Need a passport or visa photo? Well Jason stumbled across this website that helped us print 40+ passport pictures for super cheap!
The site actually walks you through how to take your own passport picture and then allows you to upload the picture and create 2″ x 2″ passport photo sheets that you can print on your own printer for free. Since we had a hard time taking our own photos (see Visa Pictures blog post), we had the pictures already on a CD from Costco. We will need a lot of pictures for all of our visas and paying $6.99 for 2 photos at Walgreen’s would get expensive. On this site, we easily uploaded our passport photo and created these 4″ x 6″ sheets. We tried to print the sheets off on my printer, but it kept cutting off the top of our heads (something wasn’t right with my settings) so I took the file into Target on a USB drive and printed us both 45 pictures for $4.99 total. We are now all set with a handful of pictures to use for all our visas along the way! We will also keep the file on hand in case we need to print more while out of the country.
This was the fortune I got at my favorite restaurant, Oregano’s, down in Phoenix. Yes, it is an Italian restaurant and yes, they give you fortune cookies. I got it last year and kept it because of its meaning. I just uncovered the fortune under a pile of papers on my desk today and had a moment of reflection. We really will step on the soil of many countries and see so many wonderful things. I feel truly blessed to have this wonderful opportunity and such a great partner (that would be Jason) that pushed me to get to this point. As the trip approaches, it becomes very real that we will soon leave our family and friends to travel and explore so many different parts of the world. It is sometimes hard to imagine what that will feel like as most of my international trips have been only a few weeks at a time, but underneath the feeling of unknown is so much excitement.
As a sit here and reflect, I also realize there is a bit list of things that we will still need to do!
*Open new checking account
*Apply for travel health insurance
*Buy small laptop computer
*Buy camera lens for our Nikon D40 (if we decide to)
*Get Malaria prescriptions filled while we have health insurance
*Sell Becky’s car
*Figure out what we are selling and when we want to sell it
*Buy drives to hold pictures
These are just the things that come to mind, I know there is so much more for us to take care of. As the days fly by, I think we will need to get multiple lists going so we can keep track of all this stuff!
So it has been while since we posted anything…with the holidays and visiting some family, we really haven’t been focused on pre-trip items. Now, looking at a calendar, we realize we are only 5 months away from departure and we need to get back on track!
Jason found out that the majority of his immunizations were covered at a certain clinic here in Denver so he was able to get a lot of his shots by just paying a co-pay. That is a huge cost savings that we definitely appreciate. Be sure to call your insurance and see what is available as you never know.
While we have been trying to cut back on costs for a while now, the departure date is fast approaching and we are really trying to tighten the spending. We realize there is a lot more planning to do and you can save a lot of money if you just stay home!
Lately, I have been doing some more research on banking and health insurance options. Since we will be traveling to so many different countries, getting cash out of the ATM in the local currency will give us the best exchange rate. Our current banks either charge a foreign currency fee (1 or 2%) and/or don’t reimburse for ATM fees. We want to try to eliminate or minimize those fees as much as possible. The best option I have come up for banking is the Schwab High Yield Checking Account. They do not charge any ATM fees and reimburse any fees applied by outside ATM’s at the end of each billing cycle. There is no minimum balance you must keep in the account and no limit the amount they will reimburse. You are required (with this account) to have a brokerage account with them as well, but with no minimum balance for that either, you never have to use it. They also pay interest on the checking account, have free bill pay and free checks. Overall, it seems like the best account I have found so far and will probably be the way we go. I also personally appreciate that they are a big name and have customer service people we can call 24 hours a day.
As far as health insurance, this has been a been more tricky. The name we keep hearing over and over is World Nomads. It is endorsed by Loney Planet and a lot of backpackers. But, we obviously want to make our own educated decision so we have been looking at some other options. Another name I came across is IMG – International Medical Group. It seems like IMG has more coverage but is also a bit more expensive. We are currently trying to weight our options and figure out what the best fit is for us.