A Year in Travel: 2013 Edition

by Mike on December 30, 2013

The first trip of the year was incentivized by a misplaced fare, which typically happens from time to time. This wasn’t my first mistake fare and most likely won’t be my last mistake fare I’ll take advantage of in my lifetime.

My annual travel review

My annual travel review

The key thing to keep in mind with mistake fares it’s a sweepstakes on a cheap vacation because you don’t know if the airline is going to honor the fares or not. It’s also wise not to make any other travel plans revolving around the errant airfare until you know the airline confirms your ticket and honors the fare. In my case, the airline did indeed honor them.

Mistake Fare from Myanmar

Mistake Fare from Myanmar

The grand total to fly one-way in business class from Myanmar to Los Angeles was: $445.

Mistake Fare from Myanmar

Mistake Fare from Myanmar

However, since it’s only one-way, I needed to reposition myself to Myanmar to fly the mispriced fare.

A few months after I booked my mispriced fare from Myanmar, Singapore Airlines has some weekend maintenance scheduled, which opened up premium cabins(business and first class) to other partner carriers with miles.

Normally, one cannot book Singapore business or first class seats with other star alliance member airline miles(United or US Airways miles) other than with Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer miles, which is why this was a unique opportunity.

While all this was occurring with Singapore airline’s website, I was out and about in Portland, Oregon and was nowhere near a computer.  I wanted to book something to pair with my Myanmar flights while the game of musical chairs was going on knowing this maintenance window would be short-lived.

So I had my friend book a NYC to Singapore via Frankfurt flight to give me a week or so in Myanmar with all my frequent flyer and credit card details. It really pays off to have trust worthy friends in different time zones that are passionate about travel.

If you asked me a year ago, Myanmar probably wasn’t at the top of my bucket list, but when the opportunities like this happens, take full advantage of it. I was really fortunate to have two mistakes to occur in succession to book a complete round trip itinerary.

THOUGHTS ON SOLO TRAVEL

When I was in Myanmar, I stayed at a locally owned hotel and met an U.S. expat who was visiting Myanmar from Hong Kong.  Like myself, he was traveling alone.  After a brief conversation, I learned he wanted to tour the circle train.

As a traveler traveling alone, it’s quite common to run into other solo travelers that are willing to visit the same sites and points of interest as you.  So I often have someone to accompany, though I normally do transit airports and such myself.

My friend Jeffrey Trull shared some interesting words about traveling alone on Facebook:

To anyone who wants to travel but is waiting for someone to come along, I say: don’t.

Many friends and others back home I’ve talked to seem surprised when I say I’m traveling alone. But the truth is I’m often not by myself for 2 months of traveling. In fact, I’ve just said “goodbye” to my friends who I met along the way and am now traveling alone for the first time in nearly a month with just a few days until I head home. During this time, I shared meals, hotel rooms, and lots of fun with new people I met along the way.

If you’re apprehensive about traveling alone, don’t be.  You’ll still be able to enjoy yourself and best of all you’ll meet new people.

LASTING MEMORIES FROM MYANMAR

The U.S. expat and I agreed to meet up for breakfast and head to the train station. We paid $1 USD each to ride the train that locals use for transport around the suburbs of Myanmar.

Circle Train ride in Myanmar Ticket

Circle Train Ticket

The circle train ride pretty much consists of locals hopping on and off during it’s brief stops.  Some locals board the train to sell various goods such as water, food, betal nuts, and fruits to passengers.  Other locals are simply passengers getting from point A to point B.

At one stop during our journey, a little boy and mother sat down across from us. The boy was partially clothed while the mother didn’t seem any more impoverished than any other passenger.

Circle Train ride in Myanmar

Circle Train ride in Myanmar

Circle Train ride in Myanmar

Circle Train ride in Myanmar

In the next or one of the subsequent stops(I can’t really remember), a local selling freshly boiled corn on the cob boarded the train.  A man seated along the same side of the train as us bought a piece and broke it in half to give it to the partially clothed boy.  The corn on cob was too hot for the boy to eat initially, but eventually he devoured it.

Nothing stood out about the mother and son indicating any impoverished social status except the boy was partially clothed.  I presume the man gave the piece of corn knowing other tells.

It was certainly the most vivid memory I have from the entire trip and something that I’ll remember for ages.  An experience like that reinforces my appreciation for the food that’s available to me and not to waste it.

THE MOST COMFORTABLE BED

My mispriced fare from Myanmar only got me to LA rather than the East Coast.  I decided to spend the weekend there with a few friends.

My friends and I each got a free night at the Hotel La Jolla, which is a Kimpton property.  The one thing that I loved about the hotel was the bed.  It was probably the most comfortable hotel bed I slept on.  So comfortable, that I took the effort to pull off the covers and sheets to reveal the mattress, a Sealy Posturepedic made specifically for the Hotel La Jolla.

FIRST SEAPLANE FLIGHT

Later in the year, I went to the Maldives because of the world-renowned diving spots.  My resort of choice was the Conrad Rangali.

Maldives seaplane Ride

Maldives seaplane Ride

Maldives seaplane ride

Maldives seaplane ride

Maldives seaplane ride

Maldives seaplane ride

Like most resort hotels in the Maldives, the Conrad resides on it’s own island and the most common way to arrive is by seaplane from capital City, Malé.

The ride was a bit cramped, but it didn’t matter because it was a short ride and your sitting at the edge of your seat staring out the window.  Needless to say, the view from the seaplane is absolutely amazing.  The seaplane didn’t fly all that high so you have a birds eye view of the little atolls.

My stay at the hotel was summed up here.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

NZ Muse January 17, 2014 at 10:06 am

Are mistake fares what they sound – a genuine misprint by the airline?

I adore travelling alone. I probably wouldn’t want to travel solo for an extended time but for up to a month or so I’d be more than okay with that!

Reply

Mike January 18, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Yes, mistake fares are genuine mistake

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