Well, it’s here. My last day before travelling.
Tomorrow I head for Manchester and on Saturday I fly. My out of office is ready to be switched on at 1700 sharp tonight. All I need to do is fuel the car, grab some lunch and hit the road.
So what am I doing with my last free evening before I head off on a month long adventure? I’m heading up to Glasgow to play Dungeons and Dragons.
However, what I should be doing is my final checks (which is why I’ve booked tomorrow morning off work). I’ll probably empty out my luggage and count to make sure everything is there that I want to be there. My packing list is still evolving as I (or other people) remember and spot things I’ve forgotten. Matty has insisted I pack a pair of jeans and a casual shirt in case we go “out” in New York, Charlotte NC or Washington DC. I’m still under the weight limit so it’s not a massive issue…
I started checking my electronics last night. My battery packs and kindle have all been charged over the last few nights, but tonight I’ll plug everything back in for a final charge to make sure the batteries are totally topped up. It also means I *should* remember to pack the relevant cables and plugs immediately before I travel.
I spent an hour last night checking the memory on my phone, deleting things I didn’t need and downloading some “new” albums (I say “new” because as much as they are new to me, one was released in 1984) so I don’t have to rely on streaming my tunes once I’m Stateside.
My mum is supposed to be picking up a perscription for me today, so I should be able to pack my medication and various other related supplies tonight. Whilst it should be kept in a fridge, a couple of days in my rucksack won’t be an issue.
As work winds down (because let’s face it, if I start it now it won’t get finished in the time I have left, and I’ll have forgotten all about it by the time I get back…) I’ve spent a lot of time reading. Everything from the Jamboree flash updates and the Contingent FAQ and “What have I missed?” pages right through to the insurance policy documents. I’ve also read a lot of Wikipedia articles about the places I’m visiting.
I’ve read through my airline’s baggage policies – I’m not linking that, there are far too many airlines operating into and out of the US – and even read the Wikipedia articles about the airports I’m travelling through (and the type of planes I’ll be flying on…) but it’s important to understand what I’m allowed to take and where I’m allowed to pack it. Some airlines allow lithium ion battery packs in hold luggage, others insist hand luggage. Some airlines put a limit on the number of battery packs you’re allowed, others don’t. It’s important to understand these things.
The other thing I’ve had a scan read of is the banned substance list for the USA. This may sound stupid, given that most of the list is things like explosives and drugs (or explosive drugs…) but, for example, Canada had banned the import of Irn Bru (because of the sugar and E numbers) a couple of years ago. I do know someone who tried to take a 2L bottle out in their hold luggage to give to family and had their bag cut open to have it removed.
Whilst this was inconvenient for them, their family had a spare bag to lend them to come home. If my bag is cut open by the TSA then all I have is a reel of duct tape and some electrical tape…
One of the final things I’ll be doing is pulling some important documents together. I sort of mentioned this the other day when I spoke about packing. The simple fact is that technology is not infallible. It’s not the first time I’ve been travelling for work and a hotel’s booking system dies. I have a colleague who was refused boarding of a plane because his boarding pass was on his phone and his phone died between security and the gate.
I’ll be making up two packs, both in plastic wallets, and one sealed with gaffer tape (to make it vaguely waterproof) that contains:
– My Employers Letter
– My Safe from Harm Certificate
– Photocopy of my passport
– Copy of my flight bookings
– Insurance Information (including the full policy documentation)
– The Hostelworld booking confirmation(s) for my accommodation.
– My Amtrak reservation for after the Jamboree
– My ROHVA Certificate
– The other things that I suddenly remember before I leave tomorrow…
Whilst the contingent has had us all upload a scan of our passport, having a paper copy yourself might be useful. For the sake of a few grams of paper, it’s something I’d rather have than not, as I said, technology is fallible.
And that’s that really. I’ve ran out of things to say.
It is my intention that this is not the last Top Tips post of the Jamboree. I do intend to post a couple of times once I’m in country, even if it’s “how to clear customs without setting off alarms”, but as this page is testament to, intentions don’t always work out perfectly.
I hope you have found these Top Tips useful and that all three of us, Lyndsey, Matty and I have used our experience, mistakes and regrets to make everyone’s Jamboree just a little bit better.
Speaking personally, it has been awfully fun writing about my previous events, and some of the posts have unlocked memories from the back of my mind, of friends, places and experiences that I’d forgotten till I wrote them.
So, in case I don’t get a chance to say it, I hope everyone has an amazing Jamboree. Live every second of it, push yourself, meet new people, have new experiences. Throw yourself into every opportunity that’s available to you, and you will have the absolute time of your life. Remember my ultimate Top Tip, “You get out what you put in.”
But also remember to look after yourself. The most important person at this Jamboree is you.
I wish you all fair winds and following seas.
See you at the Jamboree!