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What Did The Dentist Say To The Golfer

what did the dentist say to the golfer
what did the dentist say to the golfer

Summer camp is fast approaching, with the majority of us now in double digits until we jet off to spend three months in the USA. I’m off to camp super early this year, and with only 11 more days until I leave, I thought I would share with you all a few of the things on my to-do list in preparation for the summer. Some of them are very menial, adult (a.k.a ‘boring’) tasks, so I apologise if this is a dreary post in advance, but they are all essential things to do before you leave.

1. Go to the dentist.

Wow, what a way to start! I have NEVER met anyone yet who likes going to the dentist so why, I hear you ask, is this top of my list? Well. If you have never been to America before, medical and dental care do not come cheap. Although we all have insurance (I hope – if you are at ALL unsure, add this to your to-do list right now!), the excess is still rarely cheap and a £20 check up now could save you a lot of pain (literally) in the near future.

To make this point slightly better, here is a dentist-related joke for you all (sorry in advance):

Q: What did the dentist say to the golfer?

A: “You have a hole in one. ”

2. Take a trip to the doctors.

Thank the lord for the NHS. Check with your camp whether you require any kind of jabs before you arrive – I remember having to get a Tetanus jab before I went to camp in my first year – and get them done here while they are FREE (kind of). In addition, stock up on any prescriptions/medication you require and remember to get enough to last you throughout the summer.

3. Book any other appointments you may require.

For me, this included a trip to the opticians. It was time to get my eyes tested and for a contact lens check, but it also gave me the chance to stock up on contact lenses to take with me. I wear monthly lenses, but I also bought a few dailies to wear on days off at the beach – I’m scared to wear my monthlies just in case a huge wave hits me in the face and I lose one (not that I speak from experience or anything…). I also needed a new pair of glasses – being blind is EXPENSIVE!!

4. Sort out your finances.

While you are away for the summer, do you really need to keep paying for that Netflix membership? The gym membership you only used twice? The Spotify account? Probably not. Go through all your direct debits and cancel any that you won’t need/use over the summer.

Following on from this, make sure you do have enough money in your account to cover any bills (such as your phone bill) that you will need to continue to pay for over the summer. You don’t want to be coming home in September on a high to find overdraft charges galore on your account!

5. Make phone preparations.

Many of us (me included) cannot live life without our phones glued to the end of our arm. Although most camps don’t allow you to use your phone in front of the campers (they are usually not allowed to even bring their phones to camp in the summer), you are able to use it in your free time and on your days off camp. For the past two years, I have used a pay-as-you-go 3 sim whilst in the U.S.A, as they offer a ‘feel at home’ deal where you can use your phone there the same as you would in England, at no extra cost. I topped the sim card up every month (like being back in the good old days when my mum used to top my Nokia 3310 up once a month), converted it to a ‘feel at home’ bundle and then I could use the internet and call home whenever I wanted to.

Other options include getting an American sim once you arrive in the USA. A few of my friends chose this option, and paid around $20-$30 per month for the privilege. Check out the deals available online before you set off to camp, and decide on the best option for you. Alternatively, you could just have some time away from your phone, use wifi in public places on your days/nights off and write letters home to the people you love.

6. Make car arrangements.

You could have the biggest suitcase in the world (and I’m still not sure it would rival mine), but sadly you won’t be able to take your car with you to camp. If you are paying your car insurance monthly, make sure you cancel your car insurance in advance. My car insurer advised I give them four weeks notice that I wished to cancel the insurance, so make a note in your diary/calendar and give them a call in advance.

In addition, if you live in the U.K. and no-one will be driving it whilst you are gone, you may need to SORN your car. SORN stands for ‘Statutory Off Road Notification’, and basically it means you have to register your vehicle as off the road if it is not insured/taxed. You can SORN your car, or find out more information, here: https://www.gov.uk/make-a-sorn

(I promise the list gets better from here, keep reading!!) 7. ‘I need dollar, dollar, dollar is what I need…’

There are many different ways for you to take money with you to America. Sadly, the exchange rate isn’t what it used to be and you don’t get anywhere as many dollars for your hard earned money, but here are the options available:

  • Take it as cash. Exchange your money at an exchange bureau before you leave, and take the money with you. I usually take enough to get through a few days, but don’t like to take huge amounts of cash with me in case it gets lost or stolen.
  • Use your English debit/credit card to withdraw money. I used my Santander debit card to withdraw money during my first year at camp when I had gone on a bit of a mad one at the mall (influenced by my camp bestie Grace, the biggest shopaholic I have EVER met), but there were quite a lot of charges involved. For example, if I made a purchase on the card in the U.S., I was charged a non-sterling transaction fee of 2.75% of the value plus an additional fee of £1.25 for each purchase – not cheap!! Check out your bank T&Cs before you leave.
  • Use a prepaid dollar card. These cards are super handy, avoiding expensive foreign transactions fees on normal debit cards as outlined above, and they also mean you don’t have to carry around lots of cash. The card I have used for the last few years is a Revolut card, which I love and have now used all over the world! The card is paired with an app, which allows you to exchange money as and when you want (and the exchange rate always matches that of the exchange bureau), spend without fees, keep track of your expenses and much more! Also, feel free to use my referal code: eleanof55. In addition, there are many other prepaid cards available – find out more at MoneySuperMarket.

Remember, you will also have your camp wages. Camps usually pay you wages onto some type of a prepaid card for you to use. My camp usually pays our wages in full at the end of the summer, however you can request some of it early if you wish to do so. If you are planning on relying on your wages whilst at camp, double check before you leave when it is you will get paid.

8. Shop for the essentials.

If you missed it, see my summer camp packing list for more ideas on exactly what it is you need to be buying to take to camp with you but here are a few points to REMEMBER when you are buying/packing for camp (and here’s where I should take my own advice too):

  1. You are going to live in America for the summer, not on Mars. Camps are usually in rural areas but there will be some form of Walmart/Target type shop within a few miles or so. You do not need to pack 3 months worth of shampoo or conditioner – buy it there!
  2. Most airlines only give you 23kg for your checked baggage. Fee’s can be expensive if you go overboard, so buy yourself a luggage scale if you don’t already own one, and stick to the limit!
  3. Leave some room in your suitcase for your return. If you pack your suitcase full on the way there, where are you going to put all the souvenirs you bought for your family or that 9 month supply of Lucky Charms you bought for yourself on the way back…?
  4. Some clothes are not going to return with you. They will get lost, shrunk in the camp laundry, accidentally put in a campers trunk or covered in paint. Don’t pack all of your best clothes (same goes for shoes/jewellry etc.), and make sure you have some that you are happy to leave behind with you once camp is over.

9. Hand your notice in at work (probably my favourite point!).

If you are quitting your job to spend a summer at camp (and good on you is all I can say!), then make sure you check your contract and give enough notice before you leave. If you actually like your job, and don’t want to leave, ask them nicely if you can have a three-month sabbatical from work (if you haven’t already) – and cross your fingers that they say yes!

10. Check your University scheduele.

If you are a student, make sure you have completed your summer exams before you leave for camp. Some universities allow you to take the exam early if necessary, so check with you tutors if you are worried about missing out on the start of the summer! The same goes for your return – make sure you book your flight home ready for the start of the new term.

So there you have it, my plans for the next 42 days. Lots of people have been asking me for pre-camp tips on both Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/how2survivecamp/) and on Twitter (https://twitter.com/how2survivecamp), so I really hope you all find this useful! Check out my other ‘before camp‘ blog posts for more advice on preparing yourself for a summer in the States!