Published: July 1st 2012July 1st 2012
It's now less than 7 days until we set off - and I'm getting pretty excited! All of of the travel tickets have arrived, the hotels are booked and I've bought all of the travelling gear I'll need (hopefully).
I've also had some of the recommended vaccinations for such a trip - Hepatitus A, Typoid, diptheria and polio were available for free on the NHS and I just booked an appointment with a nurse to receive these. There were a number of other recommended vaccines that could be paid for at the local travel clinic but I only opted for Tick Bourne Encephalitis - a nasty disease that causes brain swelling and in endemic is Siberia in the summer months.
Some guide books also recommend Japanese Type B Encephalitis (spread by mosquitos) but this is not prevalent in Siberia - and in China and Japan we will not be outside of the large cities. I'll just make sure to avoid mosquitos using insect repellent and long sleeve clothing! I also avoided the Rabies jabs as they are very expensive (a 3 month course is upwards of £300) and this does not prevent infection, it merely gives you a few extra hours to reach medical help. I've decided that I will rarely be far away from medical help and just to be safe I'll avoid being bitten by animals! Malaria is not a problem in Russia or Mongolia and in China is only a threat outside of the major cities.
One concern was how to carry enough money for the trip without having to carry all of it in cash, credit cards are not widely accepted in any of the countries we are visting (even Japan). The solution I've chosen is a pre-paid Visa card from Caxton FX - you can preload this card with £s via the internet or via SMS and then use it in cash machines to withdraw local currency. There are no fees for using it abroad, and the exchange rate is only slightly less than the standars visa rate. Although credit cards are rarely accepted for purchases in Russia, China and Japan there are apparently ATMs everywhere. I'm also taking a few hundred US Dollars for emergencies - the plan was euros but I'm not sure that is the best of ideas at the moment...
4 more days of work and a lot of packing to do! Next stop Koln!