I am planning a trip to Thailand for 2012 and will be using thetravelapprentice.com as a travel guide over the next few months for every step of the planning process.
I’ve used the theories and methods of my website’s content long before thetravelapprentice.com even existed, and by following my own website I will be leading by example.
To say I’m excited about planning my first international trip since 2008 and my first trip to a tropical destination would be an understatement. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about Thailand and I look forward to showing you all how easy it is plan your travels with thetravelapprentice.com!
As much as I want to go out and buy the latest edition Thailand travel guide, this purchase must wait until another day. In fact if i don’t buy a new guide by tomorrow i’ll get it over the weekend.
After reading the article on passports I’ve come to realize that my current Canadian Passport is about to expire on January 20, 2012 to be exact. Has it already been 5 years!
Since I am renewing a Canadian passport I’ll be downloading the Simplified Renewal Application (PPTC 054) from the link provided. I prefer to submit these sort of documents in person so i’ll go to the passport office directly with 3 things:
They have 24 page passports for $5 less but i’m going to be optimistic and believe I’ll need the 48 pages in the future. : )
That’s it, I’m going to fill out the forms tonight or tomorrow, get photos taken this weekend and drop them off at the passport office in the next week or so.
My credit card is on the brink of getting maxed out. I’ll need to free-up some space in order to have some credit for traveling and start paying it off.
If you’ve never had a credit card before, read this article 2.2 - Credit Cards for Travel.
The main reason I’m in the hole is due to creating thetravelapprentice.com. I was unemployed for most of 2010 and spent most of my credit on web-developing classes at BCIT while looking for work.
I’ve been working full-time since Mid-May and although i’ve been making payments, my total doesn’t seem to be going down.
I have 3 priorities at the moment:
- Credit Card Debt.
- STILL Paying off Student Loan debts from 2005.
- Saving for Thailand.
Saving for Thailand:
The last 4 paycheques I’ve put away $250 each for $1000 total so far. This is the Thailand flight fund and as soon as my girlfriend and I have enough we’ll be ready to buy our flights. This is the saving for Thailand part, the fun part, the kind of saving I love.
As for the other two, these are real bills that require monthly payments. The student loan has been on hold due to my previous unemployment but I’ll need to start paying $300 per month starting in October (this month).
My credit payments are a minimum of around $120 per but I’ll never pay it off with that, (credit card companies love it when you have a debt, make payments, yet never pay it off. That’s how they make their money) so I think $300 per month leading up to my trip should clear some extra space on the old credit card.
Not using a credit card is also important, and easily my biggest problem with not paying it off lately and maintaining a constant debt on my credit card. I’m expecting a Valentine’s Day card from Visa this February too.
So between those 2 debts and the Thailand fund I’m looking at $850 per month, not including all my other life expenses like rent, food, fuel, bills etc…
All that aside, I believe it’s important to have credit while traveling and I must now go out of my way to create some extra credit space before departing.
Updates: I’ll keep you up to date with my debts too. Perhaps understanding my debt payment strategies may help you solve yours. I’m not sure when but I’ll be sure to post an update on my debt situation in late December/early January if i don’t before then.
If you’re here researching your travel plans about Thailand and aprehensive about travel, or traveling solo then an Organized Tour may be the right chioce.
Start by reading the article linked below from thetravelapprentice.com:
I’ve known of some people traveling Thailand on a tour and had amazing experiences. They met a group of people, traveled with them, partied and had a great time. This is the perfect scenario for new or solo travelers.
I won’t be taking one of these tours of Thailand for a few reasons. I’m going with someone who’s been before, i’m an experienced traveler who’s confident with getting around foriegn countries and I wouldn’t want to be tied to a tour if i wanted to stay somewhere longer of leave earlier.
That being said I’m not anti-travel-tours, in fact I’ve been researching Africa travel and I’m leaning more and more towards concidering organized tours for that Continent than traveling independantly. My Africa research is off topic and i’ll write about those plans another time but I just wanted to explain that organized tours are in fact something I would seriously concider as a travel option.
I always suggest the Organized Tour first because choosing that option cuts through most travel planning for it’s mostly planned for you and perhaps that’s what you want.
I love planning for travel if you couldn’t tell from my website thetravelapprentice.com. Planning for travel just gives my life so much more purpose… the goal of wanting to travel, planning and budgeting my very own itinerary, then actually doing it is so damn satisfying it’s almost addicting.
That’s our bookshelf up there (notice the Thailand book), that’s my girlfriends book from when she went to Thailand several years ago. I’ll be reading that over the next several weeks or months to help figure out an itinerary.
I really have no idea what I’ll find in that book, or which destinations will interest me but I’ll soon find out…
I’m a Lonely Planet man myself. There I said it, I never mentioned my guidebook preference on my website thetravelapprentice.com but now seems like a good time in case you couldn’t tell from the picture. :)
That being said, I’ll never say Lonely Planet is the best guidebook for you and I explain why here: 3.2 - Choosing a Guidebook.
I’ll read my girlfriends Thailand Guidebook using the same strategy as I read most of those books on the shelf. Read more about my strategy here: 3.2 - Where to Go.
I provided those links to my website without explanation to avoid being redundant. Those two chapters will take some time to complete as I’ll need to dedicate time to those tasks.
My life is time, as is yours. I have a full-time job, a girlfriend, a neglected 4x4, a website, this blog and many other time consuming life things. These aren’t complaints, they’re just life and each one requires time and effort.
Reading the Thailand guidebook might be near the bottom of my priority list but a priority it certainly is. I’ll need to find time to read (sort-of read) over 700+ pages about Thailand and this is a task I’m most looking forward to.
After reading through that book I’ll present my findings to my woman, aka Melissa. These plans are not just mine for me, they’re ours for us but I’m the travel apprentice website blogger guy who’s never been to Thailand so I’m getting the first crack at planning this thing.
That book is bit outdated but the new one doesn’t come out until February 2012. I’m going to read that older one and consider buying the new one if I feel it’s needed.
PS: Melissa and I are planning Thailand as our first trip together!
Over the next weeks i’ll be reading through my Thailand guidebook for places to go based on “Action! - Reading your Guidebook” from my website.
We’ve decided to visit the islands of: Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao. (Ko means ‘island’ FYI) These island are all located within the area of the red Ko Samui dot. We’ll probably go to Phuket too. (Pronounced Pookget)
My girlfriend Melissa has been these places before, wants to go again. She thinks I would love them too, so this is our starting point. She’ll get an itinerary started for these island and I’ll continue reading through the travel guidebook looking for good places for us to visit.
We’ll probaby dedicate 7-10 days on these islands which leaves 2 weeks for before and after…
I don’t believe so. I like to have a route planned out, enough so I know an itinerary inside out enough to adapt on the fly and return to the original plans if nessesary. I’m a planner, but plans are never carved in stone.
We’ll start in Bangkok and probably work our way down and over to the west coast for a fairly typical trip to Thailand.
I wanted to head north and see some things off the beaten track but i’m so eager to kick back on the beaches of Thailand that my vision for a well rounded trip to several parts of the country might not happen the way things are falling into place.
We have 3-weeks to soak up Thailand and we can only do so much. That’s a typical traveler statement which applies to us at the moment.
I’ve never swam in truly warm water before. I’m a Canadian who actually enjoys the refreshing chill of a Canadian lake but What we’ll call warm on a hot summer day isn’t actually warm, but it’s warm for us. Does that make sense?
Local Canadians at their favorite lake will praise the warmth only after jumping in to “get through the first 30 seconds… then it’s warm” kind of water. I want the universal warm water, the kind of water everyone calls warm.
The best warm blue water i’ve ever swam in was in Dubrovnik, Croatia (below). Although it looks green, trust me it’s crystal blue!
Cool water, totally refreshing, and perfect once you’re in. As much as I loved that water, i know there’s more to come!
I filled out the forms, now all i need to do is send them in. Hopefully I do this soon as procrastinating the passport form submission is a bad idea.
I was researching Thailand for a good Temple (and I’m sure i’ll still find one) but the Temples of Angkor in Cambodia knocked my socks off! I read just a minimal amount of this place and decided I must visit this.
According to TheTravelApprentice.com i’m at the “Rough-Out Stage” of my planning.
It’s also interesting that I just happened to buy a Cambodia guide-book from Value Village last summer but I didn’t read any of it until I got home today after discovering this place. I love convenient coincidences…
So Melissa and I have decided to dedicate our first week or so to Bangkok and the Temples of Angkor. We’ll figure out the details another day but I hope we can give these Cambodian ruins at least 3-4 days.
Here’s a map of our plans so far:
View Operation Thailand 2012 in a larger map