Sunday, March 1, 2009

Open Up Your Mind and See Like Me

noun: a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principals, etc., by reciprocal modifications of demands.

Planning a vacation for two for 1-2 weeks is fairly easy. You both decide on the destination together, check the prices and book it if the prices are within your budget. Done.
Online travel companies such as Orbitz and Travelocity make it easier for the traveler to book their flight, hotel and car during one online trip. However, trying to book a trip for 2+ months to SEA requires extensive reading, a lot of online research, an experienced travel agent, and if you are going with a significant other or friend, COMPROMISE.

As the definition states, compromise must be met with an agreement between the parties involved. This has not come easy for Jason and I. Since I have already spent time in Thailand I have a good idea of what I want to do when we get there. I want to spend most our of time on the islands, I made a list of restaurants I want to visit, and how many $10 massages per day I will need. Since Jason has never been there, he has buried himself in the independent traveler website arena such as Travelfish, Lonelyplanet, and Tripadvisor. He diligently peruses the forum/chat room sections, as if reading the NY Times Weekender, and reacts vociferously to the posts with ‘ahhh’, ‘huh’, ‘interesting’. At some point, he pops his head up from the computer and lets me know that ‘RaverRoger’ and ‘JBird’ just wrote an interesting post on Thai toilets and something called a ‘bum gun’ (I’m not going there). He feels that reading these will help us while planning our trip and to some extent I disagree. Everyone has their own unique experiences and goals for their trip. I have a feeling ours is going to be a bit different from RaverRoger’s.

So the dance begins…
Scenario 1: He sends me several shady backpacker efficiencies in Laos and I send him a link to a beautiful resort, Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel, that only costs $220 per night.
Compromise: We decide on a clean, mom & pop owned bungalow that is within our budget.

Scenario 2: He sends me the link discussing the slow boat that takes you up the Mekong River for $20. Apparently the boat seats 40 but they usually pack in over 100. The boat ride takes 2 days and, if you are lucky, you can snag one of the luxurious wooden benches to sit on.

I send him a link of a cruise company that takes you up the Mekong in style. With only 20 passengers allowed and includes food and beverage service this cruise seems to be more my style and it only costs $267 .

We find a boat for $128 that has all of the amenities of the cruise but takes a bit longer.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. I will say this has helped us understand each other a little better and when I can make him happy, I’m happy.

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