Nov 21st – China Trip Day 1 – Preparing to Leave :)

Nov 21, 2018

I am taking my iPad with me on the trip to journal. I created these planner notebooks for the iPad and they work so well for journaling because you have everything you need right there inside the iPad. Love 🙂

Check them out in my Etsy Shop ;:)

Today is finally here. I swear I am so excited. Over the last couple years we have grown to be more and more comfortable with our travels but this last 12 months, 2017 – 2018 will go down in history as the year of amazing adventures for sure.

We started out last February with a trip to Venice for Carnival. We made our costumes and got to travel there and spend a couple weeks enjoying the most amazing city.

Then we took Mikey with us and took a trip to London where we got to see Stonehenge and many other awesome sites. We went on to a cruise of the Mediterranean with stops in Croatia, Greece, Montenegro and Dubrovnik and Olympia Greece.

Bill and I then took a trip in February to Paris where we got to spend the most amazing time in the city that we love so much.

We visited Egypt and saw the pyramids and now we are headed to the number one thing on our life bucket list. THE GREAT WALL of China !!!

No year can ever top that. But we sure are gonna try !!!

My aunt is staying with Mikey at our house so we are excited by the fact that he will be at home and safe and we wont have to worry about the house or him.

People keep asking me if I used a travel agent to plan the adventure. I did not. I love the planning. I love sitting down at my computer with the map and google and searching the world over for the next location. Once I get that down, I start looking for things that are in the same general area that we might not plan an entire trip around that we want to grab seeing while we are in the area. In this case, the next thing on the bucket list was Angkor Wat, Cambodia so we added it to this trip. There are not a lot of things in China that we think we will want to go on a return visit for so we were trying to make sure that we saw all the major things in the country on this trip. That made it grow in size to something that boggles my mind, LOL. When we started it was a week and a half. Now its 20 days. That is the longest time I have ever spent away from my child so that part sucks but the things we will see will be amazing and I swear I begged him to go with us.

The flights over to China will take us about 24 hours to complete. We leave Charleston WV on Nov 21 at 2:00am (the night of the 21st and morning of the 22nd) and we land in China the next day, Thursday at 5pm. Once we get on our last flight in the US we fly from Detroit to China directly and are in the air for something like 12 hours on that leg. Heck, Maybe even more. The time changes a lot while we fly on this one so it’s a bit confusing.

We have decided that someday, maybe we will go back to China and stay in a hotel for 6 months or a year. Maybe, someday. We are getting a little old so maybe is a big word 🙂

A funny story about us, when we were dating we went to Florida on our first trip together and we traveled so badly together that we broke up on the plane headed home. We just didn’t enjoy each other at all on the trip. I remember thinking that I would never travel anyplace else with this man. LOL

Now, He is my very best friend on earth and my travel buddy for life. I say all the time that I am the luckiest girl in the world and I promise you I am. We travel so well together now, it is so smooth that we plan the trips ourselves because we enjoy the planning part almost as much as we enjoy actually going.

I’m not saying that everything always goes perfect. It doesn’t. Every trip has things that goes wrong and we find that we missed something because of the thing that we didn’t know. But we have learnt to deal with those things really well together and those things usually become such fun stories to tell that it becomes worth the madness at the time.

Anyway, we are excited and cant wait to get on the plane. On this trip we are planning to take more video than we usually do on trips. We keep promising ourselves that we will do more filming. Fingers crossed that we keep our promise on this trip. Either way, we will take lots of photos and post them here each day of the adventures in China.

Thanks for reading about our trip and sharing in our excitement.

Bill & Wendy Richardson


As promised to a dozen people I am putting the cost of the trip at the bottom of each days posts so we can tally up what it would cost to do the trip for those of you who want to copy our trip itinerary to build your own trip.

The flights over to China and from Beijing to Changsha and the flight to Shanghai and the hotel in Beijing and Gillin we figured out and then booked all together at the same time with a company online that I love. I have used them to book some part of every trip I have taken out of the US. I love them because they have the easiest website and no matter how many times I use cheap airlines it always ends up being close enough to the same price that I like to use them for the convenience of knowing my flights will all end up booked so that I can catch the connections.

They are and they offer great package deals on trips if you like to just book a trip that they have put together.

You can use their website to build a trip to as many destinations as you want and change them around so that you figure out what you can afford and when the best time to go is.

I do all the other things by using Google earth and the internet to determine where we will go within a particular location.

I create a map of our trip using Google maps and make a location pin for each place we want to see. Then I can look at that and determine what needs to go on a day together with the other things that are close together. This let’s me plan to see as much as possible each day.

I am exceptionally driven when planning. I literally have more hours in planning this trip than the trip is long.

I research every detail of where we will go. I use the internet and YouTube and I study TripAdvisor and find people that have previously gone where I want to go and build my plans from their mistakes.

I am over prepared in every way when I leave my house. And things always go wrong at some point during the trip. But because I always have a backup plan figured out, we get thru it.

If we are flying someplace, I always know the other possible ways to get there. If we are taking a train, I always know the buses that will get us there.

In this case, I have cards that I wrote in Chinese the things I may need to ask a person at every single step of the way. Is this the train to Guillin or is this the stop for Fenghuang, etc etc.

You can’t trust the phone when out of the country. You may not have service. Sometimes we are ok. Those times we use it happily. But I sleep better knowing I have everything printed and ready if I need it.

Ok back to the money….

The flights over and back and three hotel stays with insurance cost $2860.00. That doesnt sound horrible yet, right. Well it got way worse fast.

The Cambodian Visa was about $36.00.

The Visa for China was exceptionally stressful because you had to either go to Washington DC to get it or pay a company to go on your behalf. We opted for the company. Travisa is the company we used and I did a full post on that. The Visa ended up costing us about $771.52

We pre booked as much as possible and each day I will put the cost of everything we do that day on the post so you can get an idea of what it costs to travel to China.

Now, let’s get some sleep because tomorrow we are going to China !!!!

Author: whatwendysaid