Monthly Archives: July 2013

Why I don’t buy vacays through Groupon

I am a bit of a deal addict.  Even though I don’t actually buy a lot of things, I get emails for Groupon and Living Social, etc. I recently got an email from Groupon toting a “9-day French Vacation” staying in chateaus and including airfare and a rental car for the low low price of $1,999 (down from $2,999).  Sounds pretty good until I start thinking about how much my 10 days in France is going to cost me… (a hell of a lot less than $2000, if you’re wondering)

I know what is important to me when it comes to travel, and it’s not staying in chateaus and having rental cars. That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with that kind of travel.  It’s just not for me.  I’d rather stay somewhere a bit more humble and tack on another week or 2. Plus, planning is half the fun for me.

On the flip side, these pre-packaged vacations can be just the ticket for those short on time, long on money, and in need of some luxury. 

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Vaccination Hell

Ok, so I said I’d write a post about the vaccines I’m getting for my trip so here is my first attempt.  Almost a week later and I’m still not a 100% from my 4 vaccines in 1 go.  On top of that, I started an oral typhoid vaccine on Friday.  You have to take one pill every other day for a week (4 pills).  So far my side effects with that vaccine have been headache, nausea, and light-headedness. It cost $67 USD.  The 4 I got last Monday were Hepatitis B (the first in a series of 3) for $85 USD, MMR Booster for $98 USD, Pneumococcal for $90 USD, and Yellow Fever for $135 USD.  I also got a TB test for $40 USD and the office visit cost $58 USD.  The side effects I experienced with these vaccines were, to put it bluntly, severe.  Within an hour, I had started shaking uncontrollably. I had a high fever and intense body chills that felt like my body was being scraped by brillo pads.  I was slightly delirious, had no appetite and was thirsty all the time.  It was horrible. 

I was supposed to get another 2 vaccines on Wednesday, but I was still feeling like shit and when I came in to get my TB test read, the nurse took one look at me and said “You aren’t getting any vaccines today”.   

I have another 3 vaccines to get before I leave. One of them is the 2nd Hep B shot.  I can’t remember what the other 2 are, probably because I became violently ill after the appointment.  

As I said, still not fully recovered, so I think I’ll end it there.  Bleehhhhhh.

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1, 2 punch

Today I had my comprehensive travel vaccination appointment.  I knew the vaccines were going to be expensive, but holy shit.  Wasn’t planning on this expensive.  The first 4 (out of 8) and a tb test came to a grand total of $506. YIKES!  

That’s the first punch….

The second was how sick they made me.  I could barely drive back, I was feeling so crappy.  I almost threw up in Whole Foods when I stopped for some groceries to get me through the week.  By the time I got back to my house, I was shaking so hard that I kept spilling my water all over me.  Putting on my softest pjs was agony — they felt like tiny needles scraping my skin and putting my arms up was nearly impossible.  My body was telling me that it was freezing, but when I put my hand on my head, arm, leg, core, my senses told me I was burning up. I laid in my bed under a sheet, a comforter, a fleece blanket and a throw blanket with the heat turned up to 77 degrees F and still felt like I was making a snow angel in my bikini.  

It’s been about 8 hours now since I got the shots and I’m finally starting to feel back to normal.  I’ve never had that kind of reaction to vaccinations before so maybe I was already coming down with something or maybe it was just the combination of vaccines that sent my body into overdrive.  One thing’s for sure.  I’m very glad that I didn’t try to get more of them today.  

Lesson learned: When getting your travel vacs, make sure you give yourself time to recover from them…and maybe have someone drive you to and from the appt. so you don’t wreck if you have a bad reaction..

Wednesday I get 2 more as well as getting my TB test read. I’ll keep yall updated.  When I’m feeling better, I’ll write a post on which vacs I got and why as well as a cost breakdown so you can have a better idea of what to expect than I did..

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Wait, what? Other countries have stores??

I was looking at what I’m planning on bringing on my trip and thinking about what else I need to buy in preparation for my trip, and then I had a thought. 

I don’t have to replace things that are still usable.

For instance, do I really need to buy a new camera right now?  Sure, it’s getting a little beat up, but it still works perfectly well.  If (when) it breaks, I can always buy a new one when I’m on the road.  Does anyone else have this problem with feeling like everything they take on a long trip needs to be in perfect condition?? Is it just me???

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The hard things…

Tomorrow, I say goodbye to a dear loved one.  One who has seen me through times of sorrow, heartbreak, joy, and triumph.  One who accepts me for who I am, good and bad, and loves me unconditionally.  One who always knows just how to cheer me up at the end of a long day.  One who is always affectionate.

Tomorrow, I say goodbye to my cat, whom I’ve had for 4 years and raised from a kitten.  It’s going to be a rough day, made even harder by the fact that I have to drive 13+ hours to Vermont to deliver him to his new home.  I think this will be the toughest goodbye I’ll have to face before my trip.  My family and friends, I’ll see again.  My cat, probably not.  The only thing that is making this task even remotely bearable is the knowledge that he is going to a family that truly wants him and will love him forever.

❤ u K.C.

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How NOT to be a travel blogger

It may be a tad premature to write a post on how to be a travel blogger seeing as how I’ve only been travel blogging for about 7 months. Nonetheless, I have learned a lot over those 7 months and want to share that knowledge with other newbie bloggers in the hope that they can learn from my mistakes and create better blogs that I, in turn, can learn from.  SO.  I have put together a little list of how not to be a travel blogger. Just so you know, I’ve been guilty of all of these at one point or another in the last few months.

1.  Make a schedule for how often you have to post a blog and keep to it whether you have anything to write about or not.  Because really, it’s not like (good) writing is an art form or anything.

2.  Make copious amounts of spelling and grammar errors.  Just because it’s kewl and who has time to google the spelling of a word??? You have to open a whole other tab for that shit!

3.  Don’t take the time to organize ANYTHING on your blog/website.  That’s how the madness starts…first it’s “I’ll just put all this budget stuff under one tab” and before you know it, you’re organizing every blog by topic and laughing maniacally in the background! Mwahahahaha!

4.  Make broad political/religious/lifestyle judgements out of the blue.  Obviously, you only want people that think exactly like you to read your blog.

5.  Have a monotone blogging “voice”.  Your blog should sound like it was written by a robot for other robots.  How else will readers know you’re serious?

6.  Do not interact with commenters.  What do they know? After all, they’re reading your blog.

Have any other tips on how not to be a travel blogger? I’d love to hear them! 🙂

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Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees

Today I was minding my own business, studying spanish, researching trip stuff, etc when I realized that I hadn’t received any sort of paper form of my Australia Work and Holiday Visa.  I opened up my email and pulled up the confirmation so I could reread it and check to see if I needed a paper visa (I don’t) and WHAM!!! It hit me. I’m going to Australia. FOR A YEAR. And before that I’m going to Europe. FOR 3 MONTHS. And after that, I’m going LOTS OF OTHER PLACES FOR A REALLY REALLY LONG TIME. YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I’ve been so caught up lately with planning, travel hacking, and getting all the mundane things associated with a big trip like this squared away that I COMPLETELY lost sight of the big picture.

All of a sudden I’m as excited as I’ve ever been about this awesome life-altering experience. I literally jumped up and danced around my apartment with my Pandora country station turned upas loud as possible for a good 10 minutes. 

It feels like my sixth birthday.  Mom and Dad packed us into a car and refused to tell me where we were going.  I fell asleep as 6 year olds on long car rides are wont to do and when I woke up, we were about to drive under the “Welcome to Disney World” sign.  Talk about magical.

 

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