Planet Hiker
2004-04-01 Preparing for the trip - Los Angeles, USA

For about a month now I have been living with my family. Yeap, free stay, I get to sleep 10+ hours a day, not to mention that mom’s cooking is the best. But given all that, I have been spending 4-5 hours each day doing research/planning for the trip. Over the last few weeks there have been wild swings in the plans. By the way, I dropped the idea of traveling in the van – for now at least. Instead, I started searching for a “round-the-world” ticket. Turns out there are two major airlines networks – Star Alliance and OneWorld. My initial plan was to go to Australia, then Thailand, China, India, Europe and then back to US. But then my Mom pointed out that by the time I get to Europe, it’s going to be winter, which means short day hours and cold weather. So now I am planning to go in the reverse direction. After going through several rounds of negotiations with both of the airline networks, I came to conclusion that the “round-the-world” tickets are not for me – they impose way too many restrictions on the travel plan. So then I turned to With them I was able to plan out exactly the route that I want to take and it turned out that they are not that much more expensive that the RTW deal (about %15-20). BUT, the problem with them is that all of the tickets that you buy have set dates and changing them results in a fee… This is a big problem since I don’t know for how long I’ll be staying in any particular place. I then checked how much it would cost me to just buy one-way tickets to all of those destinations and it turned out that the price is exactly the same as that of AirTrecks! So this is where I am now – the plan is to buy one-way tickets. So for the first destination, I picked Guatemala. Why Guatemala? Well, I remembered that a friend of mine visited it a while ago. So I flipped over the world-guide book and it sounded cool – they have great mountaineering trails with live volcanoes. There are scuba diving shores, a large national park, and all sorts of Mayan ruins. So I say, what the hell, let’s start rolling – April 10th is when I go.