Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Planning for South America

As many of you know we are heading back to South America.

So much to do before we leave.  A few new things or maybe I should say different things to accomplish before we head out this time.

First we don't need to get a Brazilian Visa cause well we already have one.  But I will say it was cumbersome to do and a lot of details and boxes to check off and submit.  Note you need to contact your Brazilian consulate in your country and perhaps even in your province or state.  For me in Vancouver I had to contact the one for Western Canada which was thankfully in Vancouver.  Each location seems to have different requirements.  I know you can go with a visa service but that would double the cost, if not more of the visa and you still need to get all the necessary documents yourself then they just submit it.  Save yourself the money and submit it yourself.  So any ways, we have our Visas for Brazil and they are good for five years so this is one reason we decided to go back cause well we have the visa.  I know you like how I rationalize things.

We do need to get an Argentinian visa though.  Now this did cause some confusion since we visit Buenos Aries first, then we head to Montevideo, then the Falklands then back to Argentina.  Do we need a single entry visa ($75) or a multi entry visa (which was twice the cost of the single) -- note this is for Canadians.  I contacted the Argentina Consulate in Toronto and they wrote back that a single entry was fine as they allow you to enter and return to neighbouring countries within a single visit.  Go figure!  They say that they consider the Falklands still part of Argentina so no problem.  I now like how they rationalize things.  Saved us $75 each.

Now if we were flying into Chile we would have to get a Visitor's Visa at the airport but since we are arriving via a ship no need.  

Other things that are different are:

We are starting the trip in Florida, Fort Lauderdale to be exact.  And there are 8 ships leaving that day.  Hotel prices were crazy!  So we opted for a rental car $15 thru Priceline and a hotel further afield for a steal.  This way on the day of departure we will drive the rental car to the pier, drop off the bags then get some lunch then drop off the car and take the shuttle back to the pier.  Easy right - traffic will be crazy so remind me on the day of how easy I said it would be.

Flights!  Yeah Flights.  Normally we fly out of Seattle but this time with being gone for so long and the cost of storing our car in a parking lot, and the cost of the flight from Seatac not being that much different than Vancouver, we opted to fly right from home.  We booked United because we can get airmiles transferred over to our Aeroplan with Star Alliance.  

But hey, United stop changing our flights!  First they kept changing our flight to Fort Lauderdale.  The layover in Houston kept getting longer, from an hour to two hours to finally three hours.  But stay tuned to find out what it is now. 

Then last week I went on to rebook our seats, since we both hate middle seats and on our last trip we both took aisle seats across from each other and that worked great.  So low and behold I go on line and see the dreaded notice.  Your flights have been changed, press okay to accept.  

What I think, they changed it again..... nope not the first flight but the flight home from Los Angeles.  We purposely booked a flight that was after 1 pm cause we remember the chaos on the last day going thru immigration after the ship had been in South America.  We knew we couldn't make a flight before noon.  We opted and booked the 1:20 pm flight.  But now they have changed us to a 3:20 flight.  WHAT, we don't want a flight that late, what the heck will we do.  So I am not going to accept.  I call them and spoke with a lovely agent, and since the change is more than 90 minutes they said they have no problem switching our flight.  Would we like the 1205 flight, NOPE too early and I don't need to stress I say.  I then request the 2:20 flight. Still later than what I would like but at least it is not 3:20.  

Then the agent says oh and they have changed your flight to Fort Lauderdale too, do you accept that?  WHAT, and then she reads me the details and guess what, they have returned the flight to the original time when we booked.  Go figure!  Works out great for us.

Okay now flights are taken care of.  

This is the longest trip we have ever been on so it does require some extra planning.  We are having a friend who attends college nearby to stay at our place during her school nights so she doesn't have to commute too much.  And our neighbours have been informed.  We live in a secure building and we have a security system, so along with the house sitter and neighbours I know we are covered.

The Cities' utility taxes are due at the end of March and there is a penalty if you pay after April 1 so we need to call them and arrange payment of that.  Also doing our Income Taxes is just going to have to wait till we get home --- yeah how many people get to say that?

I decided to order some of those ebags that everyone keeps raving about and a few other things to make packing easier.  

I have created my list of things to do before we go.... I could type it here, but trust me it is not that exciting. 

Now the countdown on how many days left of work begins.

Stay tuned as I report more on what and how we get ready for our voyage.


  1. So looking forward to hearing of your adventures on this cruise. We booked the same cruise a couple of years ago but had to cancel because of work commitments but it is still on the list of to do.

    1. Peter I hope you get to do the trip in the future. When you do let me know if you have any questions

  2. WOW!! Sounds like a lot of planning before doing this cruise! But, I'm sure it's all worth it. Have so much fun! :)

  3. Replies
    1. Ebags is a store but they sell these packing cubes that are amazing. you can find them at ebags.com