Are you ready for the summer! It’s Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial start of summer. Oh man, I am so ready for warmer weather and travel.
As usual, spring was cold and wet in Portland. It finally started to warm up this week, but our heater is still kicking in every morning. I’m tired of it. Where is the summer weather?
As for traveling, Mrs. RB40 and I got our booster shots earlier this year so we feel pretty good about flying. RB40Jr got 2 shots and he won’t need a booster… Because he caught Covid from school 10 days ago! Ugh. Fortunately, it is a pretty mild case. He had a bad cough, but it’s about done now. He’ll test positive for a while so we’ll have to take that into consideration when we travel this summer.
End of elementary school
The Memorial weekend also means the end of the school year for many students. Congratulations to all the graduates out there! Don’t miss my best advice to new college grads. For younger students, it’s time to relax and enjoy the nice weather.
RB40Jr still has 2 more weeks of school left. He is ready for the summer, but he is also a bit sad to say goodbye. Next year, he’ll move up to a Junior high school. He always had a tough time at the beginning of every school year. He got into all sorts of trouble every year. A new school will be difficult for him. Fortunately, many of his friends will go to the same Jr. high. At least he’ll know some kids. I’m not looking forward to the calls from the principal and the nurse, though.
We aren’t signing him up for any activities this summer because we’ll be on the road a lot.
Well, it looks like the vacation industry came roaring back after a 2 years hiatus. Everyone is ready to get away for a nice vacation. It’ll be damn expensive to travel this year, but we’ll splurge after enduring the last 2 years.
CA road trip
First, we’ll take a 2-week road trip to visit friends and families in CA. Originally, we wanted to fly, but the tickets were so much more expensive than the last time we flew. So we opt to drive instead. Gasoline is also expensive, but it’ll be way cheaper than 3 flight tickets. Anyways, driving is better because we can stop to visit friends and see various national and state parks along the way.
Here are some places where we’ll visit. This trip should be fun.
- Lassen National Park
- San Jose
- Palm Spring
- Long Beach
- Santa Barbara – Let’s go Gauchos!
Thailand & Maldives
After that, we’ll take a 6-week trip to Thailand and the Maldives. I just went to Thailand for 3 months earlier this year, but I spent most of that time with my parents. My mom’s health is worsening so I want RB40Jr to see her. Here is the plan.
- A few days in Bangkok to hang out, visit relatives, and see some sights.
- Fly to Hat Yai, a city in Songkhla province. Songkla is one of the southern provinces in Thailand. I haven’t spent much time in the south and would like to explore more. There are some really nice islands there. The culture is very different from other parts of Thailand so it’ll be quite interesting.
- Fly to Chiang Mai to see my parents for a week.
- Fly to Nakorn Panom to visit Mrs. RB40’s extended family.
- Back to Bangkok and fly to the Maldives. We’ll spend 11 days in the Maldives. First, backpacking then relaxing at a resort.
- Back to Bangkok for a couple of days then fly to Portland.
Entry restrictions eased
Good news! You don’t need to take a Covid test to enter Thailand anymore. However, foreigners still need to apply for a Thailand pass to enter. Fortunately, the Thailand pass is easier to obtain as well. You only need to give passport details, vaccination records, and get a travel health insurance policy ($10,000). You can get insurance for under $100 from various agencies. The Thailand pass should be automatically approved. The Thailand pass could go away in July so keep your fingers crossed.
This is way better than my previous trips. In 2021, I had to quarantine in a hotel room for 14 days and took 2 PCR tests there. In early 2022, I had to take a PCR test on arrival and quarantined at the hotel until the result came back. Actually, that wasn’t too bad. It took about 12 hours for the result to come back. This time, we won’t have to take any tests or quarantine at all. It is way easier.
It’s even easier to visit the Maldives. There are no requirements at all. Nice!
Thailand travel tips
Here are some travel tips if you’re planning to visit Thailand.
- Pack light. Local flight tickets are super cheap if you have just a carry-on bag. Our flight to Hat Yai cost only $20 each. However, it’d triple if we sign up for all the plethora of options the airlines offer – check luggage, pick seats, flight insurance, SMS update, etc…
- Watch out for foreign transaction fees. The airline charges a credit card processing fee and your credit card might charge a foreign transaction fee. Bring a card with no foreign transaction fee if you’re planning to travel internationally.
- ATM fee is very high in Thailand. Most ATMs charge around $7 for each withdrawal. My tip is to get an account that refunds any ATM fees. I have a cash management account at Fidelity and I love it. It has been very useful.
- Jeans are too hot for Thailand. Bring something lighter like shorts. Although, some attractions have a dress code. You’d better bring a pair of lightweight pants as well.
Maldives travel tips
This will be our first trip to the Maldives so I don’t have a lot of tips.
- You can backpack around the Maldives and visit the local islands now. The small hotel and guest houses are super cheap compared to the resorts. The activities are much more affordable as well.
- It’s expensive to travel around the Maldives. You have to take a boat everywhere. Local flights are very expensive as well. A local flight can cost as much as a flight from Thailand to the Maldives.
- I used points to reserve 4 nights at a Holiday Inn resort. It’s a pretty good deal if you have some IHG points. The signup bonus from the Chase IHG card was more than enough for this visit. This is a resort island and our reservation is for the room only. We’ll have to pay for the meals separately or book a meal package. FYI, food is very expensive at the resorts.
That’s all I got. I’ll have more tips when we get back.
Any plans this summer?
What about you? Do you have any big plans this summer? I think traveling will be very busy this year. Everyone is tired of being stuck at home and we are all rearing to getaway.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel to follow along with our travel. This summer should be a lot of fun.
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