Melissa – congratulations, this is exctiting! Here’s my response to your questions:
1. Atlas, what’s this rumor of a reimbursement? That’s BS. I rely on that $$ they give us. If you’re in the Denver office, do what you can to talk them out of that silly idea. Melissa – in the past they would give us NZ$150 per day, but I think it went up to NZ$200 last year.
2. Storage in Christchurch is great. I leave all my camping and travel gear there while I’m on the Ice.
3. Ah, the weight game. I stressed over the weight before I went down for the first time, but it’s actually not as big a deal as it sounds. You get 75 lbs for your check in luggage, and yes, that includes the ECW that you’re not wearing. However, you end up wearing a lot of the ECW. Also, you’re allowed to bring a carry on bag AND a laptop, and those are NOT counted towared your 75 lbs. The carry on bag is restricted by size, not by weight. So, if you find that while you’re in New Zealand and are repacking your bags, that you’re overweight (there are scales there), put small heavy things into your carry on bag. For example: On my first year, I was bringing a guitar amp with me, and it was small enough that it could fit into my carry on, and my carry on would still be within the size limit. Amps are heavy for their size, and so this helped me take that weight off of the 75 lbs. total for my check in baggage. So, just shuffle things around (ie: put on another ECW layer, put your heavy shampoo & extra book in your carry on), and you’ll find that you’ll be within the 75 lb weight limit. Oh, and one other thing…. after all the shuffling around, if you’re still over, you can always guard mail things to the Ice. That is a free mail service through the millitary post office we have access to. It may come a few weeks after you, but if it’s something you can do without for a few weeks, that works great. Oh, and one more thing… I’ve found that they’re not as strick with weights at winfly, and I saw people get on the winfly flight last year with over 100 lbs!
4. Atlas is right – bring your hiking boots, and your tennis shoes, and your dress shoes…. Oh, and comfy lounging around shoes. I find that a lot of my weight ends up being in shoes, but I’m glad to have them (back in the real world, I only wear one pair of shoes: chaco sandels in the summer, and a pair of boots in the winter… but I wear a bigger variety on the Ice). There are some nice hikes, and it’s good to have sturdy boots. Also, dress shoes are a must (as well as dress clothes)… At Thanksgiving & Christmas dinner, we all get dressed up, and you’ll be glad to have something nice to wear. I hadn’t worn makeup since I was 13, but started again when I got to the Ice (well, just on special occasions). It’s interesting how dressing up can be so fufilling, when you’re at the end of the earth.
Good luck…. see you October (I don’t get to go winfly this year)