July 31, 2009

Plans, Packing, Airport Shuttles, and Public Transportation

I always get a bit nervous before a big move. Funny, considering how frequently I have made big moves. To quell my nervousness, I make detailed plans for my trip, and print out my itineraries so I don’t get confused.

Right now, I am planning a weekend trip to Montego Bay (8/1 to 8/4), a trip to Miami (8/6) for my husband and three kids while I travel to San Francisco for a conference (8/6 to 8/12), and our subsequent move to Guatemala (8/13).

We are leaving for Montego Bay Saturday morning. We will spend two nights there. The main purpose of the trip is to find housing for next summer, when we will be in Montego Bay for three months. However, we also plan to enjoy the beach! Apart from the four hour bus ride on the Knutsford Express, that should be an enjoyable weekend. Plus, I bought some motion sickness medicine for the kids, as they tend to get car sick on long trips.

We come back from Montego Bay on Monday night. That leaves us just two full days to clear out our apartment and be ready to leave the house at 5:30 am on Thursday for our flight to Miami. I will be leaving my husband and the three kids in Miami while I fly out to San Francisco for a conference. They will travel to Guatemala on Sunday, and I will get there on Thursday, August the 18th.

It took me quite a while, but I think I have it all planned out. I made up a document for my husband that details his hotel and flight in Miami, as well as the instructions for what to do when he arrives in Guatemala. I also wrote up a letter that gives him permission to take the kids out of the country. I just need to get it notarized, and he should be fine. (Once, he didn’t have the letter, and he almost didn’t make it out of Peru!)

Planning my trip to San Francisco was actually more complicated. In an attempt to save money, I ended up booking three separate hotels. I get into SFO at 9pm on Thursday. So, I booked a hotel close to the airport with an airport shuttle for the first night. This means I will be taking my carry-on to my meetings with me on Friday. From there, I can get public transportation to my next hotel, which is downtown by the meetings. I will stay in that hotel until my last night, when I will take the BART back out to a hotel by the airport, which also has a shuttle to get me to the airport for my noon flight out on Wednesday.

I am hoping that my plan to save money by sleeping in cheap hotels by the airport with shuttles the first and last night of my stay will be worth it. I can imagine all kinds of things going wrong, like the shuttle never showing up. But, for now, I will proceed with the confidence that it will work as smoothly as I have planned.

After a six hour direct flight from SFO, I arrive in Miami at 9:30pm Wednesday evening. There, I have also booked a hotel with an airport shuttle, as I will spend the night in Miami. My flight out on Thursday morning is from Fort Lauderdale. So, I plan to take the shuttle back to the airport, and then take the Tri-Rail to FLL for my flight to Guatemala. Again, I hope this money-saving, airport shuttle plus public transportation plan actually works.

I also hope that the apartment I found online in Guatemala is as nice as it looks in the pictures, and that my research in Guatemala goes as smoothly as my research has here in Jamaica.

For now, I need to stop hoping and worrying and get packed for our trip to Montego Bay tomorrow!

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