Frost was just starting to appear on the grass as I returned to the UK after about seven months on Lanzarote.
My mate LE was immediately keen to proceed with plans for a far eastern tour via the Trans-Mongolian Railway and made arrangements for us to meet with Trailfinders in Canterbury.
The sales guy Stephen was very helpful as he went through an itinerary taking us through Russia (Moscow, Irkutsk, Listvyanka) Mongolia Ulaanbaatar), Hong Kong and Thailand (Bangkok, Phuket and Ko Tao). Occasionally he would say, “I have been here” or “there” and suggest for us to take one off excursions, all was very encouraging.
Finally he turned to us and said “Well, I think we have done really well here since the flight alone would cost you a few thousand each and the price here for you both is £7,377”.
I confess, I nearly fell off my chair.
I asked how long we had to consider it, and he said he could hold some of the prices open for 2 days, when it would all need to be paid in full.
We left the shop more than a little conflicted, excited that we now had a clear itinerary but a little disheartened by the price.
Since we were given a copy of the itinerary, the following day I proceeded to undertake searches on the internet to see what comparative prices I could find.
You will not be surprised to read that with a little patience we have been able to chop just under 30% off the bill without compromising the integrity of the trip, whilst booking half decent hotels (only time will tell here) and getting a few more sights in along the way.
As it stands, it looks like Christmas will be spent just outside Moscow and New Year will be on a train in the middle of nowhere, just outside of Ulaanbaatar.