Apr 29, 2010

Beirut Update

This week as my school semester has wound down my preparations for my trip to Beirut. This is going to be a lot more expensive than I anticipated.

I really stepped in it this time - now I have around 1,500 pages to read plus two languages to become acquainted with... plus I have to scrape up the money to buy myriad items like electrical outlet adaptors, travel clothes, luggage and other instruments that seasoned international travelers take for granted.

I also was forced to attend a 'pre-departure' orientation by the university's Education Abroad program. I had no idea what to expect as there are a lot of students who study abroad and I couldn't imagine an orientation tailored to the needs of someone traveling to a country branded by a State Department travel warning.

The orientation took the form of a panel discussion in which we were warned about travel safety and given common sense tips for the student traveler. Not all of these applied to me - for example, I do not think I will be bringing condoms with me to Lebanon. My wife would probably have some interesting questions for me if they were on my packing list (she is staying stateside).

I was actually surprised how helpful the discussion was - I picked up valuable information about how to travel with a laptop and other equipment I will need for my journalistic goals. The panelists warned me not to put my equipment in checked luggage because the handlers cannot be trusted to be careful with my equipment. So I had to go out and put down $100 on a good, large backpack that could accommodate my computer and all the peripherals I plan on bringing with me.

Here's a short list of what this trip has cost me so far:

Total as of today: $425

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