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Money’s Such a Pain

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Photo by Tracy Olson.
CC-By-SA 2.0

After stressing about it for a couple months, our savings plan is back on track for the trip, so we should be about where we should be come departure time. Which has left me some time to start worrying about another problem – how to get our money out.

Normally, this hasn’t been a problem, I just pull out my bank card and get some cash out. But with the favourable exchange rate earlier in the year, I changed about half the trip budget into US dollars, since that’s what’s used in Ecuador, and this has complicated life a bit. Currently, it’s being held in an ING direct account – to earn some interest – which can only be transfered to another Canadian bank, it can’t be withdrawn directly. I’d figured that all I’d have to do is open up a USD account with a regular bank, and then I’d be able to withdraw the money from an ATM in Ecuador. Turns out this is not the case…all the major banks don’t allow ATM access to their USD accounts.

So I’ve come up with two possibilities. It looks like some of the big international banks – HSBC and Citi – might let me open a regular chequing account denominated in US dollars, and I’m waiting for HSBC to get back to me about whether or not this will come with a debit card. If that doesn’t pan out, the last resort is RBC, which allows you to open an account with RBC Centura – their American subsidiary – and transfer money between that and a Canadian account…this seems a little over complicated.

Really, I’ve done pretty well for having exchanged the money early, all I want to do is not lose out on those savings by having to cycle the money back through a Canadian account in order to actually get cash out in Ecuador. It just seems like this really shouldn’t be so hard.

No More House!

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

Well, condo. It’s all packed up, and we passed the keys on yesterday. I am now officially living out of a pack. 6 days to go!

I took my cats to my parents, who will babysit for the next few months (thanks mom and dad!!). They seem to be doing better this time – I’ve taken them for visits a couple of times before to try and reduce the shock. Other than some growling and hissing, there has been a lot of exploration, and hopefully with the number of stairs in the house, they might actually lose some weight!

The rest of the week will be spent doing last minute things (updating addresses and insurance, making sure bank accounts are all set up and accessible, etc), and resting up and reading up on our destinations.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m excited!


Preparations Well Underway

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

Syrian Visa
Syrian Visa

Well, most of the preparations necessary for this trip are well underway. We've jumped through bureaucratic hoops and optained our Syrian visa...the only visa we can't ... [Continue reading this entry]

More Ticketses

Sunday, March 5th, 2006

Today we actually booked the flights to Cairo. It was a bit of a decision to make, as the original plan taking us through Copenhagen is no longer an option (go figure). So we had to decide on direct from ... [Continue reading this entry]


Saturday, March 4th, 2006
So we bought our first leg's tickets yesterday. Round trip Edmonton to London. And, wow, were they ever expensive. I'm glad I budgetted more than I expected to spend for the transatlantic leg, because we almost spent ... [Continue reading this entry]


Thursday, February 9th, 2006

I guess this blog is looking suspiciously dead. It is not. It is simply waiting for departure. I have all my funds together, but Kathy's plan is to sell her condo, so we have it listed, but not yet sold. ... [Continue reading this entry]

The Plan

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

For a while, I've been hoping to take an adventure travelling through an interesting part of the world, and as I've researched various destinations, I've become more and more interested in the Middle East as a destination. When I ... [Continue reading this entry]