Pre-Trip

How To Fly for Dirt Cheap in SE Asia

I am exactly one day away from takeoff!! I’m packed, double-checked and excited to start my journey tomorrow from YYZ.  Before I go I wanted to break down some costs, since this is one of the most frequent questions I’ve been asked in the last few weeks:

What does is all cost?

How much money do you need to make a trip like this?

 

WELL. That’s a good question.  Let’s start 7 or so months ago when I was formulating my trip.  I decided where I wanted to go and what routes to take. After briefly looking into Round the World tickets and travel agents and finding them ridiculously expensive, I set out to create my own budget itinerary and figure this out myself instead of relying on a more expensive travel agent.

  1.  I bought a one way ticket to Jakarta. I know. Not smart or cheap, but it was the kick in the butt I needed to get started planning my trip. IT WAS HAPPENING! ($1200)
  2. I began looking at all the places I might like to travel in SE Asia and pricing them out with AirAsia, the discount airline I chose to book most of my flights with.
  3. Checked with my lovely travel partner to talk dates, flying strategies and places we wanted to see. Bought tickets to Bali, Manilla, Palawan, Boracay)
  4. Then the real fun began.  I knew I had about two months of travel to plan, and no idea what to see. So the cheapest flights won!  Manila to Singapore will cost me $45.00 US ALL IN!
  5. I saved a flight by combining two countries and deciding to travel overland to Malaysia, which happened to be having a huge seat sale to AUSTRALIA! I immediately bought a cheap flight to AUS.
  6. Then – a snag. Flights to NZ weren’t cheap, but I sucked it up and bought the $250 ticket cause I wasn’t going to go see OZ without at least peeking at NZ.
  7. After that I was broke, and metaphorically stranded in NZ for the next three months as I made more $$ and watched the price of my return ticket rise and fall. Then – a week ago, I saw the cheapest price from Christchurch, NZ to Toronto that I had ever seen ($900!) and bought it now that the cash flow was better.

It was a bit of a hit and miss approach, and here is a full disclosure look at how much my flights are costing me in total.

Toronto – Vancouver – Manilla – Jakarta  $1207.00

Jakarta – Bali $ 63.83

Bali – Manila $ 147.00

Manila – Kalibo (Boracay) $ 33.00

Kalibo (Boracay) – Manila $30.17

Manila – Palawan $ 29.23

Palawan – Manila $ 33.86

Clark – Singapore $ 44.60

Kuala Lumpur – Gold Coast (Australia) $ 173.34

Sydney – Auckland $ 261.05

Christchurch – Toronto $ 908.00

Grand Total: $ 2,931.08

Yup!  Eleven flights for just shy of three grand.  Now, AirAsia has not been the easiest airline to book with (one flight has been cancelled outright, one has had the time changed and one had the date changed) but the customer service has been decent via the internet in getting some quick responses to my questions, even via twitter, so props to them for that. I will update after a few flights to see if the amazing prices are worth the travel experience aboard AirAsia.  I took two domestic flights in Thailand last year with them and both went perfectly smoothly, so I’m trusting my own experience with the airline and taking a chance on some cheap flights. Wish me luck!

EXACTLY 24 HOURS BEFORE I BOARD THE PLANE.  I AM VERY EXCITED! ALSO I AM YELLING!

Ask questions, comments, quips or queries below 🙂

xoxoxo

D

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What to Pack When Travelling Around the World

What a busy month! I’ve been trying to cram it all in – work, seeing friends and family, and all those thousand little trip prep things that need to get done before I get on the road and head out to Bali, Indonesia, the first stop on my travels.  The most important part of my pre-trip prepping is my BRAND NEW Mountain Equipment Co-op fancy 70L backpack.  Yes – it’s big, but since I will be gone for close to four months, I need something that’s gonna hold all my crap!

backpack2backpack

Oooo Aaaaah. Note the cool zipper front that allows you to see everything in your bag.  I had too many frantic packing moments last year to not invest in a good backpack of my own.  I also beat the S**T out of my last bag, so it was time for a new one!

I started packing with a jumble of stuff on the floor two months ago.  Yes. Two months.  I was excited!! I began with the things that served me well last year.

  • Compressible pillow for long bus rides (MEC $20.00)
  • Silk sleep sheet for comfort in grody SE Asia beds and questionable hostel sheets. (SAIL $30.00, don’t buy the cotton ones!! They are too heavy for equator climate!)
  • Sarongs from Thailand which tripled as towels, beach blankets and scarves (get them overseas)
  • Jean shorts. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. DONT buy these overseas, you will live in them)
  • Laundry sheets for washing bras/underwear/anything
  • Face wipes for sweaty refreshment
  • Toilet paper. There is none in Asia. haha. you think im joking.

After doing this I emptied my closets and made some “maybe” piles with clothes that I wouldn’t mind losing if they did get stolen/lost/wrecked. Then the ruthless sorting began.

Ask Yourself:  

What can I absolutely not live without?  

What are my basic essentials?

Packing Pile

My Top Ten Packing Tips

  1. Don’t buy anything until you are sure you need it – try to use what you have already.
  2. Don’t bring a towel – it will get gross and dirty. Bring a little packtowel instead, one that dries fast.
  3. Bring comfortable underwear. Seriously. That lace thong that looked so cute in the mirror at home will not be pretty on a Bangkok day trip.
  4. Bring money. Lots of money. Also ways to store that money on your person without looking like a stupid tourist. That $50 you tuck into your bra or sock may just save your life.
  5. Bring all the meds you are used to taking ( Pepto, Immodium, Benadryl, Nyquil, Gravol, Advil, Aleve, Aerius) cause the stuff sold in drugstores may look the same but be formulated very differently in other countries.
  6. Go to the travel doctor and get your shots, heavy-duty motion sickness pills, and gross but potent bug spray.
  7. In your carry-on, pack a set of clothes, bikini, and wash up stuff, enough to last you 4 or 5 days without your big bag.  My bag was delayed last year, and I would have been screwed without prepping this stuff and bringing it with me in my hand luggage.
  8. Keep your technology safe, dry and separate. Secure tangly wires with velcro ties and make note of all plugs, adaptors and chargers that you need while travelling.
  9. Dont bring any heavy stuff. Leave your books/guidebooks/CD’s/Weights/Whatever at home. You. Wont. Need. It
  10. Unpack when you have packed everything for the first time and take out two shirts, a pair of bottoms, and anything else you were undecided about. You. wont. need. it. Unpack your damn jeans too. Thats right. Let go of the jeans.
  11. Dont forget your phone charger, pajamas and underwear!!

Ok that was eleven. Oh well. Happy Packing!  If you have any questions, comments, quips or queries, please leave me a message below 🙂

Also, if you are curious, ask me for my itemized and categorized packing list and I will share it with you. It is extremely nerdy.  I don’t care! I love organizing!

 

xoxo

D

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Epic Journey 2013 – It Begins!

It’s official!

In exactly one month I will be leaving Canada again for another trip around the world.  This trip will be longer, with more stops and I’m visiting 6 new countries along the way. I’ve been carefully planning for months – I began to plan this trip as soon as I got back in Sept 2012, so this puppy is a long time coming!

When I started to plan my trip I began with some basic questions – Where do I want to go next? What places are calling out to me? What can I absolutely not miss this time around? Also my trusty travel partner factors into this – where does Chelsea want to go and see?

Here’s the basic plan: Start with Chelsea in Bali for two weeks, then Philippines for two.  Miss C goes home after that (boo!) and I continue on to Singapore for ten or so days, then Malaysia for about the same. THEN, Australia awaits!  Yes, I am going down under FINALLY to see for myself why I love the Australians so much.  Anyone who knows me knows I’ve got a weak spot for that accent!! My final trip will be to NZ, where I will be catching up with two amazing ladies that I met on the night boat to Ko Tao! All in all I will be gone for about three and a half months, and will have covered most of SE Asia and Oceania in my adventures of this year and last.

This trip is very important to me, for a few big reasons. Number one, I graduated university this year, and this trip is my present to myself for accomplishing that milestone and taking a break before adult life and a full time job.  I learned so much and got to know myself in new ways while I was travelling last year, I knew my journeys weren’t over.  I want to strap on my trusty sandals, throw caution to the wind and live my life wild and free like we are meant to do, if only for a little while.

AND GUESS WHAT?? YOU GET TO COME WITH ME! In blog, form, that is. 😛

Welcome aboard. It’s gonna be a hell of a ride.

xo

D

Me and Chelsea on top of the world

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Beach Traveller

I am leaving in TEN DAYS!!  There is so much to do before then – but the most important thing is seeing everyone I am going to miss!

Here’s a taste of what I will be experiencing.  The first 26 days of my trip will be spent on a backpacking adventure tour with a Canadian company called Beach Travellers.  It’s a backpacking adventure tour for ppl 18-35, and since the tour is going everywhere I wanted to and offers the comfort of having a built-in fun group to travel with, it’s perfect for what Im looking for.

BT Thailand!!

Here’s a little taste. xo

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Trip Booked!

ITS OFFICIAL. IM GOING.

60 days of adventure backpacking solo in SE Asia.  My trip of a lifetime is booked and theres only a few more things left to do now: prep, pack and go!  But first, a little background info on why I am taking this trip and what I hope to get out of it.

WHY ARE YOU GOING?

I’ve decided to take this trip for several reasons.  The first is simply that I love to travel and I believe that experiencing other cultures and customs firsthand is just about the best education anyone can get.  Next, Im single, a student (with wicked travel insurance), and dying to have a big adventure before I think about the next phase of my life which might not include time or money for solo travel.  Last, I want to prove to myself that I can do anything, go anywhere, adapt and survive in order to get closer to my goal of being a global citizen who is connected, conscious and educated about the world we live in.

WHAT WILL YOU DO THERE?

Have fun!  Meet new friends! Lay on a beach all day long!

Actually my trip will start with a 26 day adventure backpacking tour with a group of other young Canadians, and I will travel with this group through the southern beaches of Thailand to party, play, and have fun!

Then the real adventure begins.  I will be travelling through Laos and Cambodia, hopefully with a new friend or two, and then travel through Northern Thailand if I can fit it all in.  My travel schedule is flexible and I’m actually not going to plan too much besides some must-see things on my list (tubing down the Mekong river, Angkor Wat, etc)

WHY FEARLESS ADVENTURE?

Every year I choose a theme that I’d like to consciously focus on during that time period.  This year the theme is ‘fearless adventure’.  This means jumping into new things even though im scared, being willing to try new things and have new experiences, and going into every new journey with an open heart and clear mind, taking lessons from what i learn and bouncing back when i miss a step or two.  My SE Asia trip figures perfectly into this mindset.

WHY THIS BLOG?

While travelling overseas I wont be able to keep up with my friends/family the way I’d like to.  This blog is a way for me to share the joys, trials and tribulations of my travels with each and every one of you in a personal way.  You can comment and leave messges for me, too, so I dont feel quite so far away!

37 days till I board the plane.

I cant wait to share my adventure with you.

xo

Danika

lets do this

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