Early Preparations for the Trip

Los Angeles

Time for some early preparations. I’m counting down the twenty days left before departure —all very exciting indeed!

I’ll be leaving on May 18, 2006, and flying from Los Angeles directly to Heathrow on United flight 934. I’ve been planning now for weeks about what to pack and organizing everything for my departure. The trip includes two black-tie events and each member of the travelling party is limited to two pieces of luggage so it’s going to take some smart packing.

I’ve got my laptop ready to go with the appropriate converters and I’ve got my unlocked quad-band cell phone ready to accept a SIM card for the UK. I generally use a Virgin Mobile card which you can buy for about ₤10 at any Virgin Record store in the UK. This will give me the ability to have a local number while on my journey.

If you haven’t used your mobile while traveling overseas before, find more details on the The Thrillist blog.

Your mobile phone company doesn’t want you to know about this because they want to charge you outrageous roaming rates. But it’s much better to have a local phone number and pay local rates, however, your US phone number won’t ring through. Who wants all those phone calls from home anyway? All you have to do is call the people you want to be in touch with and give them your new British phone number.

There is a company that I found here in the US where you can actually order overseas SIM cards in advance but naturally, you do pay a little extra this way. I found this company called Telestial based in San Diego that seems to be quick and reliable. I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be to buy a SIM card locally when I went to Morocco last year so I didn’t mind paying the extra charge to have it before I left on my trip.