Trip Planning and Preparation (Part 1)

It’s always pretty unbelievable all the details that go into a month-long trip half-way around the world. It makes me wonder how the RTWers do it! This post will touch upon various pieces of trip planning and preparation but will not go into detail into any of them. Each of these topics are very important and would require their own post to do them justice.

Looking for the Best Airfare

Bangkok SkytrainAs with all parts of this trip, sticking to a tight budget is very important to me. I spent quite a bit of time in Kayak playing around with the dates, destinations and comparing results against independent airlines such as AirAsia. I have never found travel hacking quite as easy as some of the travel blogs make them it out to be, but it’s certainly worth the effort! I found that my best option was to fly via a traditional airline (in my case it was via ANA) from Boston to Bangkok and once in Bangkok to move about via AirAsia, which has prices that are very hard to beat.

My experience has taught me that two of the most important parts of finding cheap airfare is to be patient and be flexible. When it comes to patience, even when you think you have found the cheapest airfare around, keep looking! Don’t settle. All of the travel hackers out there agree with flexibility. The more options you leave yourself for airports, dates, connections and so on, the more leverage you have to get the best deal around.

Trip Planning

Booking the flights is just one of the steps in planning a trip of this magnitude. Now, there are folks who say that planning takes all of the fun out of travel. One of the great things of travel is the unplanned encounters that you could never imagine or plan for ahead of time. When I plan my trips, I try to get enough of it figured out so that I have a rough idea of some of the major points of the trip such as how to get there, where I am staying and other tidbits that might be helpful. This is where Tripit comes in.

TripIt is a great web application where you can forward you confirmation emails from airlines, hostel or hotel reservations, even car rental confirmations and TripIt will parse the confirmation emails and start creating your itinerary without you doing much work at all. The most practical part of TripIt is that you can print your itinerary and it will include all of the reservation and confirmation numbers from your reservations, so you only need to carry one piece of paper instead of printouts from your airlines, hostels, car rentals and so on.

See Part 2 of this post in Trip Planning and Preparation (Part 2)

This entry is part of a series of posts on my trip to Southeast Asia in August of 2008. You can see all of the posts in this series the post: A look back to my trip to Southeast Asia.

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