My would-be failed attempt at China

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For the last month I have been planning a short vacation to China. Really it’s just a pared down 5 days in Beijing for Golden week. A national weeklong holiday in Japan.

I initially looked up some tours online. And found one that I thought was the apple of my eye. The price was within my range, the tour was a dream list. However, traveling alone was just too expensive. So, I invited a coworker, and I feel that’s where things might have gone kaboom. It’s not the inclusion of this specific person, she’s awesome, it’s the inclusion of ANY other person. You then have so much more to take into consideration. For instance, if I travel by myself, it’s easy to go through an American company, if I travel with a Japanese citizen and we’re both in Japan, it makes more sense to go with a Japanese agency. Do we do adventurous independent travel, lobe rangers in the wild on our own, or pricier tour guide, or cheesy tour group. Do we get an English tour or Japanese tour, either way, we will both be translating sometime for the other.

And then there’s the price disparity. The basic trip price is the same, 1,400 with airfare, hotel and tour guide. But add to that tourist visa for China, $130. Re-entry visa for Japan $80 (approximately). Plus this inexplicable other $160 that the travel agency wants to charge me just to print the documents for me to take to get my own visa. Part of me wonders if I should just book a flight and a hotel and cut down on the tour price. Would it even make a difference?

I truly want to visit China, but on a teachers salary the price is just mounting up to be more than its worth, and leaves me with one question. Exactly how much is a dream worth?

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