Help-Need Place to Go for 10 Days

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by domdigs, Dec 3, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. domdigs

    domdigs Member

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    Hi all, it's my first time posting here. I received some unexpected time off from work starting today until Dec 20 and want to use it to travel. I need help deciding where to go with the miles I have. It will be the first time I am traveling internationally by myself, I think ever. I am 30 and based out of LAX.

    The top countries on my list are:
    Central/Southern Africa
    Philippines
    Indonesia
    Colombia
    Greece
    Slovenia/Croatia

    These countries were selected because they are affordable, warm and laid back.


    I have frequent flyer miles to use for the flights including:
    AAdvantage-110,000
    SkyMiles-50,000
    United MP-100,000 (Chase UR)
    Amex MR-60,000

    Thanks in advance!
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  2. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Thanks for what? Are you looking for people to make suggestions about which country to visit, do you need help redeeming the miles, or is your question something else?
     
  3. domdigs

    domdigs Member

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    *Updated
    I forgot to ask for help in deciding which country I can fly to with the miles I have. Are there any last minute deals or low cost mileage flights out of LAX to any of these places right now? Looking to leave in a few days.
     
  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    (bolding added)

    Temperature in Athens, Greece right now: 46 F
    Temperature in Ljubljana, Slovenia right now: 26 F
    Temperature in Zagreb, Croatia right now: 23 F

    Unless you live in a place like Whitehorse, Yukon (temp right now: -13 F), I am not sure those are places to visit in December when "warm" is a criteria :)
     
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  5. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I have only been to South Africa and that was over ten years ago. Not sure that I would recommend it for a solo trip as the first international adventure (though I loved it). Central Africa... as in Congo and Rwanda? Never been there, would love to see the mountain gorillas one day, but... would look at the current political situation in that region.

    Philippines... no experience.

    Indonesia.... loved Bali. See if you can get there with your miles via Singapore (UA miles) or Hong Kong (AA miles)

    Colombia... no experience

    Europe: too cold this time of the year :)

    How about Belize? I found that to be affordable, warm, and laid back.
     
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  6. domdigs

    domdigs Member

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    Thanks for helping me shortlist my destinations. I am in SoCal so looking for similar or warmer temps. Are there any warm places in the Mediterranean right now? I am more inclined to visit Africa (Nairobi or Lagos) since I've never been to the continent.

    I've been to Belize twice. Loved Ambergris Caye, the jungles on the mainland are beautiful too. I was thinking of even just doing a solo road trip through Mexico, but if I was to do that then I would rather visit Colombia.

    Asia seems very doable, not to discount the region but a little too accessible (read too easy of a choice!)
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Lagos?! :eek:
     
  8. domdigs

    domdigs Member

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    Just Africa's largest city! It's like the NYC of Africa! :p

    Any experience in India?

    My new list:

    Central Africa, Nairobi or Lagos?
    Indonesia, island hopping.
    India, but which cities in 10 days?
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  9. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    IIRC India requires advance visas for USA citizens. This requires some time, but if you're willing and able to go to the consulate in person and wait in line, you can sometimes save a day or two.

    As of a few years ago, a visa could be purchased upon arrival into Bali. This might not be true for all airports in Indonesia, so check.
     
  10. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    All of SE Asia is having 90-degree F weather now and pretty much all year around. A visa for US citizens is either not required (Singapore; Thailand), or readily obtained on short order online (Cambodia, Vietnam) or on arrival (Indonesia, including Bali). One thing to consider is that you may incur a fee, at least with United, for booking your award travel less 21 days before travel date unless one has top elite status. The fee should be manageable, however, since you'd be saving a bundle in hard cash by redeeming, but time is ticking away so you'd better get right on it!
     
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  11. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Note that I made the word "Lagos" a link to the State Department site with travel warnings for Nigeria. Doesn't read like a place I would be interested in visiting. There are threads on Flyertalk where people talk about their experiences just connecting through Lagos airport. The world is a big place, and I won't run out of safe and interesting places in my lifetime, so Lagos isn't on my personal travel to do list.

    I've been to India four or five times. Delhi, Agra, Hyderabad, and Bangalore. The latter two cities for business. It's an interesting country to visit, and it's big and diverse, so recommendations depend on what you actually are interested in doing/seeing.

    Do your 10 days include travel time? It's taken me about 20 hrs flying time to get to India (and 20 hrs to get back), from SFO via FRA. There are other routes, but no real shortcuts and you may be limited in your choices when booking with miles. Africa and Indonesia aren't exactly close either. Figure that into your plans.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  12. dstober

    dstober Gold Member

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    Siem Reap in Cambodia is a place I would go again in a heart beat, solo or with others. Vietnam is also pretty easy.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
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  13. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    No doubt both are great places. I did do Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, as part of my 2012 Year-end Asian Escapade(tm), and will be doing Siem Reap, Cambodia, as part of my 2013 Year-end Escapade(tm).
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
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  14. dstober

    dstober Gold Member

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    @NYCUA1K, I enjoyed Ho Chi Minh city and a trip up the Da Nang. Great food, friendly people, interesting history to see, awesome markets. I loved Cambodia. Spent time in Siem Reap (Angkor Wat is amazing, but make sure to go to Banteay Srei, one my favorite temple areas, very small, but very special) and Phnom Penh. Enjoy! Only a little jealous… :)
     
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  15. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I am afraid I will not have the time to do Phnom Penh, but I intend to spend my 4 days in Siem Reap very productively and leave no ancient stone unturned. I was in Ho Chi Minh City on New Year's eve last year and it was simply amazing the number of people who hit to the streets on their motorbikes! Speaking of great food, I had a terrible flu-like illness on that New Year's eve and I remember ordering a seafood soup that made me literally sweat it out of my system, allowing me to join the party!
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
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  16. dstober

    dstober Gold Member

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    The spicy foods in SE Asia I'm sure have some healing properties. Certainly plenty of science to back up antibiotic properties of things like chicken soup and analgesic properties of capsaicin…but there's just something about pho and similar soups that seem to crank up the immune system too. I'd volunteer for some good evidence-based research! :D
    So much to see in Siem Reap. Don't know where you're staying, but the grounds of the Raffles Hotel are worth some wandering and the spa is sooooo worth a massage. Ahhhhh...
     
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  17. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I can certainly attest to the healing properties of some spicy SE or even N Asian foods, which I am fully into. I will be staying at the spanking new Park Hyatt Siem Reap, courtesy of 2 free nights and suite upgrades received as a sign up bonus for the Chase Hyatt visa! ;)
     
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  18. StevenGerrard

    StevenGerrard Silver Member

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    Philippines, Colombia, Taiwan and Thailand will be best to visit and this are not too much expensive.
     
  19. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    I don't know much about the asian destinations on your list, so I'll leave that to others. Kenya I'd avoid as a solo traveler, and I'd avoid Colombia without a local contact. You mention Africa: a trip to Tanzania could be interesting, particularly on the safari circuit. When I did it, I flew via Europe both ways -- if you prefer, you can spend a few days in Europe en route to adjust to the timezone. I also did it using local contacts (family of friends of friends of....), which is how business really gets done there, though you can hook up with larger commercial vendors, too. Downsides to Tanzania: limited air service. Back then KLM, BA, and Swiss were the primary choices; it probably hasn't changed, and you likely don't have enough miles to use the same carrier RT, though you could perhaps split the tickets (one RT to Europe, one from there to Tanzania). I found the mainland Tanzanian people to be warm, friendly, and welcoming (Zanzibar was a different story), though one could easily feel unsafe in the cities. On the safari circuit itself, you'll be fine.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
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  20. LAM

    LAM Silver Member

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    India would be interesting. I was there for two months in 2010 for work. You could do Delhi for a few days and then do the golden triangle. I would suggest hiring a tour guide and driver while you are there.

    India is starting a Visa on arrival program but I don't know if US citizens are allowed to participate yet.
     
  21. ffitalia

    ffitalia Silver Member

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    If you want go to Africa, go to Egypt (Cairo, Luxor and pyramids are great) and Red Sea (for coral reef.. Marsa Alam or better Berenice)....
    But only for 10 days... take the car and go to Cabo Pulmo in baja california (by way of Guerrero Negro if you want to see and touch the whales) :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
  22. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Seems OP hasn't been back (at least while logged in) since the day the first message was posted (12/3).
     
  23. domdigs

    domdigs Member

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    Thanks for all the great advice! It's nice to hear of your experiences in these developing countries. However, now it seems like my list has gotten much longer. I ended up staying put part due to guilt of not bringing gf along and leaving dogs at home and part because of my indecisiveness with so many options. On another note, I may have more time off work and will take all these destinations into consideration.
     

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