Have Itinerary, Will Travel

November 11, 2008 - 6:39 pm 1 Comment

Travelocity never charged my credit card for anything. Was just an authorization. You’d think that American Express would be able to tell the difference and save me a considerable amount of stress.

So I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying to plan out the rest of my trip. Figuring out how to make the most of three weeks in Southeast Asia is a daunting task. First, you have to choose from all the amazing places to go, and then you have to figure out how to travel between them. The same frustrations navigating through crappy international web sites continued, but finally booking our flights and accommodation around New Year’s as things were starting to fill up reduced the stress considerably.

We leave the US on December 26, but it actually takes two days to get there, so the beginning of our trip looks like this:

12/28 – 12/31: Bangkok
12/31 – 1/2: Koh Phangan (for New Year’s party on the beach)
1 /2 – 1 /4: Koh Samui
1 /4 – 1 /8: Chiang Mai
1/8 – 1/12: Siem Reap
1/12 – 1/16: ?

That’s all we have booked at the moment. Like I did on my trip to Peru, we’re relying on a bunch of short flights to get around. Yes, I’ve heard arguments that we’re actually “seeing” less on a plane than we might see on the road or in a train and that flight-hopping is almost cheating, but I’m all about efficiency. I want to see as much guaranteed awesomeness as I can in the three weeks that we’re there.

On Koh Phangan, I’ve booked a little bungalow NEAR the beach for $40/night. Places ON the beach were sold out or way overpriced at some of the other resorts. I’m sure that will be a fun few days. We don’t really want to spend too much time in the tourist traps but realize that these places are usually the easiest to get to and the best starting points for day trips elsewhere.

Between Chiang Mai and our flight home, I wanted to try to squeeze in a couple of other countries. Cambodia was definitely going to be one of them, but my cousin Eric strongly recommended Laos, specifically the city of Luang Prabang and surroundings. Others recommend Vietnam. But which? Reading other travel blogs and looking at photos, both seem like amazing places to go. Instead of helping me decide, Doug wanted me to shop for suitcases with him online.

I have to admit, when I was looking into all this, I had to look at a map to figure out exactly where to find all these countries and cities in Southeast Asia. And then I had to figure out what places and activities were accessible from each of these cities. For a few days, I stressed. I couldn’t learn enough about these places to make an informed decision, and one thing I hate is being forced to make a decision based on incomplete information.

Today, it occurred to me that I’m not really being forced to do anything. Most backpackers going to Southeast Asia end up winging it. Why can’t we do the same?

So that’s what we’re going to do. If we love the beaches of southern Thailand, we’ll stay there a bit longer. If not, we’ll pack up and head north and rearrange things to spend time in Laos or Cambodia. I hope we don’t get screwed with any last minute pricing, but maybe that’s just the price to pay to keep our options open until we get there, soak it all in, and figure out what we really want to do.

One thing is for sure: I’ve put way more research into this trip than any I’ve ever taken.

    One Response to “Have Itinerary, Will Travel”

  1. Doug Says:

    Can I expect to be ridiculed in every post?

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