Thursday, May 1, 2014

Travel Bug South East Asia - Our Next Adventure

Most travellers I know are under thirty and even though I am really excited about my own travel plans, I would be lying to myself if I didn't acknowledge that I am a little bit scared about buying a one-way ticket to a country I don't know very well at this point in my life. This is the settling down, family making stage for so many of my friends who fall into the same age group. Nonetheless, here I am, changing my career, quiting a perfectly good job (frustrations and stress aside - I am/was so lucky to have gainful employment when so many people in the world are struggling to find work), taking a course in the opposite direction from the studies I have undertaken previously and jumping headlong into South East Asia - basically another world from my own.

Here are some things that I have learnt so far, that might be useful to you if you are thinking of doing something similar:
- Rental contracts are not as easy as you might think to get out of but if you know your rights and check the relevant consumer affairs resources, it will be harder for real estate agents to go crazy with your money. I was seriously shocked to find that the almost $700 re-letting fee was cut to less than $200 simply by asking why they were charging it and how it was calculated. I wonder how many people pay the first amount and get totally screwed?!?
- Make sure you have an up to date passport - some countries won't give you a visa if you don't have at least 6 months validity. On our last trip to Europe the Man's passport was turned around in a couple of days (for a fee, obviously) but it is so much less stressful if you do it early - especially if you want to get a visa before you leave the country.
- I have been through so many product disclosure statements for travellers insurance and I have come to the conclusion that they are as individual as you or I. Don't trust the reviewers on those stupid travel sites! Most of the time they will give a company 5 stars even though they haven't made a claim. Who would rate an insurance company on how easy it is to buy a policy and give them money? Bizzare. Anyway, make sure you read the "exclusions" part very carefully because some of it is surprising (eg. goods are not covered if they are out of your possession, including in the plane's undercarriage)
- The most amazing trips I have ever had were largely unplanned, the most stressful trips were scheduled. This might not be the case for everyone but for me, a flexible agenda and a "follow-my-nose" attitude most always leads to fun destinations, great stories and a much more relaxed trip.

I can't wait to share more of this adventure! Over the next 4 weeks, I will start a course in Teaching English as a second language but that is a whole other post in itself.

Speak soon!

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