Vacation Planning Adventures of a Travel Newbie (Beijing and Bangkok)
Aside of deciding on the countries and cities I wanted to vacation in, the three biggest things to plan for were flights, hotels, and what to do once I'm there. I have never been a huge travel bug. The biggest outing before coming to Korea was a flight to Florida from NYC when I was living in the Big Apple. I stayed with family, got picked up and everything was pretty much vanilla.
Now I live in South Korea, and I will be vacationing in Beijing and Bangkok come summer break in August. This is huge for me. Since being in Korea I've visited Tokyo and Seoul, but nothing other than that.
|It was a start!|
Airfare nowadays is pretty simple and straight forward. There are many price comparison engines on the net that make grabbing a good deal fairly easy. I usually go with Travelocity.com or Expedia.com. Though I started with these sites I ultimately found better pricing through Priceline.com. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any direct, non-stop flights from Busan to Bangkok. I'll have a nasty 8-9 hour layover in Shanghai. Maybe I can get out and see some local things before taking the second leg of the flight. Part of the experience I suppose.
Flight secured - check! Hotel time. Now, being a little older and crankier than many perpetual travelers, I opted to look for a decent hotel. No hospices for this ajushi. At least not in Bangkok. Western style will be my style. I found that Booking.com had the best site layout and customer reviews. I landed a nice hotel near the areas I plan on visiting and the price was pretty killer considering the pictures and reviews. Pictures - what else can you go by?!
I took the same path for securing flight and hotel with my Beijing trip. Priceline.com and Booking.com. I'm sure the travel gurus out there could shed some light on ways to get even better pricing, but for lack of experience it was the route I went.
What To Do?
All that was left was deciding WHAT I wanted to do once I was there. I went straight for Tripadvisor.com and Lonely Planet to get the top ranking activities based on reviews. The lists are so extensive that there's little left to the imagination once you've gone through the whole thing. But what do I do with all these ideas? I can't just leave them on scribbly pieces of paper and hope to have them come August.
|Customized Google Map for my Bangkok Trip|
|Beijing Subway System - good to view beforehand|
Second thing is exchanging money. I have to place a call to my bank back home, Chase, just to be sure I can get money once I'm in Bangkok and Beijing. It's my understanding that it's cheaper to pull money directly from Chase through an ATM rather than doing it at the airport where rates are bad. Need to nail that one down. I don't think these cities will accept I.O.Us - I'm not Lloyd Christmas here.
Though the biggest chunk of planning is behind me, there's still some loose ends. Other than that, all that's left is waiting for August.
ESL, Travel, and Judo!