To your practical questions:
1. Do you pack for one week and wash clothes in between?
Yes, essentially I only bring enough socks and undies for a week so whenever I have 2 nights in one hotel then the 1st night becomes a wash time in the sink or tub. Some hotels have cheap laundry prices, sometimes a machine is available, many B&B's will do laundry complimentary, and places like Thailand have inexpensive laundry shops with quick turnaround.
2. Do you prefer stops to stretch your legs when you fly or long flight times in the air?
I try to limit a flight time to 7 hours unless it is business class which we try to use our points for (Star Alliance) . Economy for Asia from NYC is tough, better get up and walk the plane, stretch a bit. Premium economy is worth looking at for long flights. One thing for sure after 14 hours in economy I want to be sure of a hotel at the other end !
3. Is there a preferred airline for Bangkok? I see China Air is about $500 cheaper than the rest (NYC to BKK.) Do you think that is based on plane comfort amenities or flight departure and arrival times e.g. 2am!! I assume safety is a given.
This may be a good question for the airline forum and the many informed people there.
I do have my preferred airlines but usually have to take what my points give me for business class. Higher cost though does not equal better service or comfort in my experience, usually good prices come from competition on popular routes such as NYC to BKK. I have been on some amazingly cheap flights and the comfort and service was great (the now defunct Oasis Air from London to Hong Kong). Some airlines just have lower costs. Do You mean Air China ? or China Airlines, they are not the same. Departure and arrival times maybe. Safety, no they are not all equal, some have very bad records - probably there are some good web sites to check this. As for seat comfort I like Seat Guru .com and to compare prices I always use Kayak.com. You may want to consider other gateway cities in Asia because flights in the region are quite cheap with airlines such as Air Asia. Hope this helps.
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