Failure in Travel Planning

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When travelling as we do, you soon learn that good travel planning also influence your travel economy. One of the travel cost that is hard to avoid, is the visa cost for entering into many of our favorite South-East Asian countries. We usually create our travel routes depending on how long we must stay in each country, in order to avoid any unnecessary entry costs. Therefore it is unbelievable that we could miss our departure date from Thailand.

We are sitting on the airport in Udon Thani, waiting to enter the flight to Bangkok, when we just check our passport. Big surprise when we discover that our visa expired two days ago!!!!! A quick check in our computer to see if our flight from Bangkok to Vietnam also was two days ago???? It was not, but we still couldn’t believe that we missed our departure date like that. Luckily the flight ticket was so much cheaper on our departure date compared with two days earlier, so even if we had to add a 1000baht  fine, we still made a good deal.

But how could this happens??? Normally when we are in Thailand, we have entered the country by a land crossing border, and then only get 15 days / 14 nights visa. With so short visa time we constantly count the number of days and are well aware of when we need to depart. This time, we have purchased a 60 days visa from home, so we know we had plenty of time. And at the time we start planning for our Vietnam trip we mixed up the difference in Thai visa 60 days (counting number of days) and Vietnam visa 3 months (go by calendar date).

Well, at the time we discovered our mistake it was not much we could do about it, just keep going. Arriving in Bangkok, we found out that Turkish Airline that should take us to Vietnam, did not open their check-in counter in a couple of hours, and neither did they have a baggage-drop counter. The girl in the information suggested we go to the internet café around the corner to make a on-line check-in and print the boarding pass and take our backpack with us as hand-luggage.  So we did. We have all we need for 7 months packed in each 35 litre backpack, it it not so big, but still exceeding the measurement and allowed weight for carry-on luggage. And then we have packed absolutely everything inside, as it was supposed to be checked in. At this stage, no need to start re-packing, just continue to security and see what we will not be allowed to bring.

A scissor and a knife was detected and thrown away. Of course these items was in the bottom our the back-pack, so I had to empty all to get it out. Then they were suspicious about a folded metal spoon, attached to the lid of our thermos. The rest went through without comments

  • electric tooth brush
  • multi-purpose tool
  • thermos (can they really detect what is or more important is not between the inner and outer shield?)
  • a small container with salt/pepper mix (again how could they see what kind of “white” powder this was?)
  • wine opener, model of traditional cork screw
  • a dozen of different small containers with all kind of liquid

No comment at all about size and weight of our luggage.

Next was the passport control, we did not really know how we should act, so we just stood in line as normal, and when they pressed the extra button and called for one more officer, it was just to follow him into the payment office. The girl handling the administration ensured us that we would not have any problem next time entering Thailand, but it was still embarrassing to have to pay the 1000 baht overstay fine.

Obviously even “experienced” traveler can still make beginner mistakes.

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