Saturday, October 1, 2011

Closing Up Shop

Listening to:  Ever present honking and fans
Mood: Calm

So, you’ve decided to leave. Now what? I recommend falling in love with excel and making elaborate spreadsheets with planning and things to do before you leave. At the minimum, you should have a trusty notebook to keep organized. My husband won the excel/notebook debate and is still reminding me that no one uses notebooks anymore. Meh; I still like paper.
I recommend having a running to do list. Add to it as you think of things that need to be done. If you’re feeling super ambitious and organized, you can even divide things up into general categories of when things need to be done.

Obviously, all of your utilities should be shut off as close to departure as possible. As most of these are phone calls, it shouldn’t be a big deal.  Other things to think about are trips to the bank, post office, and other errands that need to be finished off before you leave. Try not to leave too much for the last minute, as there will always be more than you thought there would be. I ended up going to the bank 5 times before we left. 4 of them were unexpected.

If you have a house to sell off before leaving, good luck to you. I have no idea how that all works.
You’ll also need to sell your vehicle before you leave if you have one. It will be a balance of not waiting too long before you leave and the inconvenience of not having a car and having lots of errands to do. If at all possible, pile on a friend to borrow a car for the time you don’t have one. One very generous friend of ours lent us his second car for 3 weeks before we left and it was a life saver, and a huge kindness to our wallet. It would have been way too expensive to rent a car for 3 weeks.

One other recommendation I have is to not wait until the last minute to start your housecleaning. As with errands, there will always be more than you thought and it pays off to do some heavy cleaning early on.

As I mentioned before, start sorting early to separate things you'd like to sell/give away and start as early as possible getting rid of them. This also will take much longer than you'd like.

I'd also recommend closing all of your credit cards with the exception of possibly one of them. This will help you avoid fraud, non use charges and other such nonsense. If you are able to condense your bank accounts that will be helpful too. The more things you leave open, the more worries you have about things going wrong with them.


Shots and Medications

 Listening to:  The ever present honking outside the window
Mood: Calm

One of the things that you’ll need to worry about a decent amount ahead is getting shots for yourself and your kids. You should be thinking about this ideally 2 months before you board your flight so the medication has a chance to get working in your system. Right now, the WHO recommends tetanus, Hepatitis B, and Typhoid.  If you’re going to get all rural, you’ll need to worry about malaria medication and possibly Japanese Encephalitis too. As we’re staying in a city, we were told not to bother. If you’re in any contact at all with animals, a rabies vaccine is also recommended. Unless you’re a vet, it’s pretty well advised to avoid close contact with the wild life here at all costs, including the strays that wander around. Tetanus and typhoid are pretty straight forward. The shots are nearly painless, although you will probably end up with a sore arm for a few days. Trust me; the sore arm is worth not getting typhoid or tetanus.  All of us had already been vaccinated for Hep B, but that shot is also relatively simple and almost pain free.  A small disclaimer here: This was our experience – you definitely need to talk to your own physician, or better yet a travel physician.  I recommend the travel physician if at all possible because they just know what they’re talking about and they do it on a regular basis. I did a lot of running around for our pediatrician to find typhoid shots that were readily available at the travel physician. It’s also worth noting that if you have yourself or have a child with allergies, you should speak with your doctor or the travel doctor about Epi-pens.  The medicine is generally available here, but doctors do not pass them out for personal individual use. This is especially true for people with nut allergies, as nuts are almost omnipresent in the food in India. You really don’t want to have to get to the hospital before you can get an epi shot. Most should be able to give you without a problem. Our travel physician gave a few for our daughter without even asking for a prescription.

Another thing to be aware of is getting enough medicine to travel with. This is basic travel 101, but it bears repeating. You should have enough for your trip, and then some. Most common medicines are found in India, but again, ask your travel physician what they recommend. The medical industry is not all that well regulated in India. It’s not uncommon to find all kinds of medicine at the corner shop being dispensed without regard for need or dosage. They just pass you the bottle or the pills. It definitely pays to keep your doctor’s phone number handy for any questions you have about medication.