Money, Money, Money: How Much to Take Abroad?

Alongside the many little tasks that need doing this weekend, one main question needs answering:

How much money should I take with me to Bali?

As always, my first stop was Google.  I literally typed that in and waited for my laptop to load the answers.  And, well, there were a lot.

I suppose the main problem with asking that sort of question is that there are just far too many variables.  People like to do different things, to eat at different places, to buy different souvenirs.  Every couple will spend a different amount across a two or three week period.

The first search result was a forum.  Someone had asked my exact question.  And the first answer had replied: “At a minimum, $100-150 per person per day.”  My jaw is still on the floor.  PER PERSON PER DAY??

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My Birthday Weekend in Verona

Having just celebrated my birthday this year, I was encouraged to look back on the photos from the surprise birthday trip I received in 2012.  An amazing trip to Verona. Three fantastic days in an absolutely incredible (and highly recommended) Italian city.

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This trip solidified my already strong belief that Italy is the best European country for weekend breaks.  Why?  Well, how about a list:

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Four Fabulous Days in Cambodia

I think most people would probably agree that four days isn’t much for a country like Cambodia.  And the truth is, it isn’t.  But we managed to achieve quite a lot in such a little time.  That said, both of us are itching to return and to venture beyond Angkor Wat and Siem Reap.

Friday 8th June 2012

We arrived in Siem Reap in the evening and hopped straight into a taxi to head to the hotel.  Driving along, we were both immediately overcome by a sense of relaxation.  Cambodia was absolutely nothing like Vietnam.  Hanoi had been so busy, with so many people.  Siem Reap was quiet and peaceful (at least in the evening!).  In addition, there are so many insects and animals.  Throughout our four day stay in Cambodia, we saw numerous geckos, frogs, cockroaches, lizards, and an array of flying insects.

Arriving at our hotel, we had a quick meal before heading off to bed.

Saturday 9th June 2012

At 9am, we headed off to Angkor Thom.  We received a blessing from monk and were given little string bracelets.  Mine fell off within a few weeks whereas Mal is still wearing his, nearly a year later!  We wandered around for about two hours, before heading off to a second temple, Ta Prohm.  I was getting a bit sweaty and warm at the point so I was glad to discover that Ta Prohm was so much smaller than Angkor Thom!

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Time Flies Whether or Not You’re Having Fun

In January, I booked my trip to Bali.

January.  That was months ago.  And then, all of sudden, April has happened and it is May.  May.  The month in which I go to Bali.

The last few months have been really busy: some of it good, some of it not so.  I’ve done a lot of work towards my degree.  I’ve written my dissertation, I’ve written an 8000 word essay worth 17.5% of my degree and I’m currently getting to grips with a 6000 word essay worth 15% of my degree.  And I’m not going to lie.  It’s making me miserable.  It’s not so much the essays themselves, it’s the fear of them being rubbish.  These last three pieces of work have been worth a lot of marks.  It’s scary.  The essays I did in second year seems to be worth under 3% each, so the pressure for these final few is full on.

But there has been a lot of fun in the last three months as well.  I’ve eaten at a lot of lovely places, celebrated birthdays including my own and those of friends and family, been on a wonderful trip to St Petersburg.

And then, in less than three weeks, Bali.

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Seven Girls in Greece

On family holidays, we have always stayed in nice places.  Often large villas, sometimes hotels.

And I must admit, I do like staying in nice places.  I mean, I really like staying in nice places.  But it wasn’t until I went to Greece with a group of girl friends that I realised that accommodation simply isn’t the most important thing.  Good trips aren’t dependent on where you stay.  What matters is where you go and who you go with.

At the end of July 2011, at about 10pm one evening, six friends and I boarded a flight from Heathrow to Athens.  I think we landed in Athens at about 4am.  We gathered our luggage and searched for a bus that would take us to the port.

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Halong Bay is My Favourite Place in the World

Well, for now.

It was, without a doubt, a must-see place for me.  It’s somewhere I had researched and researched.  I had looked at hundreds of pictures, read hundreds of blogs, I’d even dreamt about the place.  So, when I visited, it felt extra special.

Tuesday 5th June 2012

After breakfast in Hanoi, we joined a coach full of others and set off for Halong Bay.  Unable to sit next to each other, I spent the journey sleeping and listening to the Regina Spektor album I had just downloaded.  Now, every time I listen to that album, I relive the excitement of that journey.

Following a brief stop, we arrived at the port.  We were offered a strange looking (and strange tasting tea) and settled down to play cards for about twenty minutes.

Later, on the boat, we were treated to an amazing buffet lunch.  Not one for seafood, I accepted that I’d have to be experimental and made a conscious effort to try everything.

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An International Driving License-Related Meltdown

At the weekend, I decided it was time to GET ORGANISED.

I think I’ve been over-embracing the new not-a-control-freak-anymore version of myself.  By which I mean, I booked flights for Bali, then I booked accommodation and then I did nothing.

I knew that I would need to sort out an international driving license but, busy with essays, the thought wandered off to the back of my mind.  Until last week.  When I had a mini meltdown, thinking I’d left it too late and that there was no chance I could possibly get it sorted in time and that we’d have to change all of the plans because I had been too disorganised to sort out driving licenses.

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