For some, planning can be stressful and frustrating. For me, planning a trip is almost as fun as going on it! I’m not a Travel Agent and to be honest I’ve never actually used one. But I’m about embark upon my next adventure that features 7 countries within 1 month. So how do I do it? and more importantly, how can you do it? 😀
First things first. Pick the purpose of your trip. The whole point of this next adventure is to celebrate my 30th birthday in Dubai. I want to be at the top of the Burj Khalifa, so that’s exactly what I shall do.
But, my birthday is only 1 day. I have a month off work. And, Dubai is a little out of my price range not to mention the fact that it’s more than just a stones throw from New Zealand. So, next I need to make the choice: Would I rather see as many countries/cities as possible within that month or is it more important to have explore as much as I can of 1 country during that month.
Obviously I opted to see as many countries as possible during that time, but there are a number of things that I needed to factor in. 1. I am a solo female traveller and at times am incredibly naive, therefore wherever I choose I need to make sure that I’m not putting myself in any situations that I might not be able to get out of. 2. I’m not rich. Ideally the cost of living in the countries I visit will be less than what I pay here at home. 3. Going to cooking school when I travel is important to me, so opting for countries that have the kind of cuisine I’m into is definitely a draw card.
Whatever is important to you when travelling, make sure you factor it into your decisions. Because, this is your money, your time off, your life. Might as well make the most of the experience 🙂
I guess the next step should probably involve tonnes of research. Well, not really actually. Next thing I do is hit up Skyscanner and play with it constantly until I figure out a route that is easy on the pocket and fits the bill for being safe enough and delicious enough.
For this trip, the cheapest way for me to get to Asia was by flying from New Zealand to Bali. The cheapest way to get from Asia to Dubai was from Singapore. A budget airline flight from Bali to Singapore makes the trip from NZ to Dubai, relatively inexpensive. And it gives me a week to explore Bali and enjoy some down time in the forest, on the beach, doing yoga, getting a massage as I count down the final days of my 20s. Singapore is worth a visit because it was the first country I ever visited in Asia and it would be nice to go back there for 1 night just to check out the things I missed the first time. Like the Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Flyer.
So, I get to Dubai and I celebrate my birthday at the Burj Khalifa. Might as well pop over to Abu Dhabi to check out the Grand Mosque and the camel races. But reality is, I’m not rich and unfortunately I don’t have any generous sponsors that will donate to my travel dreams. So unfortunately I can’t spend too long in this part of the world. So what’s the cheapest way back to Asia? The answer is, Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is my wild card country. I don’t know a lot about it, but I’ve met a number of Sri Lankans who are all lovely people. The blogs I’ve read don’t seem to rate it very highly with regards to safety fo solo female travellers, but this isn’t enough to deter me. I’ll be there on Christmas Day which will be a bit odd given that only 7% of the country is Christian. However, it’s the cheapest way back in Asia and is definitely worth a look.
Sri Lanka is a little out of the way in terms of the geography of Asia, and I need to get back into the main part in order to get a reasonably priced fare home. I’d also like to catch up with some friends I made last year in my travels and also update my handbag collection. Lucky for me, Colombo-Bangkok comes at a reasonable price so the next stop is Bangkok for New Years.
I’ve been to the airport in Kuala Lumpur twice now, but have never visited Malaysia. I also really like trains. So, I’ll be doing the train journey from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur with a stop in Penang. Travelling by rail gives me time to think, catch up on study and connect with other travellers. It’s also an inexpensive way to travel and absorb plenty of scenery.
From Kuala Lumpur, I’ll fly to Sydney. Because it’s about NZD$150 cheaper to fly KL-Sydney-Wellington than it is to fly KL-Wellington. Lucky for me, I have a friend in Sydney who I’ll stay with for a couple of nights before heading back home.
This update might seem like a very long winded way to say, I like to play travel agent. But it’s important for you to know that it’s just not that difficult. Once you’ve found the fares you want, go ahead and book them. Personally, I use skyscanner to find out which flight is cheapest, then I go to the airline’s website and book using their site. Then I update my itinerary spreadsheet with all relevant information.