Tag Archives: asia

A Letter to My Future Self

Dear Future Nam,

The next time you’re planning a vacation, and your eye begins to wander to far-off exotic locations… and you start to think about how much you want to hike the Banaue rice terraces in the Phillipines or set eyes on the Komodo Dragon in Indonesia… please do yourself one small favor…


He’s not worth it!


Sure, Asia is wonderful. You loved Vietnam on your most recent go-around. It’s cheap. It’s beautiful. It’s different and fascinating. But two weeks in Asian paradise will cost you two to three weeks of miserable, head-pounding, gut-wrenching, life-destroying jet lag.

You think I’m exaggerating. Your memory has dimmed over the past copule of months, just like it did the year before and the year before that. That’s why I wrote this letter. I am not exaggerating. The exhaustion is mind numbing, and it’s not just the exhaustion. It’s the complete physical and emotional havoc that comes along with it.

dear 3 am

Let me tell you how it will go. You will come back from a great trip with grand plans to recommit to your life – tackle work with renewed vigor, hit the gym, be a better, more awesome version of yourself. That’s what vacation does for you. Except when you go to Asia. You will be too sick to work out, too tired and drained to work. You will lie in bed and cry at 3 a.m. and curse yourself for pining after that Komodo Dragon.



There are a lot of countries out there. Go to South America. Chile, Argentina, Ecuador. There are so many amazing things to see in countries in the same time zone. Future self, do yourself a huge favor and don’t go to Asia again.


Present Nam



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How Much Does It Cost to Travel the World In Style?

Excellent question.

According to Kayak, a comparable trip from New York City to Siem Reap would cost $2951 and a comparable trip from Hong Kong back to New York City would cost somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000 a person. On the conservative side, our flights to Asia and back would cost $12,000 for two people in business class not even counting our intra-Asia flights. This is what we paid:

New York – Siem Reap, Cambodia (via San Francisco and Seoul)

120,000 miles and $57.60 in fees
The miles were earned by signing up for the Chase Ink Bold credit card (60,000 miles) and a combination of stray United miles and Chase points in both my account and The Boyfriend’s. We had to pay a $200 change fee to alter our plans to include Cambodia but I’m pretty sure The Boyfriend’s Amex Platinum will pick up the tab on that so it is not listed.

Cambodia – Bangkok

We paid out of pocket for economy seats on this hour-long flight. There are, to my knolwedge, only three airlines that fly from Siem Reap to Bangkok nonstop: Bangkok Airways (the most expensive), AirAsia, and Cambodia Angkor Air (a turboprop plane). The turboprop scared us so we are flying AirAsia.

Bangkok – Hong Kong

15,000 avios + $103.56
Using the 20 percent bonus transfer from American Express, I saved a few Amex points on the transfer to British Airways. These are economy seats since it didn’t seem worthwhile to spend an extra 15,000 miles for a two and a half hour flight.

Hong Kong – New York (via Vancouver)

140,000 avios and $320.52 in fees
I had earned 50,000 from the British Airways credit card (plus the $95 annual fee) and The Boyfriend had earned a heaping pile of Amex points though his work credit cards. I used a 35 percent Amex bonus to transfer the necessary points to my British Airways account to meet the 70,000 per person price.

Total for two business class tickets from New York to Cambodia, two business class tickets from Hong Kong to New York and two tickets for two intra-Asia flights in economy:

120,000 miles + $57.60
15,000 miles + $103.56
140,000 miles + $320.52

275,000 miles + 849.68

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