was declared to be coronated on that very weekend resulting in flight prices doubling overnight just as I was preparing to book them. Perfect.

Easiest solution was just to flip the direction of travel. The only issue now was every destination was seeing higher than average prices due to the lower availability of flights coming out of lockdowns and border closures. It wasn’t easy finding an average price unless I wanted to use a lesser recognised carrier (i.e. note Singapore, Emirates, Qantas, or Cathay Pacific).

I had been looking between Milan, Zurich, Vienna, and Frankfurt trying to find a good rate. I honestly think I lucked out on the Zurich-bound flights because I have not seen a similar rate since I purchased the tickets. Singapore have a 30kg weight limit that (so far) I’m only filling around 10 of it on the way out. Plenty of space for memorabilia!

10 days out, I felt more nervous about the trip to China than I do about this trip. Not sure why, that was with a group, had a guide to help us translate, and was – in the grand scheme of things – quite a cheap adventure. This time it’s just me, I’m up to a 22 day streak on Duolingo cramming some German, and before I’ve even left the country I’m up to five figures in how much it’s projected to cost. But I’m not nervous or anxious about it at all.

Probably because it feels so well planned out. No doubt shit will go wrong while I’m there though…