Yes, you've read that title correctly. I'm heading to Thailand. It's been official for a few weeks now, but I decided to keep it a little under wraps, at least for a while, so I could relish in the reality of it by myself for a bit. But as I've been planning my trip, I've compiled a "to do" list of sorts that I found interesting, and thought I'd share the process with all of you.
Because many of my friends and family are nervous (to say the least) about me heading out to Southeast Asia for two weeks, I decided to do everything I can to ease their nerves about this trip. So once the flights were booked, I began researching what I could do to travel safely and remain connected to all of my people back home. I've got quite the list of things to do:
- Purchase an international phone plan. This was not part of my initial "list." I had intended on putting my phone on airplane mode for the length of my trip, and logging on to hostel/hotel WiFi to iMessage or FaceTime my family every few days. But after finding out that through my provider, I can purchase a month of international usage for $40, I decided I'd do it. That price is super affordable, and I'm sure my mom, grandparents and boyfriend will be relieved that they can text or call me at any point throughout my trip.
- Invest in travel insurance. This was honestly something more for myself than anyone else, but I think my family would approve. Travel insurance covers so many trip incidentals - everything from lost baggage to a hospital stay - and at a relatively affordable price. I'm planning on using World Nomads insurance where I can cover my entire two week trip for just under $90.
- Download a GPS tracker. I've agreed to download a GPS app before I leave, which as long as it's turned on, will allow anyone who has the associated URL link to follow my phone anywhere in the world. Since my family has my planned itinerary handy, they would be able to see if my phone went off track, or seemed to be left behind somewhere.
- Take friends along. I had initially planned to take this trip alone, and my loved ones were absolutely beside themselves. I'm a people pleaser by nature, and my friends and family are very near and dear to me, so I struggled immensely with the idea of upsetting any of them by taking this trip. So I extended the invite to a handful of friends, and it turns out that some of them are just as stoked on this trip as I am. I'll be heading to Thailand in the company of one, if not two - maybe even three (TBD!), old and new friends.
- Make a plan. Even though I think it would be incredible and life-changing to just go wherever the wind takes me, the fact of the matter is that I'm far safer if i have an itinerary of some sort, that my family can follow to know where I'm at on which days. For that reason, I've outlined where I'll be on which days, so if the GPS doesn't match my planned location, my family would know something had gone awry.
All of that being said, I truly believe I'm being overly cautious! Of all the countries in southeast Asia, Thailand is one of the most regularly traveled by foreigners, so I'm sure I'll find that it's easier to navigate than I expected. But there's nothing wrong with being prepared. I can't explain how happy I am to be traveling to Thailand, and I'm so glad that I have a plan in place to make my friends and family more at ease about my trip. Now it's just a matter of checking those boxes!
If you have any additional travel tips to share, comment below! I'd be happy to read and consider for my own trip.