With the world changing around us (thanks COVID), we should have known that the path to Thailand would have been a little more difficult than we thought. (Skip to final departure date if you just want to hear some tips of preparing.)
First departure date: July 26
Being a teacher, school ended in May, so I had plenty of time to get everything sorted out before heading off to Thailand. My husband and I had it all figured out, or so we thought. Our lease ended on July 15 and we were planning to spend a few days with family and then fly out, easy right?
New departure date: August 30
Shortly after our plans were made, an email arrives postponing our departure for at least a month. Shock and fear were the first emotions we felt. What were we going to do? We had quit our jobs, moved out of our home, and now had to figure out what to do for at least a month. AHH! What if this doesn't end up working out? We had put all our eggs in one basket and there was no other plan, Thailand was it, it had to work out!
Final departure date: September 4
We received one final email in relation to departure, September 4th was the day, we were able to book flights! Now let me back up a minute... while all of this was going on we were also in the process of getting our visas (my husband's process went very quickly, mine took forever, so if this happens to you just keep contacting the post office is our advice), filling out new paperwork, submitting documents, etc. At some points it could feel very overwhelming but trust me when I say it is/was all worth it, just be diligent and keep up with what they ask you for. Once we had everything ready for our flights, it was time to pack/prepare for takeoff. Preparing for takeoff during COVID times meant that within 72 hours of takeoff we had to get a negative test result for COVID (we had to do a self-nasal swab, that was not very pleasant), go visit the doctor to have a fit to fly completed, complete the pre departure course, begin orientation on Zoom, and have ALL of the documents printed and ready to show at the airport. Tip #1: Make sure you stay very organized with your paperwork for the airport, it made the process a whole lot smoother! When it comes to packing, everywhere I read said that less is more, and we definitely tried for that approach; however, it did not work so well for us. We ended up traveling with 6 luggages, while one member of our teaching group only brought 2 backpacks. Tip #2: When it comes to packing, make sure YOU feel comfortable with what you bring! Everyone is different! Tip #3: Don't bring small bathroom electronics (like hair dryers, curling irons, beard trimmers, etc.) the voltage in Thailand is different from the US, and even with a converter it can get fried. Do pack some snacks, they have come in very handy on the plane and during quarantine so far!
Overall the process of preparing during COVID times had the potential to bring on A LOT of stress, but try to surround yourself with others who can keep you calm and help you out, and remember to be flexible! This will come in handy during preparation, as well as when you arrive in Thailand, as things can change very quickly.
Until next time: keep life simple, travel, and be kind!