My first 24 hours of international travel are almost over and it has been a bit of a whirlwind. I’m quickly learning little things here and there. Maybe not little things, but more like HUGE things.
The day started out as normal as any other. I was able to catch a ride to the airport (PDX) and head to the ticket counter. As I waited there in line, all I could think about was “Wow, this is really happening!” I was called over to the counter and told to check in using the touch screen system. After clicking my way through the screen, it asks to scan my passport. I place my passport on the machine, it beeps and then tells me to speak with someone. I get back in line and am finally called over, and thats when the real fun began.
My original plan was to fly in to Bangkok, Thailand and stay there for a bit (20 days) and then head to somewhere else. Perhaps spend some time in Laos or Cambodia and then head back to Thailand. To be totally honest, I had NO CLUE what I was going to do. My plan was to have no plan at all! United Airlines wasn’t as enthusiastic about this idea as I was.
If you are going to travel to a country that doesn’t require a visa if you say under 30 days and you want to say over 3o days, GET A VISA! My plan of leaving the country and coming back in doesn’t work. The airline needs proof that you plan to leave the country within 30 days. Plane or train, anything would work.
As you can guess from my travel tip, I didn’t have a Visa. I had planed to leave Thailand and reenter the country so I figured I didn’t need to worry about a Visa. After much debate with the lady at the check in counter for United Airlines, the decision was made to change my flight to within the 30 day limit for a $250 fee. Had I been smart, I would have just gone online and purchased a train ticket. Oh well, travel lesson #1 learned.
Once I make it past security and to my gate for the flight from PDX–>SEA I make myself comfy and settle in. I notice the weather outside isn’t the greatest and is a bit foggy. What I mean to say is, I think it’s a bit foggy, the airport staff seem to think it’s extremely foggy. So foggy that the planes can’t land and my flight is canceled. I was then informed that I need to spend the night in PDX to catch another flight to SEA and beyond.
After a few winks and a smile I managed to talk to the lady behind the counter into putting me onto a flight an hour later to Seattle. Thankfully I’ve got a few friends in Seattle and were happy to give up their couch.
TRAVEL TIP #2
Any couch is probably much more comfortable than an airport.
Once I got to Seattle and met up with my friend, he took me on a tour of the city and was able to get some shots from the top of the Space Needle. It was my first time up there and I’m sure it won’t be my last. Once I finally get to Thailand and settled in, I hope to process some of my photos and post them for all to see.
Currently I’m writing this while sitting in the Seattle airport waiting for my flight Japan and then on to Thailand. The first 24 hours of travel have been an eye opener and a massive learning experience.