After much research and itinerary planning for my GRRRL Solo Traveler challenge to take place in Central America, thoughtful reconsideration to travel warnings forced me to pull both, Guatemala and Central America from my plans. As a beginner, I’m not ready for them. So I took up a last minute 12-hour search for a replacement. I booked Thailand– a photogenic dream country I’d had mild curiosities about due to friend recommendations. Yay & GRRR! But it wasn’t easy. From choosing my starter country, dealing with budgetary concerns, hurdling my first soloist fears of booking a ticket and then dealing with a less than ideal flight itinerary, I’ve many things to refine in the future.
But a 12 hour search?! Call me crazy…
The GRRRL Budget:
Flights from the States to Central America were crazy low…$255. Guatemala was GRRRL budget attractive! With Thailand entering the game, my GRRRL budget just soared. By investing too much time into planning Guatemala only for it to collapse, I now, didn’t have patience to hit “repeat”. I had to choose my country and book my travel before the year’s end and I had to do so now.
Searching for budget savings, getting only a “budget itinerary“.
I get addicted to the online hunt for bargain basement flight prices, while imagining my infinite possibilities of layovers and country connections. Stopovers in India, Japan, even Dubai all held ascending prices but sparkling dreams. Flying peak season- Nov- wasn’t aiding my discovery of a price stairway to the basement however.
I shot for a low $700-900 range; I got mid-range. Fine but while my flight (from JFK) to Bangkok- is definitely do-able- it isn’t quite desireable. This is the flight itinerary I got:
1- My arrival into Bangkok is at 11:45P.
Not a safe time for a gal traveling alone. Don’t know what late night hours are like in Bangkok or if my hostel will even be open that late. Seeing as Bangkok is “the late night booty call” on practically every airline route, I guesstimate that accomodations must find this timing routine.
2- My return is at 12A.
I don’t know whether to feel cheated out of a part of a day or grateful to be getting a head-start on it. Let me think,…cheated.
3- The flight to Bangkok is around 18+ hours .
But in actuality, you have to figure on losing a good 3+ days in time changes and transit.
4- On my return, I have a 6.5 hr layover in Beijing.
Initially, I was like, WhooF! Then I remembered- I am a unique beast- the two things I enjoy about travel are “waiting in airports” and “flying”. Still, I may be looking into splurging for a $25 lounge pass (www.loungepass.com) on this last leg.
5- I’m flying on Air China.
Anyone heard of them??
So my flight is booked and i’m on my way to embracing my first GRRRL TRAVELER challenge! Now to start planning my itinerary!
If you want to see how I got through the first fears of traveling solo and to the point of courageously booking my ticket… click here on GRRR!