Are you planning that much awaited holiday? Have you been looking to get the best deals on your holiday to “whereverland”? I’ve put together this post just to give you a head start on planning that dream holiday.
So this February I went on a 2 week-long trip to Thailand along with my cousins and a few friends. Did a lot of exploring and binge eating, while we toured across Chiang Mai, Krabi, Koh Phangan and Bangkok…
When planning my holiday to Thailand I didn’t take into consideration many things that go into planning a holiday. This was my first self-planned trip with limited help from any particular source. I also didn’t have enough time and with a better Plan of action, I could’ve managed my time and expenses well and maybe enjoy a little more than I did. In any case, this turned out to be the most memorable trip on a fair budget.
So for those of you who maybe planning that wonderful trip to whereverland, I wanted to share a few pointers with you. The is will help you plan your trip better and hopefully manage your time & expenses better than I did.
So without further ado… here goes..
When planning our holiday to Thailand we had a basic road map in mind of a few places we were definitely looking to explore. Since we were seven of us traveling for the first time from different parts of the world, the beginning of the trip was split over 2 days of catching up at Bangkok from India, Dubai & London. Some of us wanted to explore the cities, while some had just arrive. A friend fell sick – these were some unavoidable events which did change the course of our plans.
Based on my experience, I recommend you do enough research on the places. Climatic conditions, check in – check out time, the transportation, places you are keen to visit & their timings if any. All these are key pointers to make note of when planning your itinerary.
It may be troublesome to plan an itinerary when travelling as a group. Yet see that wherever or whatever you intend to explore as a group stays consistent. Also give each other time to choose and pick their desired experiences through the course of the plan and narrow it down further. Once that’s done, work on timelines.
Just to give you a gist of an Itinerary here is my travel Itinerary to Thailand
Day 1-2: Bangkok
Visit Chatuchak Market (apt for shopping, food and household items)
Explore some famous temples
Visit Grand Palace
Sample the famous Thailand street food
Day 3-4: Chiangmai
Tour the city on bikes, explore the gardens, temples, Old Town & New Town
Visit the elephant sanctuary
Explore the Grand Canyon
Watch cabaret show at the Night Bazaar
Get a Balm Massage in Chiang Mai City.
Day 5-8: Krabi
Indulge in Seafood at the Local Restaurants & Night Bazaars
Visit to Hot Spring and Emerald Pool
Explore the city with a self driven Car
Day 9-13 : Koh Phangan
Beach side Holiday Huts
A full day exploring the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park, snorkeling, climbing
Diving with the sea creatures
Authentic Thai Massage
Day 14-15: Bangkok
Visit Safari World and Zoo
Enjoy Nightlife at Bangkok
So based on a basic itinerary you can determine a set of days you plan to stay in whereverland. Like in our case, we included 2 days of leisure to our trip just to sit back and relax at the hotel. Our itinerary was spread across 14 days with ample time for sunbathing. If you have a constraint on number of days then plan your holiday based on the most desired spots that you don’t want to miss.
When making plans it’s always a good idea to weigh your options and choose whether it’s safer to go for a guided tour through a travel agent or to travel on your own. In our case, travel to Thailand seemed safe as we were exploring the country in a big group. We explored Chiang Mai in groups of 2 and found it pretty safe. Everyone had a mobile connection, so we all could be connected to the internet on the go and could at least make a call to one another if lost.
Guided Tours vs Self Tours
Guided tours have a lot of restrictions on routes and choice of stay. With a self-planned itinerary, you can manage your time, depending less on the tour operator. You can also skip the uninteresting spots and focus on what’s appealing to your tastes and goals.
Time of the Year:
The peak season means more expenses, while during the off season offers on travel tickets or stay are available. Planning your holiday during the monsoon will be a buzz-kill if it’s raining when you go shopping or are trying out street food. But yes you might save a lot on hotel bookings, package deals, events and experiences as a whole.
On the other hand peak season calls for the Festivals, parties, street shopping, local seasonal food, their cultural events and popular tours which you might miss during the off season. When booking your holidays, look out for any popular traditional holidays and book your trip to experience the culture if you’re someone who will enjoy a little bit of a history class.
Accommodation & Food:
When planning our trip to Thailand…We did all our hotel and travel arrangements prior to the actual visit, in order to match the requirements of the Visa on Arrival formalities & for smooth sailing through the immigration process as well. It’s always better to pre-book your stay so you can avail the best of discounts and also avoid the hassle of last minute running around, specially when traveling as a group. Solo traveler can end up booking their stay in hostels even at the very last minute but it depends on oneself and the budgets in mind.
We made sure to look at accommodation for at least 2 people per room. Some booking sites have offers like free breakfast or points on booking a particular hotel and also discounts on stays over 2 nights etc. A few hotels allow you to reserve a room and pay during check in which is suitable to most that want to see the place and then choose to stay. We did all our bookings through booking.com, Air Bnb and Agoda.com.
When it comes to food – it’s always good to try the local cuisine when visiting a different Country or State. Research a few of the popular restaurants and joints before you visit. In thailand for instance, we were able to find a lot of options of street food, restaurants, night markets. One needs to be careful when eating out though on a vacation, I for one did fall sick during my stint with street food in Chiang Mai. So if you have a weak stomach just stick to simple food or fruits during your trip.
I’m not sure about all international travel but when travelling to whereverland, see that you carry enough of cash depending on form of transport or the kind of transactions you need to make.
For instance, the Indian Rupee is half the value of the Thai Baht, so if you plan on going shopping bargaining will get you value for your money. Managing expenses while on a holiday can be troublesome. See that you don’t carry a lot of cash unless when you go shopping at street stores. A forex card is not all that necessary ( at least in Thailand ) unless you’re sure you will have a lot of last minute expenses to be made using the card. Like booking transport or transactions at top end restaurants would be reasons enough to use a forex card instead of cash.
So here it is… A little insight into my travel plans and the moments that made this trip to Thailand a worthwhile one.
I hope the few pointers above help you plan your holidays better and motivate your super-glued butts to get off that 9 to 5pm office chair; plan that much awaited vacation you’ve been meaning to plan or just get out on a long weekend and head to Goa whatever you fancy, just do it!
PS: tell me all about your favourite destination in the comments section below.
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