The most difficult part of any trip is deciding where to go, of course. Last summer when I was visiting New York with my friend C, we met up with one of our friends, T and grabbed lunch. In the mist of the eating and catching up, T revealed that she was heading over to Asia next summer after her BAR exam. Without thinking, I quickly mentioned that I was in a desperate need to go on an vacation even though I couldn’t quite afford to travel internationally. She suggested that I should meet up with her in Taiwan and she could be my tour guide! 😀
I quickly agreed and started setting a deadline for myself to raise/save funds. Over the next couple of months have past and it was soon September, at this point I was starting to question myself if I could go on a vacation. Prior to meeting up in New York, I just started a new job and wasn’t sure if I would accumulate enough vacation days to go to Taiwan. After some calculations, I figured that I will have 10 vacation days available.
Surely enough after I figured out vacation days, I realized that I couldn’t spend 2 weeks with T. She was suppose to be enjoying her vacation and visiting her family. For the briefest of moment, I was in sheer panic. What was I suppose to do for a week before meeting up with T in Taipei. I figured that I could also go to Hong Kong since I haven’t been back since 1996 and was pretty sure that a lot had changed in the past 16 years. I quickly went and asks my friends if anyone was interested in going to Asia with me. Luckily for me, both my friends K and R said that they wanted to go to Hong Kong and Taiwan since they have never been to either before.
It was in October/November when I realized that I couldn’t afford both Hong Kong and Taiwan. I quickly let the girls know that I couldn’t do both and was going to have to give up Hong Kong. R let me know that she couldn’t go on the trip anymore and I told her that I understood. K was disappointed but went along with me in just going to Taiwan.
We both knew that we wanted to visit our friend T.H who is currently living in Kaohsiung, Taiwan teaching English. Then we hit another bump in road (I sure hit tons of bumps so far). I was told that T‘s would be flying into Taipei on the 7/27/12 and would be visiting family and friends before meeting up with us. T.H was going to be leaving Taiwan and heading back to the States a few days after we scheduled to arrive. So we made the decision to stay with T.H from 7/27 to 7/30 and then head to Taipei to meet up with T.
As January approached, K purchased her tickets and I was still holding out since I haven’t formally made a request for vacation yet. But as February approached, I plunged in and purchased my tickets! And boy were they expensive, $1400USD! Prior to the trip, I had settled for a $2500USD budget. After purchasing my tickets; I added an additional $500USD to the budget, making it a $3000USD budget.
We are both flying out solo from different countries and connecting in different countries in order to reach Taipei. I was flying out from Los Angeles International Airport and would be transiting through Seoul, S. Korea since I will be flying on Asiana. K would be flying out of Perth, Australia and transiting through Singapore before landing in Taipei. Although this arrangement seem complex, we will be landing within half an hour after one another! Yay!
And we started planning and booking certain hotels/attractions. We were pretty much on track in regards to planning. But apart of me felt like I was missing something. I knew that if I had missed out on Hong Kong, I would regret it. So, with a quick search, I found a Kaohsiung – Hong Kong – Taipei for less than $300 USD! I had originally planned on purchasing all one- way segments (*note that one way flights are usually more expensive than the round trip). Which would have costed me $2500USD in airfare! and that was for all economy seats!
A quick message to K to let her know what I had found and suggested 3 days and 2 nights. It would eventually take me another 2 days to decide that we should go to Hong Kong. I had convinced myself that I had enough in my budget to allow for this new addition. After adding Hong Kong to our itinerary, we started looking into hotels and attractions. We had some interesting conversations via Facebook Chat in regards to attractions. Just when we thought we had an itinerary settled, we would find another attraction that we wanted. We went back to the drawing board many times.
A few days ago I was asking my friends if $500USD would be enough for food and shopping for both Taiwan and Hong Kong…and they told me there was no way that it would be enough.
Sigh… I don’t know how I miscalculated my budget but as for a few days ago, I added another $500USD to my budget. So my final budget for the whole trip is $3500USD. Let’s hope that I have enough!
Okay! I think I wrote more than enough today. On my next posting, I will post where we booked our hotels and our planned itineraries.
Until next time,