Things To Do, Places To Be

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My big China trip is still a month and a half away, but there’s still lots to do in preparation. I often find travel preparation to be daunting, until I break down the process into smaller segments and assess the priorities. This post is all about prioritizing.

Job #1 is getting my Chinese entry visa. While it’s not as difficult to get a Chinese visa as getting a visa to, say, Russia, it’s still a bit of a process. There’s paperwork to be done, there’s a passport-style photo to get taken, there’s the visit to the Chinese visa office in town. Luckily, it’s not as daunting as I would have thought. The Visa For China website has an easy to follow step-by-step guide that walks you through the whole application process.

Visa Application site
The online visa application form

The biggest issue I could see is that you either need to have information from a hotel you’re staying at (which we had not yet booked when I was filling out the application), or contact information for someone “inviting” you to the country. I lucked out, in that someone I know is in fact inviting me to visit.

Job #2 is to get my money situation in order. I won’t be bringing the card for my main checking account; most of my transactions will be cash withdrawals from my credit card (which I will pay off from a different account before getting hit with the interest). I’ve also just set up an emergency checking account, tied to my Tangerine savings account, just in case there’s any issues. At this point, I’m really just waiting for the access card to arrive, and I’ll be good to go.

Job #3 might be the most daunting: I’ve got to finalize my packing list, buy the remaining items I need, and then optimize tetris of equipment I’m going to be cramming into my two bags. Luckily, I’ve got my trusty spreadsheet to help me with the first part, but I’m going to have to get to the shopping part soon, as time’s a’ tickin’.

It’s starting to get a bit worrying that these are still empty

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