When Lori and I started preparing for our voyage, we found there really wasn't much written about how to prepare for cruising... Oh yes there are plenty of books
on what to buy as far as rigging
, but not a lot on things like banking, mail and cooking.
The star of our trip was the pressure cooker, which kept the heat down in the cabin
and reduced cooking times by 75% or more. Many Americans avoid pressure cookers
like the plague, but they are great! Lori found several good cookbooks for pressure cooking and cooked just about every meal with it, including things like meatloaf.
Make sure you have a good on-line banking site and check it frequently. We used ATM's everywhere and never had a problem, but in Mexico
and Central America
there were numerous reports of cruisers finding illegal transactions on there accounts. We avoided this by always using Bank ATMs not free standing machines on the side of the road or in business other than banks.
Remember credit card companies tend to shut off your cards when they see multiple countries in a short period of time. To avoid this we sent an email
to our credit card companies every 90 days informing them that we were traveling and the general area we were in. Sometimes it didn't work and they shut the card off for suspicious activity, so always carry another card form a different company as a back up. Also remember that many credit card companies, including American Express charge foreign transaction fee up to 3%. We found Capital One and Navy
Federal Credit Union did not charge these fees
For mail we used St Brendan's Isle Mail Services
, which is wonderful. Some cruisers used friends or family
, but then you are at their mercy as far as timeliness and contact. St Brendan's is only as far away as an internet
connection. You can read your mail on line or have it forwarded with in 24 hours or receipt.
Another great resource we found was looking at other cruisers BLOGs or web sites. There is a lot of information on the internet