I have been busy planning for my graduation trip which is going to take place in about 5 weeks time! So far, I have bought 3 flight tickets. My start point is Beijing and my end point is Stockholm, a total of 6704km. These are the flight tickets that I have bought so far (sunken costs).
Singapore -> Tianjin $180 on Scoot
Vilnius -> Oslo €15 on Ryanair
Oslo -> Tromso domestic flight (€90)
Tromsø -> Oslo domestic flight (€90)
Stockholm -> Singapore via London and Hong Kong $500 on Cathay Pacific
I really love the flexibility of planning my own trip. I decided to fly within Norway because if I book now, the air tickets are still affordable and the flight is 2 hours, so if I were to travel by bus it would take me more than 12 hours. Considering that time is precious, I would rather fly and use the extra time to do more sightseeing. The Vilnius to Oslo flight was a steal because I remembered when I checked the cost of the ticket one week ago, it was €30 which is considered cheap, but then this week it was €15, so I quickly bought it. However, when buying air tickets, it is important to note the extra costs incurred when traveling between the airport and the city centre. I like countries where the metro goes directly to the airport, for example Singapore, Lisbon, Porto, Barcelona. So we do not have to pay a hefty fee to take the local train or bus from the airport to the city centre. It can be quite expensive to take the local train in Paris (from CDG airport to town) and in Tokyo (from Narita to the city). Otherwise, my second option is to take overnight buses to travel between cities. This will allow me to save on accommodation and on some VIP buses in the region, it is much more spacious and comfortable than taking budget airlines. The only drawback is that the bus journey is very long and may be bumpy if the roads are not well-paved.
Back to the topic of my graduation trip, I have plotted out the main cities that I will be going to. It is a mix of the Trans-siberian, the ancient Silk Road through Central Asia and a little of Scandinavia. Instead of taking the touristy Trans-siberian train from Beijing to Moscow, I came up with my own itinerary so that I can include Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in my journey. Furthermore, the touristy train is more more expensive and you can’t alight along the way, so it means that you would be stuck on the train for 6 days straight as it travels from Beijing to Moscow. One thing to note is that the Trans-siberian is not an official train, it is merely the name given for the route from Vladivostock to Moscow, while the part that passes through Mongolia is known as the Trans-Mongolian. I need to complete my Baltic states tour – Latvia and Lithuania, as the previous time I only managed to cover Estonia. As for Norway, it is the last remaining country of Scandinavia yet to be visited by me as it is really expensive. However, this time I have made new friends who would be able to host me, so it is possible to stick with my budget while traveling through Norway.
I hope that I have enough time to complete this route in seven weeks, because I need to be able to make it to Stockholm to catch my flight back to Singapore. If I am short for time, I may plan to skip some cities and move on to the next destination. This is the flexibility of my travels; I don’t like to plan everything out to the smallest details, rather it is better to go with the flow. Sometimes, you like a certain place so much that you wish to stay there a few more days, so you can skip other places or spend less time in other places. The important thing is not to visit everything and tick everything off the checklist, rather it is to enjoy the essence of travel and enjoy the surroundings, the time spent being in a foreign land.
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