Here We Go – Phase 3!

We are heading to Asia, Australia and New Zealand for Phase 3. As with Phase 1 we want to follow summer and ideally with the same rules about not backtracking. Unfortunately since so many of our desired destinations (Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia) require flying, this turns out to be more challenging. South East Asia also has monsoon and very hot seasons we want to avoid as much as possible.

When it came to actually booking flights, we knew we would be leaving the US on roughly August 15th, so we looked up “best places to visit in Asia in August”. Our search returned Bali and Singapore, so we made those our first destinations. Bali won the honor of being first because we were able to book flights there from Rochester, MN, using Delta points for only $14.20 per ticket. To go all the way to Asia!!

We have a few other anchor points we are working around: 

  • two dear friends will be in Japan in early to mid-October and we’d like to cross paths with them there 
  • Jess’s family is traveling to New Zealand in November and we are going to meet up with them for two weeks. 

Solving for the most efficient route that hits those anchors, we ended up with the following approximate plan: 

  • Bali
  • Singapore 
  • Vietnam
  • China
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Australia 
Our approximate plan for Phase 3

We had to abandon South Korea because our Japan constraint meant we could only go there after Japan. Getting from Beijing to Japan requires a stop in South Korea, and getting from South Korea to New Zealand requires a stop in Japan such that we would have spent a lot of time and money bouncing back and forth between the two countries, which didn’t really make a lot of sense. This also frees up more time to spend in each of Vietnam, China and Japan. We’ll have almost a month in each country! 

The China portion is technically still up in the air since we need a visa, but we plan to try to apply for one when we get to Vietnam. Fingers crossed it works. 

Phase 3 almost got delayed slightly because Jess’s new passport application got held up for having an old photo. We had submitted our applications in early July with a full six weeks before our departure date. Eric’s passport came in four weeks. Jess received a letter 11 days before our departure requesting a new photo because the one she had submitted was too old. The requirements said the photo had to have been taking within the last six months and Jess’s was six and a half months old. They could tell it was too old because it matched the passport she applied for in a rush before we left for South America. This resulted in a panic-filled week at Izatys rushing off to get new photos, expediting the application, and calling the application office multiple times to make sure they were going to process it and get it in the mail in time. We had verified we could make changes to our Bali flights up to 72 hours in advance, so we were prepared to move the flight by a day or two if it got close. In the end, the passport arrived yesterday (two days before we are scheduled to depart) and we are ready. 

Stay tuned for more of our adventures from the road.

2 Replies to “Here We Go – Phase 3!”

  1. So many Delta points! That’s awesome! Good luck on Phase Three. I especially can’t wait to hear about Vietnam! Will you be near Tam Ky?

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