I suspect that you realize by now that between travels, this blog is largely dormant. After a year and a half hiatus this entry does indeed mark an impending trip. Yesterday tickets were booked for a five month journey through South East Asia, for the second time. Allow me to explain.
In February 2010 G & I jumped on a $550 CAD one way ticket to Bangkok, by way of a 10 day stop in Beijing. Dated for 11/10/11 we had every intent of leaving snowy northern British Columbia and never returning (read: move to Vancouver and travel, not go-to-Asia-and-never-come-back). However, by early summer G had a work opportunity that he could not resist capitalizing on, and as luck would have it the summer courses that represented my final BComm credits were cancelled due to low enrolment. So the tickets were refunded (FYI: Air China charge of $100.00) and I begrudgingly accepted the fact that another winter would be spent in the north. We decided that we would reschedule our departure date for Spring 2012. Fall 2011 brought about my final semester of university while juggling a full time job at a local not for profit. If I had to be here then I would settle my studies, save money and keep busy. It would just so happen that on an unremarkable day in late October, my colleague called and asked if we were interested in house sitting her father’s duplex while he migrated to Arizona for the winter. What a game changer. Within a week we were living in a 2,000 foot updated home for just $250/month. Not only was this an upgrade from our modest basement suite, but it reduced our monthly rent by $550 allowing for extra travel savings. Our gig ends 4/15/12, and so a departure date presented itself.
As I fancy myself a bit of travel junkie (books, blogs, Trivial Pursuit geography category specialist, map enthusiast, etcetera), I typically book my own flights independently via the internet. However, during the process of refunding our original ticket I had found the cultural and language barriers with Air China employees to be an obstacle. The refund portion was simple -fill out the online form and wait a week, no problem- but calling customer service with questions had resulted in a negative impression. But the fact of the matter is that we are budget conscious backpackers and Air China provides the most competitive pricing. In our pre-trip planning, G & I struggled most with choosing our return date. Given that we may find ourselves in need of a mid-trip flight change, the thought of communicating my needs to Air China (again) was not an exciting prospect. Therefore, we decided that we would employ an agent to negotiate our flight bookings. For the same fare as the one offered online we gained an advocate who would navigate the airline should we decide to renege our return date.
For a cool $1,200.60 CAD we have our journey booked.
4/20/12: Depart Vancouver for Beijing
4/30/12: Depart Beijing for Bangkok
9/28/12: Depart Bangkok for Vancouver
We cheers-ed ourselves with a bottle of Cab Sav.
T-minus 3 months.