How to plan your Trip to Asia

Ladies and Gentlemen may I introduce my personal experiences of planning a 3 month trip to Asia. This article includes all questions which I asked myself or should have asked myself prior to starting/while planning my trip. It displays my personal experience and might not apply to you and your personal needs. If this is the case please adapt it to your individual journey or leave a comment down below. I am always happy to help and answer every question. For information on risks and side-effects please read the pack insert and ask your doctor or pharmacist.

How to plan your Itinerary?

1. Define the country/countries your planning to travel and the sequence of your travels
2. Define the duration and approximate time of your journey by taking into account which 
  • country/ies you’re visiting,  
  • seasons should be expected (monsoon, summer/winter), 
  • budget you defined/ how much you´re willing to spend (high season/ low season) 
3. Choose your travel buddy and align your wishes, needs and expectations

In my case, some of the questions were kind of a given. Work and eventwise traveling for 3 months was the maximum we could do. The whole journey has been organized together with my longterm boyfriend. We have been traveling together before so we knew our expectations and wishes are pretty much the same. We already traveled twice through  Thailand for 3 weeks and this time we decided we want to see more and stay longer. Both of us collected information on different countries, read blogs, watched vlogs and narrowed it down to a few countries: Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines. While comparing flight durations and costs, our route slightly changed. Flying in and out Cambodia would have been way too expensive and very time-intensive, so we decided to skip it. While researching prices we found out that flight prices to Singapore were pretty cheap so we added it to the list. Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia – the decision has been made.

The sequence of the countries was scheduled pretty fast- Malaysia, in general, is very mixed weatherwise and none of the months would have guaranteed total sunshine. However flights from Munich to Kuala Lumpur were comparing cheap, so we decided to start our journey there. Singapore became the next step on our list as flights from Langkawi to Singapore were crazily cheap. Sunny high season in Indonesia starts only in May so it became our final destination and the Philippines were squeezed in before (not really though, as it became our longest stay). Go ahead and read the organizational part, where I explain why!

Organization

How to book your flights?

– Start searching for your flight at least 6 months prior to your preferred flight time
– Flights are statistically the cheapest on Mondays/Tuesdays
– Search your flight in anonymous mode on your computer as the prices will go up the more interested you seem (google chrome: new incognito window)
-Try to avoid searching your flights/accommodation on an A*pl* Macbook, research showed that potentially higher prices might be displayed 
– Compare prices over time and set price alarms on different websites
– My favorite websites are: Skyscanner, Checkfelix and Opodo
– The more flexible you are with the flight dates, the cheaper you get the flights.

Luggage

How to choose the type of luggage?

Personally this was one of the hardest decisions. Rucksack, luggage, bag .. so many options so little time. 2 weeks before our planned departure and I still haven’t decided. Rucksack makes the most flexible choice of all options, but I myself am not the tallest nor the heaviest, so  I was concerned that carrying 15 – 20 kgs might be an issue for me. After weeks of comparing prices and different options. I decided against a bulky suitcase, which could have become an issue in small vans, buses or ferries while traveling. I also decided against the idea of a  carrying bag, because i just couldn’t deal with the thought of carrying it around in the heat with just one hand. Combinations of trolleys and rucksacks were comparing extremely expensive, so I decided for the most flexible but heavy alternative – the rucksack. After hours of research I chose this one: 
Prärieulv Backpacker Rucksack Set

It is not too sporty, has enough space (75 Liters), is high quality, water-resistant, a front- and top loader and is very pretty (love the pattern). Additionally, a small rucksack comes with it. I would rate it a 10/10 so far!

How to store your belongings?

I have never been the biggest fan of rucksacks so far, as I didn’t like the idea of all of my clothes squeezed in one big department, top loader and chaotically crammed together. This year I found these amazing but cheap lifesavers:

7 bags, send from heaven (well actually Amazon),  to store and organize your clothes. My organization: underwear + socks, swim + beachwear, shorts/trousers + shirts, dresses + jumpsuits, pharmaceuticals, shoes, sportswear + pyjamas). These little angels make everything so much more organized and easy to handle when unpacking and repacking. I’m obsessed. 

How to secure your luggage?

To secure your rucksack from damage or theft I would recommend using a travel bag cover and special locks, which airport security is able to open. We don’t want anybody to cut our new, pretty rucksack bag open, don´t we? 

What should be stored in your hand luggage?

For my hand luggage, I used a smaller rucksack which is convertible to a small carrying bag. I would recommend bringing one set of clothes and underwear, a towel, deodorant, face cream, contraception (pill, when you´re female and travel longer than 12 hours, when entering another time zone make sure you count the hours right), disinfectant gel, a book, phone, laptop, charger and most importantly snacks and water. Any kind of battery, power bank, drone, etc. should usually be stored in the hand luggage as well.

What needs to be considered in advance?

Accommodation

Depending on how adventurous you are, you can either book you accommodation in advance or just for with the flow and see what will be there. We like to book the first few places in advance, at least the first one. Arriving and not knowing where to go would be the total horror for me. But that’s just me – you do you.

Bureaucracy 

Make sure everything regarding work is declared – holiday request accepted, contract paused, educational leave confirmed – whatever way you decide – ensure that all contracts are signed and all supervisors are informed. We want a free head during our leave. 

VISA

Depending on your nationality you may need a visa in some countries and not in others. It is crucial to inform yourself weeks, if possible months, in advance. Check out the website of the countries embassy and search for any requirements. Start early enough, you might have to send in your passport, which could take days if not weeks. For Austrians, it is usually quite easy and we get visas on arrival in most of the countries. However, we had to apply for a visa for the Philippines as we are staying longer than 30 days. We decided to make the Philippines our longest stay as the 30+ days Visa in Indonesia was more expensive.

Passport

For most countries, your passport needs to be valid for the upcoming 6 months. 

International driving license 

Different countries require different kinds of international driving licenses. Inform yourself at your local car/ motorcycle club/ insurance company. We decided to get one IDL for the Philippines and one for Indonesia. It is only valid in combination with your local driving license. 

Vaccination

Check if the common vaccinations recommended for your country are still active and if there are any additional travel vaccination recommended for the country you are going to.

Pharmaceuticals

Make sure you have all drugs you usually need with you. If you have any chronic disease either bring the medication for the whole trip or make sure you know the name of the product in the local language. Additionally, my recommendation for drugs would be contraception, fever medication, painkillers, nasal spray, broad-spectrum antibiotics, anti hysteroid, cooling gel and plasters. Also, bring any dietary supplements you need.

Gadgets

Additionally,  I would recommend buying a travel adapter, a strong power bank, and a good light hammock. These gadgets are my all-time travel essentials.

What needs to be organized at home?

Make sure you instruct a person of you trust to take care of your cat, dog, plants or any living beings, you can´t take with you.  Switch off your fridge/ freezer, heating system and unplug all your electronic devices. 

Costs Overview

Details Price

Luggage

Rucksack

Organization bags

Handluggage
Travel Bag

€ 80,-

€ 10,59,-  (Red)
€ 5,-  (See-through)

€ 19,-

Flights

Munich – KL – Munich
Langkawi – Singapore
Singapore – Cebu
Manilla - Bali

€ 500,- / person
€ 30,- / person
€ 78,- / person
€ 107,- / person

Luggage included on all flights.

Accommodation

Kuala Lumpur 
Luxurious – gated/secured – AC- rooftop pool

Penang 
Low budget – privat bathroom – AC – very small

Langkawi 
Low budget – privat bathroom – AC – terrace – hammock – at the beach

€ 37,80,- / night / room
(5 nights)

€ 11,75,- / night / room
(4 nights)

€ 16,00,- / night / room
(9 nights)

Visa

Philippines

€ 27,- / person

International Driving License

Phillipines
Indonesia

€ 14,- / person
€ 14,- / person

Refresher Vaccination

Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis
Mumps, measles, rubella

€ 40,- / person
Free in Austria

This and That

Hammock
Powerbank
Traveladapter

€ 50,-
€ 33,-
€ 23,-

  • Luggage

    Rucksack: € 80,-
    Organization bags: € 10,59,- (Red), € 5,- (See-through)
    Handluggage: € 19,-

  • Flights

    Munich – KL – Munich: € 500,-
    Langkawi – Singapore: € 30,-
    Singapore – Cebu: € 78,-
    Manilla – Bali: € 107,-

    Flights per person and including luggage.

  • Acommodation

    Kuala Lumpur (5 nights):
    € 37,80,- / night / room
    Luxurious – gated/secured – AC- rooftop pool.

    Penang (4 nights):
    € 11,75,- / night / room
    Low budget – privat bathroom – AC – very small

    Langkawi (9 nights):
    € 16,00,- / night / room
    Low budget – privat bathroom – AC – terrace – hammock – at the beach

  • Visa

    Philippines
    € 27,- / person

  • International Driving License

    Philippines
    € 14,- / person

    Indonesia
    € 14,- / person

  • Refresher Vaccination

    Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis: € 40,-

    Mumps, measles, rubella: Free in Austria

  • This and That

    Hammock: € 50,-
    Powerbank: € 33,-
    Travel Adapter: € 23,-

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