Getting to Asia
If you don't happen to live near a U.S. city with a foreign consulate or don't want to deal with the hassle and the wait, consider using a visa agency. These companies will handle your visa arrangements and are also a great source of information on changing visa requirements. Costs vary depending on your visa needs.
The following agencies will handle visas for the countries covered in this program:
New England Visa Services
4 Summit Road
Prospect, CT 06712
1107 Rio Grande
Austin, TX 78701
Vierer Visa Service
703 Market Street, Suite 802
San Francisco, CA 94103
Visa Services Northwest
600 Stewart Street
Plaza 600 Building, Suite 1900
Seattle, WA 98101
Worldwide Visa Corporation
3220 N Street NW, Suite 201
Washington, DC 20007
For more information on the specific visa requirements for the countries we cover, go to the country you want and then click on the "Consulates and Visas" chapter.
TicketsFlying to Asia doesn't have to cost a fortune. It pays to shop around - checking several travel options can you save up to 50 percent off the price of a normal ticket.
Instead of using a regular travel agent, plan at least three months ahead and book a flight through a discounter handling flights between the United States or Canada and Asia.
A variety of fares are available, so familiarize yourself with all the options before making a purchase. Each airline has different fares and restrictions on tickets so don't limit your search for the perfect ticket to just one carrier. Some fares are as low as $600 from the West Coast and $1,000 from the East Coast.
Unrestricted Economy-Class Tickets
If you want maximum flexibility and are not worried about price, look into unrestricted economy-class tickets.
These tickets will allow you to change dates or destinations, and are valid for up to one year.
On a budget and fairly organized? Look into an Apex ticket. There are restrictions, but if you're sure about your dates and destinations when you make your reservations, you'll save a lot of money. Changes made at a later date may have penalties, depending on the type of ticket you purchased and the airline. In some cases, there is a small charge for date changes, but tickets can also be wholly nonrefundable.
Circle Pacific Tickets
If you're interested in visiting several Asian countries, as well as the South Pacific (e.g., Australia), look into the Circle Pacific ticket. This option is great if you plan to cover a lot of territory in a limited amount of time; however, if your travel is limited primarily to Asia, purchasing other tickets may be more economical.
If you plan to travel around the world, a Round-the-World ticket is probably your most economical option. As long as your travel continues in the same direction, you are allowed to make unlimited stops using a combination of airlines for a set price. As with the Apex tickets you must have your dates of travel and destinations decided on when you make your reservations.
For a low-cost way to get to Asia, consider flying as an air courier. As a courier, you are hired by the courier service to accompany packages to an overseas destination. Courier companies need people to accompany the packages because luggage is not allowed to go unattended on overseas passenger flights. The courier service simply purchases a seat and sells it cheap in exchange for luggage space. This is completely legal and in most cases you never have to touch the luggage. You'll need your luggage space for a stay of a year or more, so you'll have to pay the extra luggage charge. In most cases, the total price will still work out to be far less than a regular ticket. To be eligible, you must be over eighteen.
More resources: Airline Ticket Consolidators and discount agencies.