Central America T minus 8; Seoul T minus 21: The Travel Folder!

So I’m blatantly using the “D” of “kdbackpacks” to enhance readership for my trip to Seoul.  It’s been decided.  It’s like how Melrose Place used 90210 as a springboard back in the 90s.  It just makes sense.

Today is the day I officially put together the “Travel Folder”.  This is something I figured most people would do before they backpack – make up an itinerary, print reservations for the places you’re going to and have a copy of extra important documents.  It all seems like common sense, especially in case of delays, weather, cancellation, Acts of God, acts of man, Axe body spray injury….  Anything, really.  Yet I’ve seen a lot of travelers get screwed because they got robbed, pickpocketed or lost their luggage and, with it, everything that proved who they were.

Hence, Travel Folder. 

Basically, everything that I 100% need when I’m traveling – passport, cash, cards – stays on me in a money belt or secret pocket or such.  The travel folder stays locked in my luggage back at wherever I’m staying.  That way, if I end up loosing stuff while wandering the streets, everything I need is back at the hotel.  Conversely, if my luggage goes missing, I still have all the stuff I need on me. 

Of course, if I get mugged and the person takes everything I have all at once, you’d think you’re kind of screwed.  You can get around this, however, by emailing important documents (a JPEG of your passport, for instance) to yourself so you can at least get out of a jam once you get computer access from the local authorities. 

Also a good idea to email a copy of that stuff to somebody at home so they have it.

Anyway, it’s basic paperwork stuff which sounds boring by any account, but it give me a chance to (re)discover things about the places I’m going to.  Little things like.

1) Most places I’m staying don’t have an actual address.  They have a name and a location on a street, but when you’re on a smaller island like Flores or even Ambergris, the need to say that you’re 20 Coconut Drive is superseded by the fact that everybody on that island knows who and where you are in the first place, so save the money on the numbers.

2) Copan Ruinas and the actual ruins of Copan are unbelievably close to each other.  With places like Angkor or Machu Picchu, it’s a bit of a hike to get there from civilization.  Copan is a ten minute walk from the town centre.  Nice!

3) We are lucky to have 10 digit phone numbers, since everybody else seems to have 20 digit phone numbers.

Starting to get my stuff together for South Korea as well.  I’ve booked myself a spot on a Demilitarized Zone Tour (DMZ Tour) with the USO while I’m over there, which is pretty much the only reason I’m tacking on an extra week to my itinerary over there.  Haven’t quite figured out what the in between stuff is going to be.  Most likely going to be Jeju Island for a few days, but it looks like Air Asia is running cheap flights from Seoul to a bunch of other Southeast Asian locations.  The airfare might be more but I might actually save money going to a different country.  Might be one of those “Gameday” decisions, since Asian airlines don’t jack up their prices the closer you get to departure – I’d pay the same for a flight leaving tomorrow as I would a flight leaving three months from now.

With Kevin’s wedding coming up, packing is going to be starting earlier than usual, and I’m going to have to double pack since most of the stuff I’m taking with me to Central America probably won’t make the trip to Seoul on account of being gross from being in Central America for two weeks.  So that’s a whole new adventure in itself.  Still, getting excited by this whole thing.  Two awesome Mayan ruins and one of the most beautiful set of islands in the Caribbean.  Can’t wait!

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