Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Travel Checklist Items Completed

I got a call from NTA, Nippon 2007's official agency, confirming that the sleeper surcharges are indeed per person, not per compartment the way they are in the USA, Canada, and the UK. I'm still astounded that nothing on any of the web sites I've read says this, and that indeed, some of them imply that it's a per-compartment charge (after paying for the rail fare). I still think the whole sleeper-reservation system makes no sense and is designed to make it impossible for someone using the rail pass to actually book the best compartments. But then, I'm used to American trains whose sleeping cars book up months in advance.

It's amazing how many things I have to get done to travel to Japan. Today I checked a number of them off my list:

1. Notify Bank of America that I'm going to Japan August 27-September 18 so that I can use my ATM card there.

2. Notify Diners Club Master Card of travel, so I can use my primary credit card there.

3. Arrange for cell phone rental for the time I'm in Japan, because US phones don't work in Japan. The deal Nippon2007 arranged sounds too good to be true, because it appears that if you make or receive no calls at all, you'll pay nothing -- the JPY500/day rental and JPY500/day minimum usage charges are waived on this special. Sure, the usage charge is a horrendous JPY180/minute, but I expect that I mainly will use it for a relative handful of calls during the convention itself -- probably me tracking down pmcmurray or vice versa, and will probably not make or receive many calls during the rest of the trip.

4. Finish seat assignments for flights. Because I made my reservations the very first day it was possible to do so -- attempting to get ahead of the crowd since I was redeeming 180K frequent-flier miles on Alaska Airlines to buy two business-class seats on Northwest -- I couldn't make seat assignments at the time. A month or so ago I was able to make assignments for the outbound legs of the trip. Today I went back and got seat assignments for the return. This also involved calling Alaska Airlines because the first and last legs of the trip are short-distance hops on Horizon from/to Portland Airport. Turns out that four of the six flights' times have changed, but only by a few minutes.

5. Buy Travel Medical Insurance. For $95, I bought a policy from Seven Corners that covers both Lisa and me up to $1,000,000 (after $1,000 deductible) and includes medical repatriation. That seems pretty reasonable to me, and is worth the peace of mind.

There are many more things that need doing, but all of these are little things that will make the trip better for us.
Tags: nippon 2007, travel, worldcon

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