Everyone wants their holiday to be perfect. The time and money spent travelling are valuable particularly when you tally-in the wealth of memories you bring back. So, here’s a little professional advice on how to get the most out of a Smiling Albino trip that we’ve compiled from experience.
We’re not talking about Mom’s well-intentioned badgering to remember your passport (it needs six months validity to enter Asia, by the way), take emergency credit card help numbers, and remember to phone home, or reminders to not joke with customs officials about budgies and incendiaries. This is aimed at you, dear reader, potential guests of ours who are discerning information-gatherers, whether seasoned travellers or not.
- Let us book your hotels – It’s happened before, when a client was understandably busy rafting in northern Laos, neglected to read the fine print and failed to reconfirm a high-season reservation made by themselves at a five-star hotel only to be told while checking-in on Christmas Eve, their room had been given away. We had to scramble to find them alternative accommodation. We are familiar with each hotel’s terms and conditions, and have a team to take care of all of this. They know us, and we know them, we can even get deals and upgrades for you. Let us handle it.
- Let us take care of transportation – Once you’re committed to a Smiling Albino trip, let us take care of the regional transportation. You have booked dozens or maybe hundreds of flights before, but why risk it? We had a lovely family arrive in Chiang Mai when their bewildered guides were waiting 200 kilometers away in Chiang Rai where the family’s adventure was to begin. A simple but surprisingly not-so-uncommon error. We got to them in the end, but the family lost half a day of their precious holiday.
- Don’t overload your itinerary – We understand you want to see and do as much as possible, but sometimes on a trip, less is more. We’ve been putting together complex itineraries for over 15 years here in Southeast Asia. We know when it will take three times as long to get to a particular airport at certain times, and where google maps got the estimated travel time very wrong. We know when it’s faster to take a boat rather than a van and visa-versa. Seasons, local events, and unknowns all need to be factored into schedules. We can pace things in a tropical climate, plan a short afternoon rest rather than lose a whole day to exhaustion or heatstroke. Trust us, we’ll fit in as much as we believe is in the best interests of your traveling party.
- Venture beyond your comfort zone – Now this is a bit more subjective. Think of your best travel memories… we bet most of them were when you pushed the envelope a bit. There is a fine line between exciting adventures and overdoing things. Our local knowledge and insight is key to distinguishing between the two. Go ahead and eat those roasted beetles, but let us point out the clean street food stalls from the ones only local stomachs can handle. We’ll make you cycle a few kilometers further to see a memorable hidden temple most don’t know where it is. Break from your home routines, take in a sunrise, kayak down a river, ride through Saigon on the back of a scooter, and always try eating something new! Memorable adventures await outside your comfort zone.
- Last, but definitely not least: Attitude – This one’s up to you. An open-minded and positive attitude goes a long way to enjoying a trip. Free your mind of expectations, and enjoy new experiences. Stuff happens, like bad weather, delays, jetlag. Instead of dwelling on misfortunes, find opportunities. Some of the best times can be found during unplanned events. Like when our van got a flat tire 80 kilometers from Yangon and the entire village came out to entertain and feed us while the driver changed to the spare. Best tea leaf salad ever! Always keep in mind: smiles attract smiles. Multiply that ten-fold in Southeast Asia.
We don’t mean to be patronising or think people are incapable of tying their own shoelaces, but mistakes and misunderstandings do happen, particularly when planning complicated multiple-destination trips in a region you’re not familiar with. The solution to these issues, we’re sure you’ve already guessed, is get us to handle them. You’ll be surprised, we’re often able to save you money as well as all the time and hassles. Relax, sit back and enjoy your trip, enquire with us here.