Like many people, I dreamed of visiting Thailand. Romanticised about island hopping, white sandy beaches, and crystal clear water. Thailand is big and if you only have limited time you are going to need to do some planning to help you make the most of your time there. So to help you out here is my guide to help you plan a trip to Thailand.
In this post I’m going to cover :
- Why Thailand
- When to book your flights
- My favorite planning tools
- Planning travel within Thailand
- How to budget
Why Thailand is Great for Female Travelers
Thailand is the perfect place for anyone with little to no backpacking experience who wants to cut their teeth on the whole budget travel game. In October 2016 I got DUMPED. So I did what any wanderer who has sat still for too long would do…called my travel buddy/ partner in crime up and enlisted her to disappear to Thailand for a few weeks with me!
As female travelers with little backpacking experience we wanted somewhere we could easily navigate and where we would feel relatively safe.
It doesn’t take much research to find out why Thailand is one of the most popular and safest locations for female travelers. With its clear tourist routes, transport links and just the sheer volume of information available about where to go, what to see and most importantly how to behave that is culturally appropriate.
Oh and let’s not forget it’s also super cheap!
I made the mistake of booking my flight a bit late. As we were going for the whole of Christmas and New Year, which is peak time, this ended up costing me big time! My flight was $900 from the UK. You can normally get flights for less than half this!
If you are planning to go out at this time of year book your flights early. I spent days phoning flight bookers and checking and double checking flight search engines. It was Skyscanner who finally got us the best deal.
Ideally, you want to book your flights 3 months before. Especially if you are planning on traveling there during peak time.
My Favourite Planning Tools for Thailand
I did SO much reading and research before my trip to help me make the most of my relatively short time there. It’s amazing how quick 3-weeks goes!
The most useful thing I found was Pinterest. I created a Pinterest board for us both to use and as I found useful articles on packing/ things to take/ things to remember etc we pinned them on it. If you are planning a trip to Thailand check out our board here.
It is also worth joining some backpackers facebook groups. Just do a quick search for things like: backpacking in Asia or Backpacking in Thailand. Join the groups and keep an eye on local news and tips others share. If you still have questions these groups are great places to ask as you will get the most up to date information from people there on the ground!
Reading other Blogs
For even more planning advice take a read of this post to help you plan your first trip.
Booking Accommodation within Thailand
I booked all of my accommodation online the day before, or the morning of arrival. As I’m a genius member I get some really good deals. More often than not it was a lot cheaper doing it this way, and I did check several times. So even if you choose not to pre-book I would always check the price online as well as in person as you might save money.
The biggest issue we found was that we didn’t know the area so more often than not we booked a great place in an area that was too far away from town.
Booking Travel within Thailand
If you know that you are going to fly between places then book these in advance. It will be a lot cheaper than if you wait until you are there. I didn’t want to over the plan as I like having the freedom to change my mind but I did book my internal flights. The further in advance, you can book the cheaper it will be.
Trains you have to book at the station the day before ideally, although you can also book on the day.
Buses you can book online or through a travel agent. I preferred to book online as it was a little cheaper.
One of the things I did a lot of research on was the budget. It’s impossible to predict and it depends on how strict you are with yourself. I saved money staying in cheap accommodation and eating street food at times and then blew money on doing fun things or drinking cocktails. For some tips on eating cheaply in Thailand check, this post out.
If you are planning your first trip to Thailand then be sure to check out my other posts: