Without even realizing, B and I booked our flights to Bangkok on our 8th anniversary. In terms of our relationship, being together 8 years after we first started dating is really amazing. We both know we wouldn't want to be partaking on this adventure with anyone else. Happy Anniversary to us!
It's been roughly 80-some days since we made the trip pact. Since then, we've added some friends to the trip. There are about 5-8 people who may or may not be meeting us at different legs of the adventure. This decision was met with a little bit of reluctance, but B and I are both pretty excited to have companions throughout our journey. More on this later....
The money-saving has been going pretty well. B landed some really awesome projects and has been able to skate through relatively unharmed. I, on the other hand, have had to make some serious sacrifices financially. Although the sacrifices are very insignificant in a #firstworldproblems sort of way, they were (and still are) pretty hard to adjust to. There is a silver lining though! Aside from the fact that I have a wonderful guy who will treat me to something every once in awhile to make sure I don't completely lose my mind, I have never felt so committed to something. It has been a true lesson in self control and has spilled over into a lot of other areas in my life where I need a little extra discipline (hey there pants that didn't fit last summer!). And ultimately, not allowing myself to splurge has helped me to find more satisfying things to do with my time and find ways to made due with what I have (I swear I have a new wardrobe after looking beyond my first 20 hangers).
When we started looking for flights about a month ago, we were pretty set on trying to find something in the $1100 range. Originally, we were thinking about buying a one-way and just winging it, but figured that would probably cost us more in the long run. We settled on a return in the first week of March. I'm still trying to wrap my head around staying that long, but if we're doing this, we might as well go all out, right?
We knew flying out of NYC would be cheaper, so that was where we started. We planned our takeoff weekend to line up right after some good friends' wedding in Albany, so transportation to the city is almost covered! We will drive with friends to Albany on Oct. 17, enjoy a night or two with our buddies in Albany and then catch a train or bus to NYC. B's little sister will be joining us for the first three weeks and will be meeting us in NYC to catch the flight as well.
We used Kayak.com to search for flights, periodically checking on the individual airline sites to see if there were cheaper options there. We eventually decided on a China Eastern Flight that takes off from JFK in the late afternoon for $1123/each. We figured this would allow us to sleep and not have a 10 hour layover in Russia. The flight was actually booked through Vayama, which is what we used to book flights to Europe last year, so I'm familiar with them. We're still awaiting all of our confirmation information.
The downside of China Eastern is (from what I can tell) there are not individual TVs on the seats. Maybe I'm spoiled, but having that on a KLM flight to Amsterdam last year made that flight SO much better!!! Aside from that, the flight should work out well as travel time caps out at 25 hours or so (God willing).
Now even more silver linings: Not only does China Eastern miles go toward my Delta SkyMiles, I used my Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard to book the flights, which will award me an additional 40,000 miles which can be redeemed for a $400 travel statement credit (I'll elaborate more on this as I receive/redeem my rewards). I flew Delta last year going to Europe, so I'm hoping combined with my flight to Bangkok, I can also redeem some miles for a flight while we're over there (and now I'm dreaming of Bali...).
All in all, I believe I'm hardwired to worry about things like booking flights. It's a lot of money, and I didn't want to mess it up! But rest assured, the process is only as stressful as you make it. It took about 2.5 hours from the time we started looking to when I actually clicked "book now". Most of that time was filled with reluctance/arguing about staying until March. Take our advice; make that decision ahead of time, otherwise every site will time out and you'll end up entering the same info a hundred times....
Just pick it and click it :)
"To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice" - Elizabeth Gilbert