My trip via Asia to Australia to visit my family this month is coming up. I am now in the hotel planning stages of my trip. I will be staying with family in Australia, but I need to book hotels in Asia.

Cheap air tickets, check. Bizarre itinerary, check. Not a lot of cash to splash, check. Have passport will travel, check. A dash of courage, check. Overweight luggage, heck yes, check.

So here is my air itinerary:

China Southern Airlines: LAX-SIN-HKT-LAX = USD$560

Tiger Airways: SIN-LGK= USD $48 (including luggage fee)

Malaysia Airlines: LGK-KUL-ADL = USD $210

Jetstar: ADL-DPS= USD $98 (including luggage fee)

Tiger Airways: DPS-SIN-HKT = USD $58 (including luggage fee)

Translated, to decode airport codes: I am flying from Los Angeles, USA, via Guangzhou, China, to Singapore, then from Singapore to Langkawi, Malaysia. Then after a weekend on Langkawi, flying from Langkawi to Adelaide, Australia, via Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

My return legs are: Adelaide, Australia to Bali, Indonesia, Bali to Singapore, Singapore to Phuket, Thailand, and Phuket to Los Angeles, US, via Guangzhou, China.

Total fares, all tickets: USD $974. All up, all taxes, two nights hotel and prepaid luggage on Jetstar and Tiger Airways. I refuse to pay for seat assignments on the latter two budget airlines, stick me where you want. Good to know: China Southern Airlines from the US allow TWO pieces of checked luggage under 50 pounds per piece, in the economy, without cost. They also fly one of the youngest fleets in the sky, with above average legroom of 32″ on transpacific equipment. Stand by for reports after departure on how China Southern is, in the back of the plane. I am packing a dash of courage, I believe that was listed above. #NoMiddleSeatPlease

China Southern Airlines LAX to Guangzhou (Canton), with a layover for 13+ hours and a freebie hotel, is a lucky dip: what you get, is what you get, provided by China Southern. No Chinese visa required, ticket allows 72-hour transit visa, without charge or importantly, the hassles of applying for a visa.

Return leg on China Southern from Phuket to LAX via Guangzhou has a 15-hour stopover, hotel again provided free of charge by China Southern. Same potluck on the level of hotel and proximity to the airport. #FingersCrossed

To kick off my trip, it will the cheap seats on China Southern economy from LAX to Singapore, via Guangzhou. Then after a layover, a morning flight from Guangzhou to Singapore after a night in the complimentary hotel, landing lunchtime, then Tiger Airways from Singapore to Langkawi, late afternoon.

Two days travel, one night of complimentary hotel to rest in the People’s Republic of China is better in my book than landing in Singapore gone midnight local time on other flights to Singapore via Narita or Seoul, which requires a hotel paid for the previous day. I was counting $ when I booked this trip. #BudgetMatters

Langkawi is a picture perfect island off the coast of Malaysia. Where should I stay? Having written about Langkawi for the first time probably some 20+ years ago, I have never actually been there. #TruthInTravel

Some of the properties/hotels I have worked with are still thriving. But as I recently found out, making a simple hotel choice is not a simple proposition. With the advent of internet consumer reviews and the myriad of hotel booking platforms, monopolized by a few companies, often flashing advisories that “this is our last room,” choosing the right hotel, at the right price, not to mention room, can be a crapshoot. But it need not be. #PlanThoroughly

More to come, I want to share how I am sussing out where to stay, what room type and why. Please do stay with me through the planning, my departure is fast coming up. I hope you will travel with me.

Traveling on the fly has never been cheaper, most especially if one is fortunate with seasons, currency exchange rates and that often cruel beast, yield management.

What is your most bonkers itinerary, best air deal or killer hotel you got on the cheap?

#TakeTheLongWayHome #HavePassportWillTravel