Phuket Emergency Rooms: Part 1

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“…he starts telling them about our day, embellishing it so that it almost sounds fun. It’s how all good travel stories are born. Nightmares spun into punch lines.”
Gayle Forman, Just One Year

I’ve always had pretty good luck.  When something “bad” happens it always seems to work out, and it leaves me in a better place than before.  When it feels like the sky is falling and the world seems to be ending, it usually turns out to be nothing more than a gentle storm guiding me in a new (and usually better) direction. But when you’re in the storm, all you’re really trying to do is survive. You only identify it as a blessing once it passes.  As they say, hindsight is 20/20.  

If traveling has taught me anything, it’s that I am never lost in the storm; I am the storm. I happen to things more than things happen to me.  Perhaps that’s an oversimplification or a matter of perspective, but I’ve found that as long as I keep going, I’ll make it through.

During each trip, I never know what moments or experiences I’ll look back on and talk about months later.  Sometimes it’s the place itself.  Sometimes it’s the random friends I made at hostels.  Sometimes it’s a moment that left me thinking “Fuck, I can’t believe this is happening to me.”  

It has been a few months since I got back from my trip to Southeast Asia, which has allowed me plenty of time to reflect on everything.  The good, the bad, and the unexpected.  After a trip, people always want to hear the crazy stories.  Oddly enough, the stories from this trip I’ve been telling the most stem from the moments least planned and somewhat unfortunate.

Since returning, the story I’ve found myself telling more than any other focuses on myself, my stupidity, my giant flaw involving doors, and [my first?] adventure with foreign medicine.

Before we begin, a few notes:

  • On a scale of 1-10 (1 being sober as a bird on a Wednesday at 3 pm and 10 being in a coma from alcohol poisoning), I was a 2. However, that’s not to say I wasn’t a 7 earlier in the evening.
  • The hostel we stayed at, Lub d Phuket Patong, was huge (5 stories) and had an urban/modern vibe, meaning it was full of open spaces, large entry ways, and had a boxing ring in the middle of the lobby.  A very dangerous place.
  • Real friends ride with you to the ER, regardless of the time.
  • There are photos below, one of which may resemble a murder scene.  If you don’t like the sight of blood feel free to stop reading or skip over them.
  • Zoran isn’t good at catching people when they faint or doing doctor things when he’s “on vacation.”
  • Sometimes you really do get what you pay for

Now let’s begin.

I’d been in Thailand for 5 days, and Phuket for less than 16 hours, when it happened. The event that changed my entire trip.

After grabbing dinner with my friends and listening to Cam and Zoran discuss string theory and the future of AI, we went back to the hostel, eager to continue drinking, and all wanting to go out. Aside from Bangkok, Phuket is supposed to have the best nightlife in all of Thailand.   

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It started off like any other night…

After pregaming to the point of no longer wanting to go out (having reached level 7), I went up to the room to pass out, like a responsible adult, only to be shaken awake by Cam and Nick.  Neither were going to allow me to stay in.  After ample amounts of name calling and peer pressure I gave in.  The next thing I know, I’m on my way to a club called Illuzions with Zoran, Cam, and Nick (Priya was actually a responsible adult and stayed in).

Over the course of the next few hours, I had a couple tequila neats, showed off my super smooth white boy dance moves, and turned down a few invitations from some lovely Thai prostitutes.  By the time we returned to the hostel, I was basically sober (hence the level 2).  

Our room was up on the 4th floor, and was located on the complete opposite end of the building from the lobby.  To get to the elevator I would have had to walk through the lobby, kitchen/bar area, and pool area.  A walk long enough I wanted to avoid it if possible.

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Part of the hostel lobby

Earlier in the day when we dropped off our bags, I had noticed there was another elevator just a few steps from our room, although I had no idea how to get to it from the main level. Before we went out that night, I had seen Nick come out from a side hallway, and for some reason, I assumed that was the way to get to this other elevator.

As I made my way down the hallway, it led me outside the hostel.  I saw what looked like another entryway that would lead me back into the building.  Seeing as I now knew where I was going, I pulled out my phone to connect to the hostel’s free Wifi.  

Right as I hit the “connect” icon on my phone, I looked up, and walked head-first into a glass door.

The door completely shattered.

It sounded like a waiter had dropped a crate of glasses on the floor.

As I lay on the ground bleeding everywhere, I began yelling for Zoran (who just graduated from med school), knowing that he’d come help bandage me up, tell me it’s not so bad, and get to my room.

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It looks worse than it was

Before Zoran gets there a random guy staying at the hostel appears (drunk level 5) and attempts to help. He takes the shoestring from my formerly white (now blood red) Vans and ties it around my leg to “make the bleeding stop”. Apparently, there is a giant gash on the shin of my right leg which was the main culprit for the blood everywhere. He then takes a towel and tries to wipe the blood away. The main issue with this is that as he is wiping back and forth the skin on my leg is flopping back and forth.  Let’s just say it didn’t help to ease the pain I was in.
It was chaotic few minutes, to say the least. While all of this is happening I am still yelling “Z, Z, Z, help.”
After what felt like an eternity (though to be fair it was probably a couple of minutes) Zoran and Cam show up (Nick was conspicuously absent but more on that later)Cam’s first reaction was “holy shit Todd what happened” while Zoran’s was “Todd, are you kidding me, I’m supposed to be on vacation.”
I’ll be honest, I didn’t understand what the big deal was. As I’m laying on the cement floor outside the hostel I remember looking up at Zoran and Cam not grasping why they both had looks of genuine concern on their faces. When they told me they had called an ambulance and we were going to the ER I actually laughed and said “guys it’s just a cut; we need to stop the bleeding, find some bandages, and get me to my room. I’ll be fine.”
Cam’s reply “Mate, I can see the muscle in your leg, it’s not just a cut, you need stitches.”
Fuck me, right?
In true Todd fashion, my first thought wasn’t to worry about my leg, the pain I was experiencing, fear of foreign medicine, or terror at losing the rest of my trip. Each one of those took a backseat to “I don’t want to pay for the ambulance ride or a visit to the ER.” The main motivation for me wanting to “find some bandages” was to end up bankrupt in Thailand. I wasn’t trying to be tough, I was being my usual (and sometimes overly) frugal self.
After Cam assured me that my travel insurance would cover the cost I finally relented and agreed to go.
Quick Tangent:
If you’re going to travel somewhere, especially to the other side of the world, GET TRAVEL INSURANCE. I’ve written about travel insurance before and why it’s important. This was the first trip I had bought it and am really glad I did. In that moment knowing I wouldn’t have to pay for this out of pocket helped me to refocus on the actual issue, eg the fact that my leg wouldn’t stop bleeding.
Yes, they had to convince me to go to the hospital.
So at 4:30 in the morning we went for a ride.
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Real friends ride in the ambulance with you

They rolled me into a completely empty ER at the Patong Phuket Hospital. As I lay on the stretcher waiting for the doctor the other thoughts started coming into my mind. How bad is it really? Why did this have to happen? Is my trip over? It was hard in that moment to not feel sorry for myself and I won’t pretend for a minute that I didn’t indulge in a little self-pity.
While all these thoughts are coming into my mind I’m being asked about my medical history by a Thai nurse in broken English. Zoran and Cam were trying to do their best to help answer when another nurse shows up ordering them from the room. Apparently, “visitors are not allowed in the ER.” They both look at her and tell her they aren’t leaving me alone in a Phuket ER. She looks right at them, says ‘yes you are. It will take 15 mins.”
Without much of a choice they disappear and I’m completely alone.
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Apparently, in Thailand, 15 minutes really means something closer to 75. There I lay watching the clock trying not to think about what was happening to me. First, as I get a tetanus shot and then as they apply the anesthetic (kind of). I didn’t realize until they started the stitches that my shin wasn’t completely numb.
Quick tangent:
 
I’m not a tough guy by any means, but for some reason, I didn’t want to be the guy asking for more anesthetic. In my exhausted, shocked, and blood deprived state I thought it would make me look weak and be too big of a hassle. Coming from personal experience, please know it’s okay to be the guy who asks for more anesthetic. Yes, it’s worth the hassle.

Since I was too cool to ask for more anesthetic, I laid on the cot feeling the nurse work; knowing my skin was being stitched back together. After about 45 mins I heard the nurse who’d been working on my leg (who I know realize was a resident because why would you have your best doctors in the ER at 4 am on a Wednesday) call the doctor over to check her progress. I then hear “no no no” and the newly arrived doctor starts redoing the stitches.
Another 30 minutes goes by and she looks up at me and tells me that she’s done, with that cut.
15 stitches.
My right leg still had other cuts up and down from the falling glass. She offered to stitch up a few of the other cuts but I politely declined. Looking back, I should have let her stitch up a few of the other cuts. I have a few scars on my leg that I expect I’ll have forever. But like they say in Fight Club, “I don’t want to die without any scars.” Plus in that moment all I could think about was getting the hell out of the hospital.
I walked out the doors of the ER looking for Cam and Zoran. They are nowhere to be seen. I asked a Thai guy if he’d seen my friends and he told me they went home.
Just my luck.
Honestly, I wasn’t even mad. It was 5:45 in the morning. They were told 15 mins and it took over an hour. I completely understood why they’d have gone back to the hostel. I mean we did have plans to zipline later.
It was time for me to do the same.
I wandered around the hospital for another 10 minutes looking for an exit. I found it and a taxi driver outside. As I stood haggling on a price to take me back to the hospital I hear Cam’s voice yell out “Oh cunt, where the hell are you going”
Looking up in complete surprise to see Cam and Zoran at the hospital entrance. When I left the ER they were off having a “smoke break.” Zoran looks at me, shakes his head, and asks if I’ve paid my bill, got my pain pills, or my medication.
I hadn’t. I may or may not have been trying to leave without paying my bill being utterly terrified about how much this was going to cost. Not something I’m proud of, but I also wasn’t in the best state of mind to make decisions.
Zoran and Cam ushered me inside to pick up my medication, pain pills, and pay my bill. My heart stopped when I saw the number 3,510. Then I realized I was in Thailand not the United States and did a quick conversation. 3,510 Thai Baht is roughly $104 USD.
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An ambulance ride, tetanus shot, anesthetic and 15 stitches for $104. Needless to say, my mood lightened instantly.
We took a taxi back to the hostel, went up to the room (taking the main elevator), and find Nick asleep in his bed. As we close the door he wakes up asking where we’ve been.
Man do I have a story for him…
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Doorway -1 Todd-0

The best way to keep up with my adventures is to follow me on Instagram- Todds_Tales.

Stay Gold.

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9 Tips for your next Trip

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Recently, I’ve been planning a few new adventures to close out the year (hiking in the Grand Tetons and a quick trip to Costa Rica) which got me thinking about my past trips and what they’ve taught me.  It didn’t take long for me to realize there were a few universal lessons I’d learned.  Below you’ll find a list of nine ideas that I learned from traveling but that have transcended my everyday life.

 

This must be the place

“Wherever you are, be all there.”

Most people think I’m crazy when I tell them I love travel days.  For most, those are the worst days of any trip.  For me, sitting on a train or waiting in front of my gate are times I truly feel at peace.  When I’m in those places it’s easy for me to relax because I look around and recognize that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I don’t feel guilty thinking I should be doing something else.  This way of thinking creates a type of presence and freedom allowing me to focus on the moment and enjoy it for what it is. Even when I’m not traveling I always try to be completely present and focused on whatever it is I’m doing.

 

Where not what

“No matter how many plans you make or how much in control you are, life is always winging it.”

I’m a go with the flow kind of guy, but when traveling it’s good to have an idea of where you’re going.  When I plan a trip and have to keep to a timeline I pick the different places I’m going to, but don’t decide what I’ll be doing in each place until I get there.  Yes, you can do some research for general ideas, but I’ve found it’s better to wait until you’re there to pick what activities you’re going to do.  For me, it helps keep some spontaneity in my trip and gives me flexibility once I’m there to learn what my options are.  Which brings me to my next tip…

 

Ask a local

“…because life is too exciting not to share.”

It doesn’t matter how much research you do you’re not going to know about everything ahead of time.  But you know who can help?  The person that lives there.  Whenever I’m traveling I try to ask a local for advice on places to eat and drink, things to do, or places to stay.  People are more than happy to point you in the direction of their favorite hole in the wall bar or the place they discovered with the best calamari.  More often than not, their recommendations aren’t on Yelp’s top places but turn out to be incredible.

 

Traveling is trust

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

I hadn’t really thought about this until I was riding on the back of a scooter, at night in Bali, and was completely separated from my friends.  As all my friends and their scooters went one way and me and mine went another  I realized in that moment that I had decided to completely trust this random Balinese guy.  I was trusting him to not only to get me from one one place to another, but to do so safely-in crazy traffic, reunite me with my friends, and for the agreed upon price.  There were so many things that could have gone wrong.   When you travel, you’re at a disadvantage in some ways, you have to be willing to trust other people to survive.  From my experiences, across the world, I can tell you that trusting is rarely a mistake and people are good.

 

Night Transportation is your best friend

“I will never lose the love for the arriving, but I’m born to leave.”

If you can handle sleeping on trains, buses, and flights traveling at night is as close to teleportation as you’re ever going to get.  Instead of wasting a day going from one place to another, you can go to sleep (something you’d be doing anyway) and wake up at your next destination.  It requires more planning, as you have to make sure you can get where you need to go in the early hours of the morning, but worth it if done right.  We caught three night trains in Vietnam which is what allowed us to see so much in the 8 days we were there.  Besides, you haven’t really experienced a place until you’ve seen it peaceful like it is while everyone else is still sleeping before the chaos of the day begins.

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Take the damn picture

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”

I used to worry that taking photos while I traveled made me look like a ‘tourist’ (which is the last thing a traveler wants to be).  I worried even more about how ridiculous my friends and I looked while taking our ridiculous group photos.  I worried the other people around were going to judge us.  Now a days I give zero fucks.  Odds are, I’m never going to see those people again.  What I do care about is having a lifelong reminder of that day and that moment with the people I care about.  On that subject…

 

Capture Moments not Things

“If you want to see what someone values take a look at what they photograph”

Over the past 4 years, I’ve seen lots of places and taken literally thousands of pictures.  Whether it was my time on the cruiseship, backpacking Europe, or traveling around out Southeast Asia one thing proved to be universally true: the photos and memories I cherish most are the ones of my friends and I goofing around.  My house is full of photos from my travels and not one of them is a building or landmark.  Yeah, I’m glad I’ve walked across the Charles Bridge, but my first Prague memories go back to Hostel Orange and the friends I made there. When you think about your trip in retrospect you’ll think of the people more than the places.  My advice, try and capture them the best you can.

 

Give Yourself Time

“To rush is to miss the experience”

You’ll be tempted to go to as many places as possible and fill each minute of every day with activities.  To see everything a place has to offer. Well, guess what, you can’t. Accept it. While it’s important to make sure you see what you want to see it’s equally important to not overdue it.  It’s better to see a few places in depth than to see a dozen barely at all.  Looking back on my trip to Asia I could have happily spent an entire month in any one of those countries.  There were times when I felt like I tried to do too much.  Always on the go to the next activity or city.  I didn’t leave the group as much time as I should have to let each place truly resonate.  Do yourself a favor and give yourself time.  I don’t think you’ll be too upset if that means you have to take a second trip.

 

Explore the Alleyway

“It is not down on any map; true places never are.”

When traveling, I love discovering new, unknown, obscure places.  While some people opt to stick with Tripadvisor or Yelp for research and to validate their choices I go the opposite.  I’m all about walking around a city and seeing where my feet take me.  It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for food, drinks, souvenirs, or a tailored suit in Bali the best places are always down the alleyway you almost didn’t see.  Do yourself a favor and get off the main streets and explore a city’s alleyways. Those alleyways are the places where you truly get to discover a city and all that it has to offer.  

 

The best way to keep up with my adventures is to follow me on Instagram- Todds_Tales.

Stay Gold.

The Cost of a Month in Southeast Asia

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From a travel standpoint, the questions I get asked most are “What’s your favorite place,” “Where do I should go on my next trip,”  and “how much money do you actually spend on one of your adventures?”  The first question is impossible for me to answer with one place so I cheat and say five.  Places that will always have my heart (in no order):

  1. Prague, Czech Republic
  2. Melbourne, Australia
  3. Sapa, Vietnam
  4. Bali
  5. Port Denarau, Fiji

To answer the second question I’d ask you how much time do you have, what activities do you enjoy, and what’s the purpose of the trip.  Your answers dictate my advice.  If you live in the States and only have 7 days I’m not going to recommend Australia or Asia.  If you hate the beach I’m not going to tell you to go to Hawaii.

The third answer is more straightforward.  At least, for this trip.  Most people want to travel but money seems to be the biggest deterrent.  I decided before I left for a month in Southeast Asia I’d actually keep track of how much the trip cost me.

My past travel experiences have been rather unorthodox.  Working on a cruise ship in Australia, au pairing in the Czech Republic/backpacking Europe, and moving to Melbourne for a year isn’t exactly what most people have in mind when they say they want to travel.  

This was basically the first trip where I had a to book (and pay) for all of my own transportation.  The first trip where I wasn’t planning on earning any money while overseas.  The first trip where I had a concrete date I had to come back.  Odd as it may seem, it really was the first trip where I actually thought about just how much it was going to cost.

I did my best job to keep track of every Dollar, Baht, Rupiah, and Dong that I spent.  However, some purchases inevitably fell through the cracks and to be completely honest, some things I spent money on wouldn’t interest most people.  For example, my ambulance ride, emergency room visit, and 15 stitches in Thailand $104 (reimbursed), the $150  to replace the cell phone I lost at the Full Moon Party (yes, Thailand was rough), the $50 I spent on sandals due to losing 3 different pairs (not my month for keeping track of things), the $350 I spent on 2 custom tailored suits in Bali because every so often you just have to ball out, and while I don’t regret all the cigars, shots, and whiskey waters I had they aren’t essential to a person’s trip. Outside of those things I added everything I found relevant to a month in Southeast Asia in the list below.  

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A few things to keep in mind:

1. I converted everything to USD (you’re welcome)

2. The list below assumes you’ve already have items such as clothes, backpack, shoes,        etc.  For the full list of things, I brought with me check out my ‘What To Pack for Southeast Asia’ post.

3. Southeast Asia is big.  As a group, we agreed early on we wanted to see 4 countries in 4 weeks. We decided that saving time was more important than saving money which is why we took the fastest transportation available when changing locations, even if it cost more.  Yes, you can take a bus from Chiang Mai to Phuket but the fact it takes 24 hours made the price of the 3-hour flight worth it to us.  You have to decide what’s right for your trip, timeline, and budget.

4. I went to Asia with a big group; there were 6-10 of us the entire time.  The prices below are what I personally paid for.  We were able to get some group rate discounts because there were so many of us that you may not be able to find if it’s just you. However, we also had to take multiple tuk-tuks and scooters everywhere so maybe it evens out.

5. Speaking of tuk-tuks, I didn’t keep track of every tuk-tuk, taxi, or rickshaw that we took, every time I ate street food or bought a bottle of water.  I’ve done my best, where needed, to estimate per day what I spent on those types of things.  Also, if you can learn to haggle you’ll save yourself a good bit of money.

6.If you and your friends drink less than mine and avoid sit down restaurants you can reduce the final spend by 15%.  No regrets though.

7.Your trip your rules.  No trip two trips are ever the same but this should give you a general idea of what to budget for a month in Southeast Asia.

8. I broke everything out by category/location, price, and description.

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Pre-Departure Purchases:

Transportation:

Flights:

Kansas City to Los Angeles- $5.00 (purchased with my Southwest points. Flight usually $200)
Los Angeles to Bangkok- $422.00
Chiang Mai to Phuket- $93.44
Surat Thani to Siem Reap- $160.52
Siem Reap to Da Nang- $182.00
Hanoi to Denpasar- $155.05
Denpasar to Melbourne- $277.12
Melbourne to Los Angeles- 70,604 points – $882.56 value (yes, credit cards are awesome)
Los Angeles to Kansas City- $103
Flight Total- $1398.13

 

Ferries:

Krabi to Koh Tao – $32
Koh Tao to Koh Phangan – $15
Koh Phangan to Surat Thani- $20
Ferry Total- $67

 

Train

Bangkok to Chiang Mai $52 (night train)
Hoi An to Dong Hoi- $30
Dong Hoi to Hanoi – $56
Sapa to Hanoi – $45 (night train)
Train Total-  $183

 

Bus

Hanoi to Sapa – $17
Bus Total – $17

Transportation Total: $1665.13

 

Miscellaneous:

Traveler’s Insurance- $145 (Why you should get Travel Insurance)
Passport Photos (4 at Costco)- $10
Vietnam Visa Processing fee- $30
Vaccines (without insurance):
     Hepatitis A- $130
     Typhoid- $88
     Malaria- $79 (used coupon)
Misc Total- $482

 

Thailand (12 Days)

Bangkok

Dinner-   $7
Whisgars Whiskey and Cigar Bar- $42
Tuk Tuk to dinner and train station- $9
Bangkok Total: $58

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Chiang Mai

Counting Sheep Hostel- $16 x 2 nights – $32 (provided breakfast)
Sim Card- $8
Doi Inthanon National Park- $32
Asia Scenic Cooking Class $23.49 (included food)
Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary- $58.74 (included food, can’t recommend enough)
Transportation (tuk tuks/taxis) – $20 (estimate)
Additional Food/Drink/Transportation – $40 (estimate)
Chiang Mai total: $272.23

 

Phuket

Lub’d Hostel $13 x 2 nights – $26
Thai Smile Restaurant – $27 (dinner and multiple rounds of Tom Collins)
Flying Hanuman Zipline- $98
     -Missed out as I was stuck in bed following my ER visit the night before but that’s what it would have cost to go
Bus ride: Phuket to Krabi- $16
Additional Food/Drink/Transportation- $10
Phuket Total: $177

 

Krabi (Railay Beach)

Shuttle from bus station to hostel- $3
Hogwarts Hostel- $8
Tuk Tuk to Ao Nong (there and back)- $3
Speed boat from Ao Nong to Railay Beach (there and back)- $9
Dinner on Railay- $13
Additional Food/Drink/Transportation (estimate) – $10
Krabi Total: $46

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Koh Tao

Goodtimes Beach Hostel: $19 x 2 nights- $38
Airbnb Villa (recovery day) – $32 each
Tequila Shot with Zoran- $6.50
Dinner at Barracuda – $24
Boat to Koh Nang Yuang Island- $9
Entry Fee to Koh Nang Yuang Island- $3
The Gallery (dinner)- $24
⅕ Bottle of Johnnie Walker Red- $10
Living Juice (breakfast)- $8
Bans Resort (lunch- $9
Bans Bar (nightlife) – 10 whiskey waters $24
Additional Food/Drink/Transportation (estimate) – $25
Koh Tao Total: $212.5

 

Koh Phangan

Baan Klong House$20 x 2 nights- $40
Tuk Tuk to Hostel- $3
Sim Card- $15
Bite Delight (Dinner) $25
Tuk Tuk to beach (there and back) $6
Bucket Drink (⅛ Jack, Ginger Ale, Red Bull) – $15
Jungle Party- $17
Ride to Thong Nai Pan Noi (and back) $6
Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach Bar (lunch)-$18
Thai Massage – $12
Tuk Tuk to Full Moon Party (there and back) $6
Full Moon Party Entry Fee- $3
Tuk Tuk to ferry- $3
Water at hostel -$2
Koh Phangan Total: $171

 

Thailand Total: $936.73

 

Cambodia- 3 Days

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Siem Reap

Visa on arrival- $30
Airport Transfer- $4
Mango Rain Hotel- $24 x 2 nights- $48
Lunch at hotel- $8
Floating Village Tour – $25
Ankor Wat Circuit fee- $37
Tuk Tuk for the day- $10
Lunch- $6
Airport Transfer – $4
Cambodia total: $134

 

Vietnam- 9 days

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Hoi An

Visa on arrival – $25
Shuttle from Da Nang to Hoi An- $4
Sunflower Hostel- $8
All you can drink at hostel – $4.50
Dinner- $4.50
Custom shoes – $45 (and 5 free beers)
Pop-up book (souvenir)- $4.50
Lunch- $6
Vacation hat- $4.50
Taxi- $1.50
Half-Day Bike Tour – – $27
     -included drinks and meal
Dinner- $6
Hoi An Total: $140.5

 

Dong Hoi

Taxi from Train Station to Buffalo Hostel- $1
Breakfast- $4
All day Paradise and Dark Cave Tour- $160
     -Included transportation, food, drinks, zip lining, kayaking, etc
Dinner- $3
Taxi from Hostel to Train station- $1
Bottled Waters- $3
Dong Hoi Total: $171

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Sapa

Taxi- Hanoi train station to bus station- $1
Ticket into Sapa Village- $4
3 day 2 night Homestay Trek – $60
     -Included all meals, guide, lodging, rice wine
Bottle of Vodka and ice cream- $11
Cookies and 7 up- $3.5
Souvenirs bought from our guides- $18
Dinner/drinks – $4
Taxi- Sapa to Lo Cio Train Station- $3
Sapa Total: $104.5

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Halong Bay:

Halong Bay 2 day 1 night boat cruise- $60
     -included transportation from Hanoi to Halong Bay, meals, lodging, tour
Taxi- Train Station to hostel- $1
Drinks on cruise- $43
Halong Bay total: $104

 

Hanoi

Nexy Hostel- $11
Hand carved chess set- $20
Landry- $2.25
Dinner- $12
Wine and cigars – $21
Drinks- $8
Taxi to airport- $4.5
Hanoi Total: $78.75

Vietnam Total: $494.25

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Bali- 7 Days

Villa -Airbnb – paid before arrival – $330 (each)
Taxi from airport to villa- $4
Cocktail- $8
Taxi to Sky Bar- $5
Scooter Rental for 7 days- $22
Bali Adventure bike ride- $60
     -included tour, food, drink
Single Fin Beach Club- $29
Santai Surf School- $22
     -included 2 hour lesson, 1 hour board rental
Lunch at Shelter- $9
2 Nusa bowls- $15
Santai Surfing: board rental- $7
Monkey Forest- $3.50
Bananas at Monkey Forest- $3.50
White Water Rafting- $25
Bali Swing- $20
Fake Ray Bans – $3.50
Sunset Artwork- $40
Waterbom Bali Water Park- $75
6 sets of Elephant Pants/tank tops/Souvenirs- $20
Estimate of gas, motorbikes, food, drinks: $200
Bali Total- $571

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Southeast Asia Grand Trip Total: $4283.11

Before I left people would ask how much I expected the trip to cost and I was estimating around $4,000.  Yes, that’s quite a bit of money, but to me, it doesn’t even compare to what I got out of it.  If you decide you want to go somewhere and plan properly you can make it happen.  Which is exactly why I started saving in November of 2015 for this trip. Month long trips across the world don’t happen over night. By saving around $200 a month over the last year and a half I was able to take the trip of a lifetime with my best friends.

Everyone will look at the $4283.11 price tag differently.  Some will think “oh that’s it” while others can’t imagine spending that much money without getting something tangible back.  For those in the latter group, please don’t think that you have to spend thousands of dollars to travel.  I’ve taken trips where not spending money was half my focus; this wasn’t one of them.  While I was conscious of how much I was spending, it wasn’t my goal to pinch pennies.  For me, going out to a nice restaurant with my friends mattered more than saving $10 by eating street food.  That was a choice I made and you can make for yourself when the time comes.

Like anything else in life traveling comes at a cost. Unless you have a trust fund you have to make a choice and for every choice we make we give sacrifice something else.  That’s unavoidable.  The trick is figuring out what you want most and not getting distracted.

Stay focused.  Regardless of what it is, you can’t lose focus on your goal.  On what you’re dream is. Was sticking to my budget easy? Hell no.  Were there times when I wanted to go out and eat or have a few drinks with my friends?  More than I can count.  But I didn’t (well sometimes I did, but a guy can’t always be a shut in).  I knew over the course of the last year and a half that my trip to Asia was going to be worth it.  I made a decision that spending money in bars and restaurants in Kansas City wasn’t worth it to me.  If you really want to travel you have to be willing to make sacrifices, to go without the newest and latest gadget or accessory.  You have to budget and stick with it.  With enough dedication anything is doable.  And here’s a little secret, it’ll be the best thing you ever do.

Stay Gold.

Southeast Asia 2017: Cliff Notes

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I’ve just gotten back to the United States after my month long adventure in Southeast Asia.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about my adventures more in-depth focusing on what I did, why I chose to do it, and what I took away from my trip.  But before I get to all that I thought it would be a good idea to answer the questions I get the most by giving a “Cliff Notes” version of my trip.  Below you’ll find a list of things and experiences that I enjoyed, why, and even a few pictures to give context.

Enjoy!

My Southeast Asia Favorite:

PlaceKoh Tao, Thailand

No explanation needed.

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A view worth the climb

City Chaing Mai, Thailand (though Seminyak Bali is a close second)

Chaing Mai is the type of place you go to in order to really absorb the Thai culture.   It’s over a 100,000 people but it feels a quarter of that size. It’s not known for clubs and partying but is does have amazing cooking classes, elephant sanctuaries, and national parks.  It would be my first choice if I had 12 months to spend in Thailand and could only stay in once city.  It’s a great place to really begin to understand Thailand, the customs, and the culture.

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Patel and her boys land in Chaing Mai


CountryVietnam.

 It’s what I imagine Thailand was 20 years ago before it became so popular with travelers.  Food is delicious, things are cheap, and locals are kind.  Hoi An, Sapa, Halong Bay, Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, and Hanoi are all incredible in their own right and completely different allowing for you to get a real feel for the culture and beauty without having to go too far.

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Vietnam has a habit of making you feel like you’re on top of the world

SnackJ-Bay from Nula Bowl in Seminyak, Bali

What can I say? It’s healthy and delicious.

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Seriously delicious

Drink Homemade Rice Wine in Vietnam

“Mot, hai, ba, YO!!”

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When you’re tour guide is pouring you shots you don’t ask questions

Lost Item– Silk Painting from Vietnam

Though I lost 3 pairs of sandals, my cell phone, a pair of vans, and my Ray Bans, it’s misplacing the silk artwork I bought on our way to Halong Bay that I’m still not quite over.

Restaurant-Bite Delight (Tapas Style Restaurant) Koh Phangan Thailand

Quaint. Intimate (holds maybe 15 people). Amazing food to share and incredible sangria.  It’s a great place to spend time eating, laughing, and just being with the people you care about. Carlos (the owner) will make you feel like family and you won’t want to leave.

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It’s even more adorable on the inside

DayElephant Sanctuary and Bamboo Rafting outside Chaing Mai, Thailand

After waking up at sunrise and riding in the back of a covered pick-up for over an hour into the jungle of Nothern Thailand we arrived at the Elephant Sanctuary.  We started by feeding the 3 elephants, then rolled around in the mud with them, before following them to the river to clean both the elephants and ourselves.  After we cleaned up, we hiked to a secluded lagoon with a waterfall.  After swimming and eating, we walked through the village learning more about the community as a whole which was really humbling. Finally, we arrived at a river and climbed on rafts made of bamboo; rafting down the river controlling the raft with our bamboo sticks trying our best not to fall off (emphasis on trying).  Hard to imagine a better Monday than that.

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Never had more fun getting dirty

NightHalong Bay River Cruise

Honestly, this was one of the hardest questions to answer.  There are plenty of nights that were unforgettable, but my favorite was the night we spent on a houseboat in Halong Bay.  We’d chosen to avoid the cheap, partying, backpackers houseboat because we wanted time to relax.  At least, that was the intention.  Somewhere along the way, that message got lost.  The next thing I know Cam and I are taking tequilla shots with two 67-year-old ladies from Switerzland (S/O to Freeda) and orchestrating the most random and diverse game of Kings Cup I’ve ever played in my life.  Follow that up by trying to squid fish on the back of the boat with Nick and Zoja and you have a night you’ll always remember.

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My one-night boat bar tab.

Activity– Surfing

I love the ocean more than most people.  I’m scuba certified, have worked on a cruise ship, and dream of a living by the beach.  However, with all that I’d still never learned to surf.  But you know what they say, when in Bali…

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Bali seemed like a good place to learn

ExperienceWhite Water Rafting in Ubud, Bali

Let’s be real.  Anything that is a water activity with beautiful Balinese scenery that gets my adrenaline pumping AND has dedicated pit stops for beers was always going to be my one of my favorite things.  It wasn’t even close.  I don’t regret getting out and swimming in the rapids (though once was enough) but I do wish I’d brought my camera.

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The Bintang Boyz.

Tour– Hoi An Cycling- Bike Tour

Biking around Hoi An was simply peaceful and enjoyable.  Hoi An is a really cool city that isn’t overflowing with tourists but has plenty of culture.  The surrounding areas are full of rice fields and farms with bike paths all around.  A few hours cycling through them will erase any worries you may have.  The bike tour also included rice wine, local food, and canoeing down the river at sunset.

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Rice fields and bike rides will cure all ills

Souvenir- Painting from Bali

The one thing I always bring back when I travel is something to hang on my walls.

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got to decorate with something, right?

TuneAlchemy- Willaris K

Can’t not move and groove to it.

Tour GuideRemmy with Hoi An Cycling

Remmy was super personable, loved to sing karaoke as we rode, poured us rice wine shots, and wore my Nebraska flag as a cape.  Needless to say, he won me over pretty quickly.

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Remmy loves Nebraska now

Place we stayedVilla Allamanda, Seminyak Bali

It’d be silly to go to Bali and not stay in a villa…

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Selfie: The Boys and the water buffalo

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Nailed It.

Best of Southeast Asia:

Sunset: Railay Beach, Thailand 

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Not all sunsets are created equal

Best Scenery: Sapa Vietnam

If you would have told me that I’d choose a place in the mountains over a place near the ocean as the place with the best scenery before I left I’d have told you to lay off the rice wine.  But Sapa is incredible.  Located in Northeastern Vietnam near the China border it’s one of the most amazing places I’ve ever had the pleasure of going.  The mountains, rolling rice fields, and abundance of trees make you feel as if you’re on another planet.

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Pictures don’t even do Sapa justice

Nightlife-  Bali.

Whether you want to go to a club, chill by the beach, or drink on a cliff overlooking the ocean- Bali has you covered.  As I like all three of those things it’s my easy choice.

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Single Fin on Sunday is a must

Best Street Food–  Vietnam.  

I could eat Pho and Banh Mi every day forever.

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Pho=Vietnam

Photo of Nick Sleeping

Nick has the “superpower” of being able to sleep anywhere.  It became a bit of a running joke with our group to exploit his power for our amusement.  Cam most of all.

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Kid would sleep through an earthquake

Beach- Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach – Ko Phangan

I may be a bit biased on this because this was the first beach where I could go into the water after my stitches, but it was clean, off the beaten path, and exactly what we were looking for.

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Other:

Place I would liveBali

While I loved Ko Tao and Vietnam I never felt I could live in either place indefinitely. Both had drawbacks to the lifestyle I prefer to live.  Bali, however, hits it on the head. After spending a week there I completely understand why so many people go and never come back.  It has a great blend of Western and Eastern culture. It’s a fairly large island to the point where it doesn’t feel like you’re isolated on an island.  Add in the views, surfing, nightlife, people, the amount of outdoor activities and take my word that coming home was harder than I thought it was going to be.

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Most Pleasant Surprise-  Exploring the Paradise and Dark Cave Phong Nha National Park and Caves, Vietnam

I expected to explore the world’s largest cave- it was on the tour title after all.  However, two things really surprised me.  The first was the Dark Cave.  You’re exploring the cave in complete darkness aside from the headlamp on your head.  Every step is difficult to navigate as the cave is wet and muddy.  You get to slide down mudslides and at one point in the cave, you’re in a pool of water where you quite literally float.  The second thing that really made the experience incredible was the fact that the caves are right next to a lake.  After exploring the caves we spent the afternoon zip lining, kayaking, and swimming.

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Most Underrated Experience that no one talks about– Doing a Homestay in Sapa Vietnam

I had no idea what to expect in Sapa.  My friend Liam told me it was his favorite part of Vietnam and something I had to do.  Which means I had to convince the group to do the homestay and they were wary at best. Best decision I made on the trip.  We spent our 3 days hiking in the Himalayas Mountains.  Our nights around a table eating, drinking rice wine (and vodka), and spending time together.  The village doesn’t have any nightlife and barely has electricity.  It was a great 3 days of disconnecting from the world and enjoying the company of close friends.

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The Fellowship preparing for our journey

Once was enough– Floating Village, outside Seim Reap, Cambodia

We bussed an hour away from our hostel in Seim Reap to check out one of the floating villages of Cambodia.  While it was a cool experience I don’t see the need to go back and do it again.

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Scariest Moment– 4 A.M. ambulance ride in Phuket, Thailand 

Though crashing a scooter and almost drowning in Bali are up there.  The ambulance ride followed by spending over an hour in a Phuket Emergency Room at 4 am getting 15 stitches in my leg has to be the winner.  But what’s a trip without a few scars.

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Real friends come to the ER with you at 4 am.

Tourist Guilt “Had to”Angkor Wat, Seim Reap, Cambodia

Don’t get me wrong, it’s something everyone should see at least once in their life.   However, this was the only thing on the entire trip I felt obligated to see.  We went to Cambodia for 3 days literally just to make sure we saw Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples.  Huge and humbling the Angkor Wat compound was completely worth it.  Though I’d be lying if I said I preferred Angkor Wat to Ta Prohm.

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Unique Experience- Asia Scenic Cooking Class,  Chaing Mai, Thailand

My traveling goal going forward is to bring something back from my travels that enhances my life.  Learning to cook something new fits the bill.  Apart from learning something new, the cooking class we took was an absolute blast.  Learning how to make authentic Thai food while in Thailand was definitely a unique experience.

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Spontaneous Decision- Bali Swing- Ubud, Bali

After we finished white water rafting I saw a sign saying “Bali Swing” this way,  I explained to the group that I’d seen something like it on Instagram (looked amazing) and since we were right there we should check it out.  With no background on if it was even the same thing, we headed straight there.  So glad we did.  Check out the video on Instagram.

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Ballin’ Out Moment- Getting custom suits tailored in Bali

Yeah, I’ve got a suit guy.

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Ballin’ out in Bali

Conversation- Seif explaining the Middle East to Nick (and myself)

One of my favorite things about traveling is getting to talk to people from outside the Midwest and outside of the United States.  Getting to hear their views on everything from life, to religion, and especially politics (American and World). My friend Seif was born in Egpyt and now lives in London.  After most of our friends went to bed in Sapa, he stayed up with Nick and I for hours explaining the different dynamics at play in that area of the world.  He answered question after question with complete honesty.  Not trying to make anyone good or bad just presented the facts as he knew them.  Anytime you can have a conversation with someone who has direct experience with something your best bet is to shut up, listen, and take it in.

Most Overrated- Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan, Thailand 

I enjoy it.  But this was as close to college spring break as we got on the trip.  I love Thai buckets and a good beach party as much as the next person, but to be honest I enjoyed the jungle party the night before more.  If you’re in Thailand it’s definitely something you should check out, but just expect PCB or South Padre in Asia with buckets.

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Reppin’ of Nebraska- Outside Hoi An, Vietnam

Water buffalo+Rice fields+Flag= Trifecta

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Random Discovery- LOVE sign- Koh Phangan, Thailand

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To keep up with my adventures follow me on Instagram Todds_Tales

Southeast Asia: A predeparture note on being ready…

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Today.  As in today, today.  As in right now.  

As I sit writing this on the plane from Kansas City to Los Angeles, it hit me full in the face, that the day has arrived.  Whether I’m ready or not, the time to feed my nomadic soul is here. I’m always amazed at how I can spend so much time counting down to something and then when it arrives be completely taken by surprise and unprepared.

This isn’t my first “big tip” nor will it be my last.  However, this trip is different for me.  I’ve spent the last couple of days really reflecting about my trip to Asia and why I feel so different about it.  

Usually, I can’t think about anything but the destination.

Usually, I’m getting ready to leave for months at a time.

Usually, I’m going alone.

But none of those “usuals” are true this time.  I’ve been so busy with work, redesigning my blog, and coordinating the trip I didn’t pay attention to how quickly the days were slipping by.  I’m pretty sure my friends and coworkers were more excited than I was- not fully understanding that my mind was on finishing everything I could before I left.  Some may even say that I wasn’t ready for this trip.

One of my many life rules is “have standards, not expectations”.  Since I first started traveling, people have asked me if I was ‘ready’ to go.  Which I’ve always found to be an absurd question.  It’s like asking someone “are you ready to have a baby” or “are you ready to get married’ or “are you ready to go away to college” you may think you are, but you can never be truly ready for anything in life that really matters.

Being ready implies you know what to expect and are prepared for it. That you have an idea of what’s waiting just around the bend, but that’s not what traveling is about and that’s sure as hell not what life’s about either.

The more I got the question the more I was reminded of René Descartes (the dude who said ‘I think therefore I am’).  Descartes was a philosopher and mathematician who had a theory about the human brain having a limit to what it can imagine and comprehend.  He’d tell someone to imagine an object with four sides (go ahead and image a thing with 4 sides).

Once they’d confirmed they could, he’d tell them to imagine a thing with a million sides (go ahead give it a try, I won’t judge you for failing).  Every single person would tell him they couldn’t do it.  

The predeparture part of traveling has always been like that to me.  Filled with a lack of expectations and readiness.  Afterall, how could I possibly be ready for something that I have never experienced?  That I can’t even comprehend?  We’re all limited by our experiences and until you go somewhere and do something there’s no way you can be ready for it.

I learned to approach my trips (and life) with that open mind and up for anything attitude.  It’s why ‘I don’t say no too much’.  That philosophy has led to some of the best moments of my life.  When you do something with an open mind, appreciate the little things, and don’t sweat the small stuff you’ll be amazed at the situations you find yourself in and the experiences you have.

All you can do is open yourself up to the new and exciting and that’s the reason so many people love traveling.  It forces us into situations we haven’t planned for and could have never imagined just a few days ago.  Traveling helps us to learn what we’re capable of by constantly keeping ourselves just a little uncomfortable.  Only through being challenged can we grow.

This trip is different from the ones I’ve taken before which means most of the experiences I’ve had before don’t really apply. I’ve been working instead of daydreaming about my destination.  I’m ‘only; going for a month and I’m leading a group of ten.  I’m even less prepared than usual.

So no.  I’m not ready.  But I’m going anyway.

The best way to keep up with my trip to Southeast Asia is to follow me on Instagram- Todds_Tales.

 

How To Travel: Travel Insurance

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This is the fifth post in my “How To Travel” series. Before you read about why you need Travel Insurance you may want to check out “How To Travel: An Introduction” by clicking here, ‘Utilizing Credit Cards‘, ‘Ways to Make Money Traveling’ and “A Packing List for Southeast Asia”

I know what you’re thinking.  Do you really need travel insurance?  I’ve traveled quite a bit and never purchased it before. In the past, I didn’t think it was necessary.  I told myself that nothing bad was going to happen and was lucky enough that it never did.  However, if something had happened I’d have been in big trouble.  Had I damaged my ear drum while scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef or ended up hospitalized from dehydration after Tomorrowland it would have been 100x worse if I would have had to worry about hospital bills on top of everything else.
So why did I decide to get travel insurance before my next trip to Southeast Asia?
There are a lot of reasons to get travel insurance.  But for me, the biggest reason was it covers me if I get hurt while on my trip or any other medical emergency.  I’m not always the most graceful person and I have a habit of doing things before thinking them all the way through.  If I hurt my ankle exploring the caves in Vietnam or trekking in Thailand I want to make sure I can get the best medical care available.  Knowing that I’m covered if the worst happens allows me to continue to say yes to as much as possible.
Other reasons to get travel insurance:

You need to cancel your trip

What happens if someone gets sick and can’t travel, a parent dies, you’re required to work, or your house floods?

If you have travel insurance, you’ll be able to recover your out-of-pocket expenses for these covered reasons and more.

You miss your connection

You’ve planned a cruise but you discover the connecting flight to get to the ship is delayed. With the missed connection it looks like you will miss your cruise departure. How will you catch up to the ship?

Because you have travel insurance, you can take another flight to catch the ship at the next port-of-call. You’ll also have assistance services to help you arrange and pay for those travel changes.

Your flight is canceled

After attending the family reunion, you arrive at the airport to return home and are told tornadoes have canceled all flights through Dallas. Who will help you find a new flight to return home?

With travel insurance, you’ll have the money to refund the expenses of a new return ticket or to stay in a comfortable hotel.

A hurricane damages your destination

You saved all year for a summer vacation to Aruba, but a hurricane destroys the hotel a week before you depart. Will you lose all the money you worked so hard to save?

With travel insurance protection for weather damage, you’ll be able to recover your pre-paid costs. Travel assistance services will also help you arrange a vacation at a new location – one the hurricane missed.

You get sick or injured on your trip

You and your friends have planned a hiking trip to climb Machu Picchu since college. After your first night in Lima, you wake with severe stomach pains and a high fever. You cannot start your hike. Instead, you need emergency medical care – and quick.

With travel medical coverage, you won’t be paying a huge medical bill. You’ll also have assistance services –  in your own language – to locate a suitable medical facility and arrange transportation.

Your baggage is delayed or lost

You finally land at your destination.  Unfortunately, the airline made a mistake and your baggage will be delayed. Luckily you’ve got a change of clothes, but what about your other clothes, shoes, toothpaste, and personal items?

With coverage for delayed bags, you can relax. The service hot-line will help you recover your bags. You’ll also be reimbursed for the essential items you need to start enjoying your trip.

Or, you are required to speak at a business conference in Las Vegas, but somewhere in transit, your baggage is lost. Your presentation is tomorrow, how will you get ready in time?

With coverage for luggage that is lost, stolen, or damaged, you’ll be reimbursed for new clothes and personal items. You’ll can even get reimbursed for a suitcase so you can take your new stuff home.

Your passport is lost

You are at a conference in London, and you realize you left your passport at a local restaurant.

With coverage for lost passports, you’ll have help expediting the process of replacing and paying for a new passport.

You need an emergency medical evacuation

You and your daughter have planned a summer tour of Mont-Blanc, but high in the mountains your daughter is overcome with dizziness and a dangerously high fever. She needs immediate medical attention. How will you get her to safety?

With medical evacuation coverage, you can arrange safe transportation to a medical facility. Medical evacuations typically cost tens of thousands of dollars, but with trip insurance you won’t break the bank.

Your travel company files bankruptcy

You’ve planned a two-week honeymoon cruise to Alaska, but a week before the trip you see on the news that your cruise is canceled due to financial default of the cruise company. How will you recover your money?

With trip insurance that covers financial default, you’ll be able to recoup your expenses. With the help of assistance services, you’ll be able to reschedule your cruise as well.

You need emergency assistance services

You and your parents have planned a trip to their home country, but on your way, the train is canceled for mechanical repairs. You don’t speak the language. Who can help you locate alternative transportation?

With travel insurance you’ll have emergency assistance services. The service agents will recover your non-refundable fees, then locate and pay for transportation to get you where you want to be.

I recommend getting yout Travel Insurance from World Nomad (that’s where I got mine).   World Nomads travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, to cover your trip essentials. Even if you run out of travel insurance or leave without it, World Nomads can cover you. World Nomad helps you to travel smarter and safer.
In the end, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Packing List: What to Pack for Southeast Asia

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One of the most overwhelming parts of traveling is packing. What do you need to bring on a trip across the world?  How much is too much?  What if you forget something? Packing for a long trip can be really stressful if you’ve never done it before.

When I tell people I love to pack they always look at me like I’m crazy.  I enjoy the challenge of packing.  It’s an exercise in thinking, planning, and minimalism which are three things I enjoy most.  How much do I really need to survive?  Do I own anything I can’t live without?  

One reason I love backpacking so much is because it helps me to declutter my life and remember how little “stuff” I need to be happy. 

Most people have a tendency to overpack.  They think about a billion different “what if’ scenarios and try to accommodate each one. It may seem obvious but keep in mind that when you’re backpacking you’re responsible for carry however much you bring on your back.  The more you bring the heavier the bag.  

As a fairly in shape and big guy ( 6’ 4’ 200 pounds), I have the luxury of being able to carry more weight without it exhausting me as quickly as it would others.  This allows for me to bring a few extra items that may not be a necessity for my trip but more of a luxury (hammock and camping blanket etc).  

Three things I always keep in mind when packing for any trip are:

1.Where am I going?

2.When am I going?

3. People live there.

Where Am I Going?

This first one is pretty obvious.  A trip to Iceland requires a different packing list than a trip to Bali.  When going somewhere it’s vital you take into consideration that country’s customs, temperature, and lifestyle.  Regardless of where you plan on going there are plenty of resources that explain what to expect and how to act.  Once you’ve done your research use the knowledge to make a list of what is appropriate and necessary to bring with you.  For example, tank tops, shorts, and sandals are not appropriate attire to wear when visiting temples in Southeast Asia which means you should bring pants and closed toes shoes.

When Am I Going?

Again this may seem obvious but do your research on weather patterns throughout the year.  When is winter?  What’s summer like?  A place like Vietnam has two different seasons: dry and wet.  Are you going in the dry season or should you be prepared for monsoons throughout your trip?  Does it get really cold at night when the sun goes down? The weather during your trip will have a big impact on what clothes you need to bring with you.

People Live There.

When people overpack it’s because they think they need to bring everything with them for every possible scenario.  They don’t seem to realize that people live there and function every single day.   It may not have the most recent style or your preferred brand of something but odds are if you forget something you can buy it while you’re gone.  Instead of over packing with stuff you “may” need, leave it at home. If you do need it, buy it abroad.  It will save you room and you’ll bring home some souvenirs with a story.

Okay, so what’s on my packing list for Southeast Asia?  I’ve split my list into different categories based on use of an item and where I store it.  Keep in mind, that when I’m not on a flight EVERYTHING (including my daypack and everything in it) can fit in my Dueter 65 L backpack to make for easy transportation.  You really don’t want multiple bags to carry and move when getting in and out of taxis, trains, tuk tuks, or ferries.

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In my Deuter Transit 65 Travel Pack

Tops:

Tank Tops- 5
T-Shirts- 6
Button down- 1
Cotopaxi Windbreaker
Pullover/ Quarter zip-1

Bottoms:

Shorts-4
Pants-1
Boardshorts-3
Underwear and compression shorts-7
Socks- 10

Shoes:

Sandals- 1 pair
Nike Running shoes- 1 pair
Vans- 1 pair

Hats:

Serengetee 5 Panel Globetrotter
Outdoor Research Sun Hat

Won’t Travel Without:

Double Camping Hammock
Cotopaxi Kusa Blanket
Microfiber Towel
Grid-It Organize
Eye Mask and Ear Plugs
Combo Lock
4 Combo Master Lock 653D
LED Headlamp
Hydration bladder (Daypack has hydration sleeve)
Selfie Stick (believe it or not it comes in handy when everyone wants to be in the picture)
Travel Power Strip
Portable Wireless speakerMosquito Repellent
Converter

Toiletries:

Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Comb
Floss
Glasses
Contacts
Contact solution

img_2086-e1488746692761.jpg
In My Carry-On: the 
Cotopaxi Del Dia Daypack Daypack

Macbook Air and charger
Passport
Ray Ban Sunglasses
GoPro HERO4
Headphones
Charger
Power Bank
Kindle Fire
Notebook/Journal
Collapsible water bottle
Portable External Hard Drive
Canon PowerShot SX280
DJI CP.PT.000731 Spark Palm launch, Intelligent Portable Mini Drone, Alpine White

So there you have it, my packing list of clothes and accessories for a month in Southeast Asia.  During April 2017, my whole life will be packed into a 65L backpack and hauled on my back, trudging through the excitement Thailand, hiking the gorgeous countryside of Sapa, and hammocking on the beaches of the Island of the Gods.

One last thing note.  I plan on packing light and getting rid of a few items (if need be) to make sure I have room to bring back a few souvenirs from my trip.  I have a tradition to always bring back a piece of art to hang in my house after every trip.  I’m excited to see what I can find in Southeast Asia!

After my trip, I’ll come back and update the list to let you know what I could have left behind and if there was anything I wish I’d brought with me.

What items can you not travel without?

This is the fourth post in my “How To Travel” series. If you like what you read you may want to check out “How To Travel: An Introduction” by clicking here, ‘Utilizing Credit Cards‘, and ‘Ways to Make Money Traveling’

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