August 2017 Trip Update

I would normally refrain from so personal a post, but I wanted to provide an update on my recent trip, especially given how popular the notification post was.

I ended up going to Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong.  I have been the friend at home before, with all the questions about how it was done, and been the receiver of lackluster answers, so I thought I might provide some logistical details:

I book all my flights and other major international travel ahead of time.  I’m not generally one for on-the-fly plans, so the more flexible among you may balk a bit at that restriction.  I spent about $1700 in flights total (I am incredibly sorry for an inexact response, but at the time of booking I was frustrated and a bit less meticulous in my note taking and cautious with my dimes than I normally am, so I spent more and kept worse track).

I also booked my hostels ahead of time. They cost me a total of $356.34, once I had converted the currency I had paid on the ground into USD.  I paid for all my hostels in cash, and had found them originally through Hostelworld (where I can demand WiFi and cleanliness, my top two priorities).

I spent $186.60 in food, which is less than it would have been had I actually been eating full meals, instead of mostly almonds and dried mangos in an over-the-top effort to avoid illness, which I didn’t entirely.  About half that spending was on water alone.

$36.34 was spent on the museums, temples, and other attractions I visited.  I should note that I do everything in my power to stick to free facilities, other the area’s major history museum, and walk the city rather than take a tour bus.  Or bus of any kind.  I walked more than 20 miles around Paris once; I’m pretty serious about this one.  I always carry a compass and a paper map to supplement Google Maps when they fail me.

I used $54.95 for transportation, and that is including an exorbitantly priced, out of character investment in a Bangkok taxi, both to and from the airport.

All and all, I spent around $2200 on an 11 day vacation to 3 cities.  It could have been cheaper, but what I learned this round is that there is such a thing as too much planning.

First of all, I planned a bigger trip than I was actually comfortable pulling off.  It was the number of transfers: when you have a chain method like mine, point to point to point to point, when one method of transportation fails you have already put money down and are left with fewer alternatives.  While it has never come to that, I am very aware of it, and so try to limit lengths of time without a checkpoint- someone I know who is waiting for me to show up somewhere.  I didn’t have any checkpoints in that half of the world, and so cut back on my trip.

Cutting back means abandoning plans, which is hard to do when you’ve put so much work into them.  So my plan ended up a bastard of a bastard of a bastard, and not very good despite the amount of time I had put into it.

For anyone reading who may be wondering, I am an obviously female person, and so have put up with a whole lot of bullshit when traveling alone, as I did this trip.  But that is no reason to stay home.  I would redo every second of it, and still not wait around for years for my friends’ schedules to line up with mine, if I could do it over again.  I follow a handful of rules to help keep me safe and my personal bubble unbroken, which may be a chafe even the most cautious travelers.  But they have helped me at least feel better.  If there’s interest, I can follow up with a post just about that.

Thanks for reading and be sure to let me know if you have any travel related interests and concerns to discuss on here!


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