Travelling to the small island of Bali is on the rise and is one of the hottest tourism destinations. So we wanted to give you our insider tips on all things Bali. For being a relatively small island, there are LOTS of things to see and do while you’re here. It’s a beach lover’s paradise and this island offers much more than you may think. Bali is a great area to relax and rejuvenate with a relaxing vacation.

Find out how we got this trip for free!

Staying here for at least a week is needed in order to take in all of the sights in the area. Two weeks will allow you to see and do more without feeling rushed or stressed. During your time, you will want to ensure you see the following sites:

1. The Gili Islands

The Gili Islands are actually located off of the east coast of Lombok (the island just west of Bali) But are worth a shout-out. If you have the time to spare taking the boat ride to the Gili Islands is something you will not regret. The white sandy coastlines are a beach bum’s dream. This laid-back lifestyle is the place to go if you are looking for some impressive snorkelling, scuba diving and refreshing seaside cocktails.

We did not have the opportunity to head to this area and it is one of our biggest regrets. Learn from our mistakes and be sure to get over to these islands for a truly beautiful experience. When we were scuba diving on Bali’s east coast we kept hearing how amazing this area was from people returning from their trips.


bali, scuba diving, snorkeling, statues, water

2. Dive The Shipwreck At Tulamben

At the far northeast corner of Bali, you will find the tiny town of Tulamben. While this town itself may be quite sleepy, as soon as you dip below the ocean’s surface you will see a ton of life. Diving in this area is incredibly affordable and there are lots to see and do. In this area, there are 15 dive sites that have been set up for the public. 

One of these sites includes a massive WWI cargo ship. It sits just off the coastline just waiting to be explored. It ran aground and the volcano pushed it back out to sea. It still has some of its cargo aboard along with its guns. It ranges from 25 to 100 feet deep making it able to be swam through quite easily.

There is a statue garden below the sea where you can see a cluster of about 20 statues that have since developed reefs around them.

Scuba diving in the area is the main attraction. We didn’t find a lot of activities to do so make sure your hotel has a pool to relax by. Completely immersed in the culture, this tiny town is a step back in time. You can visit the nearby villages to get a truly unique experience while staying in this area.  

We stayed at a small diving hotel seconds away from the beach. When we were not diving in the sea we were soaking in the many pools. The hotel provides you with free snorkel gear, although there is not much to see when snorkelling. We paid $25 per guided dive including gear rental.

bali, pool, hotel, agoda.com

Tip: Hotels, especially in this area, hate when you book through Agoda.com. The site seems to take a lot of the profits so the actual hotel is left with only a little of what you paid. You will often get less service when booking from this site. In this particular hotel, “less service” meant a separate resort where we were the only people staying at this location and had our own private pool. While we loved the private oasis, we would way rather give the money to the actual business owner than to a big corporation. 

3. Monkey Forest

You may have read about our experiences at monkey forest when Myles got punched in the face by a monkey. This was a rare case and in general, these are the only RELATIVELY friendly monkeys on the island. 

Hundreds of monkeys congregate in this area due to an abundance of food and attention from tourists. These are wild monkeys so it is important to treat them as such when visiting. They can be vicious if provoked so ensure that you are only there to observe but allow them to jump all over you.

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NOTE: If you are like us, you may be worried about the ethical practices in this area. Rest assured that we did our research before going and it is actually OK. The monkeys are not in cages or in any way restricted to the area. They are however overfed by lots of tourists so be sure to avoid buying too many bananas when there.

bali, monkey, banana, monkey forest

Also, leave your backpack in your car. These monkeys know that you are helpless at fending them off so they will open your bag and go through it. If you have to bring a bag make sure it doesn’t have a water bottle or hand sanitizer. The monkeys actually drink the hand sanitizer and get drunk off the alcohol.

4. Rice Terraces

The rice terraces in Bali are lush and beautiful, a true sight to behold. There’s a reason these are so popular with tourists. We visited the Tegalalang terraces north of Ubud. You can get a first-hand look at this specialized farming technique while walking the endless trails through the terraces. Just remember which way you took so you don’t get too lost.

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You will want to bring your camera as this is a cool spot that provides the perfect backdrop for your Instagram photos. You can take tours through the fields hiking all up to the plantations. We recommend getting here early in the morning to beat the crowds and the heat. Also, be sure to pay tolls depending on how far and where you want to walk.

bali, rice terrace, rice fields, backpack, back pack

There are lots of shops in this area that provide some excellent shopping. The items sold are a boho-inspired dream including handmade quilts, dream catchers, lace bags, and more. There are also many restaurants in this area that offer delicious food with an outstanding view.

5. Experience The Food In Ubud

We are huge lovers of all things Ubud. This town is a hippie’s paradise. It has many vegan and vegetarian restaurants set in a lush jungly town. You won’t want to miss this experience as it lives up to its reputation. If you have seen those beautiful resorts tucked amongst the trees in Bali, they were likely taken in this area.

Nearly all of the restaurants will have the most delicious local cuisine. We recommend trying out a different spot every night. You will not be disappointed. The food in this area is incredibly health-focused so it is a dream for those opting for a gluten, dairy, and meat-free diet.

6. Try Surfing In Kuta

Both Myles and I love swimming so it is a wonder we never tried surfing before. When we were in Kuta that quickly changed as we hopped in the water, board in hand and took on the waves. There are lifeguards on duty within specifically designated areas where you can surf. During our first time out we got pushed to the side and stuck in a rip tide. Luckily we knew what to do to get ourselves out of the situation quickly.

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Surfing in this area is incredibly rewarding as you step off of the white sandy beach into the warm water. There are tons of surfing classes that you can take that are perfect for beginners. While there are surfboards available for rent on the beach, more advanced surfers can rent the best ones when you walk away from the beach to local surf shops.

7. Go Snorkeling At Amed Beach

Just south of Tulamben you will find the beautiful Amed beach. This is a great place to go for those who are looking to get off the beaten track and head to the more rustic corners of the island. Heading into the water you will find that the clarity in this area is unbeatable compared to other parts of the island. This makes it a snorkeler’s dream. More a group of villages rather than a full town, this is a great place to go to immerse yourself in the culture and everyday life.

8. Immerse Yourself In Local Traditions

bali, temple, sarang

This island is full of culture. The moment you land you will notice the offering baskets laid in front of every business and home. There is also  impressive architecture and temples throughout the island. We love to experience the traditions and cultures of the places we visit. It’s best to check the policies of the site you’re going to visit. Some will require both men and women to wear a Sarong as a show of respect.

bali, offering, temple

Visit the temples, help to make the offering baskets, and witness traditional shows are just some of the many activities you’ll find on the island. There are many ways that you can be a part of this fantastic culture all of which will undoubtedly better your experience. All of these places are scattered throughout the island and are usually well publicized. 

9. Get Flexible With Yoga In Ubud

This island is a yogi’s paradise. With many healthy food options, a boho vibe and tons of yoga retreats scattered around the island you will find all you need in this beautifully warm climate. It’s no wonder this area is especially popular with ex-pats from Canada and the USA.

If you are interested in Yoga this is the place to be. There are classes that range from introductory for people new to the practice to expert Yoga teaching retreats. Not a step out of place, yogis from all over the world congregate on this island to take part in these practices.

10. Sip A Cocktail With Views Of Mount Batur

This is a dormant volcano that you will often find is one of the most popularly talked about places on the island. You can hike up the mountain in about 2 hours and have a picnic at the top with views that will blow your mind. For a unique experience simply sip a nice cocktail with world-class views of the volcano. There is a string of restaurants overlooking the stunning volcano allowing for a picture-perfect lunch location.

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11. Take A Dip In The Waterfalls

If you’re heading inland you will find many waterfalls that are all ready to be explored. Small hikes will take you down to the water where you can jump in for a refreshing swim. Some of these waterfalls are quite touristy but if you find yourself off the beaten track you will find stunning more private waterfalls. The Munduk waterfalls house amazing falls that are far less touristy giving you a unique opportunity to explore this beautiful country.

Bali was one of our favourite places in South East Asia. It has everything you want from culture to surfing and even yoga. We know you will love your time in this beautiful place.

Have you been to this island? What are your favourite things to do in Bali? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Thailand is ranked as one of the top vacation destinations in the world. It features world-class white sand beaches, big beautiful temples and historical sites, scuba diving and adventures that will remain memories forever. There are large bustling cities like Bangkok (Thailand’s Capital city) and quiet mountain towns like Chiang Mai.

This Southeast Asian hotspot is one of the most popular backpacking destinations in the world. Despite having been there multiple times, we dream about returning every time we feel the travel bug. Thailand is one of the easiest and fun places to travel. Adventure seems to be around every corner and won’t break the bank along the way.

There are some tips and tricks you should know before you travel to Thailand. Let us walk you through the basics of the country and some expert travel tips that will make you feel like a travel pro!

Table of Contents

Top 7 Places to Visit in Thailand

Thailand has so many amazing sites to visit, that you may have some trouble deciding on where to spend your time. The Thai word for island is Koh which is the name of many of their tropical islands. Below we’ve listed our top must-see places in Thailand:

1. Koh Pha Ngan / Ko Phangan

First on our list for a reason, this tropical paradise is our favourite island in Thailand. Koh Pha Ngan (pronounced Ko-pun-yun) is most famous for its full moon parties and luxury wellness retreats. This island is the ideal size for renting a scooter. The island’s north end has a boho vibe with tons of yoga retreat centers and vegan restaurants. If you are looking for a party, head to the south of the island, near Haad Rin beach where the nightlife is palpable. This is also the home of the infamous Full Moon parties.

2. Koh Tao

If you’ve been itching to try scuba diving, Koh Tao is one of the cheapest places in the world to get your open water diving certification. This is the smallest of a 3 island series in the area with neighbouring islands Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Samui located close by. We recommend bringing a snorkel along with you to this island as there are many spots to snorkel from the many beaches on the island.

Koh Tao is a great place for hikers or those looking for a quieter beach experience. With most of the roads on this island being made of dirt and hotels often being in the form of thatched-roof bungalows, you will feel a world away visiting here. If basking on a beach and watching warm turquoise waters splash up on white sandy beaches sounds good to you you’re sure to love it here.

3. Koh Samui

This is the third island (Koh/Ko in Thai) in the Gulf of Thailand that sits just south of Ko Phangan. It’s the largest of the 3 and has a lot to offer. An international airport allows you to fly directly to this island.

Spend your day visiting the famous Big Buddha, soaking in stunning waterfalls or simply lazing at the beach. There is also great shopping on the island. Koh Samui is quite a large island so the best way to get around and see the sights is to rent a scooter to explore.

4. Bangkok

Thailand’s capital is a lively metropolitan city that is full of life. This inland destination offers tons to do and see. Once your feet are burning from walking the city, take a needed rest aboard a boat and float your way down the city’s floating market. If you are looking to immerse yourself in culture, stroll the grounds of the Grand Palace or head to either of the nearby temples Wat Arun or Wat Pho. Backpackers will want to head to Khao San Road where they will feel right at home with many hostels and a lively party scene.

5. Phuket

One of the largest tourist hubs in Thailand, Phuket is a must see destination. You can expect the perfect blend of busy city life and lazy beachfront resorts in this area. It is located on the east coast near the southern tip of the country. There is a large international airport that you can use to arrive and depart. Some places (like Patong) are super popular, and therefore busy, but you can scooter to a number of less busy beaches in the south.

6. Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is a great place to visit in Thailand, especially for adventure lovers. This inland village requires a bus or train ride to get to but is well worth the visit. This is a great place to visit for street food. Chiang Mai’s affordable prices are bound to impress you. As you’d expect in this jungle paradise, there are tons of great waterfalls that you can visit in the area.

This northern town is a popular starting point for many of Thailand’s great overnight treks. There are many jungle tours in the area that vary with activities from rafting down rivers, zip lining and more. Overnight you can stay in huts in the hills and get the opportunity to mingle with local hill tribes such as the well known Karen Longneck Tribe.

Just be sure to not book a tour that offers elephant riding. If you’d still like an up close and personal experience with them you can do so ethically at sanctuaries such as the Elephant Nature Park.

7. Pai

Located just northwest of Chiang Mai is the backpacker/hippie paradise of Pai. If lush jungle, natural hot springs, cascading waterfalls and quaint markets are your thing, head north to the city of Pai. One of the best things to do in Pai is to lazily float down the Pai river on an inner tube (you can rent them there). In the evening, the city comes alive with a night market that has some delicious street food. While you can do adventurous cave exploring and white water rafting in this area, it is more known for eclectic cafes and swinging in a hammock as the sun sets.

8. Koh Phi Phi

Much like Ko Pha-Ngan, Koh Phi Phi is another place to experience the nightlife. Our first island on the list on Thailand’s west side, this island is commonly reached through nearby city Phuket. A ferry will take you across stunning clear waters weaving past other small islands to get you to the Phi Phi islands. You may have seen this island popping up all over your Instagram for their gorgeous viewpoint you can hike to and get some beautiful views.

Partying is undoubtedly the biggest pull here, you can’t walk the beaches at night without having a bucket drink (literally sand buckets full of drinks), trying laughing gas balloons and taking in an impressive fire show on the beach. The clear ocean waters make for great snorkeling and nearby islands allow for many island-hopping tours leaving from the island.

Top Activities To Do In Thailand

1. Scuba Diving

Thailand is one of the biggest scuba diving destinations in the world. Ocean water temperatures sit around 30℃ (85℉) and offer a very inviting turquoise colour. Under the water, you’ll be treated to near perfect diving conditions with impressive 30m+ visibility in some areas. Once diving below the water you will be welcomed by impressive schools of fish and colourful coral reefs.

Thailand is one of the biggest scuba diving destinations in the world. Ocean water temperatures sit around 30℃ (85℉) and offer a very inviting turquoise colour. Under the water you’ll be treated to near perfect diving conditions with impressive 30m+ visibility in some areas. Once diving below the water you will be welcomed with impressive schools of fish and colorful coral reefs.

2. Rent a scooter

It’s no secret that we love to ride around Thailand on scooters. We find them to be one of the best activities in Thailand. You can find scooter rental shops almost everywhere for a reasonable price. Find more about renting scooters in Thailand here.

3. Beach life

A tropical vacation isn’t complete without time spent on the beach. One of the most famous things about Thailand is its many white-sand beaches. The southern part of the country has some of the nicest beaches you’ll find anywhere in the world. Keep in mind that some will have an admission fee but this is usually because they’re a maintained beach meaning they will be free from garbage.

4. Snorkelling

Many beaches in Thailand are perfect for snorkelling. The more popular beaches will usually have places to rent snorkels allowing you to see the magical world under the surface of the water. Marine life in Thailand is abundant and you are sure to see fish and coral in the warm tropical waters.

5. Jungle adventure

There are many places to adventure in the Thai jungle. Mainly found in the northern part of the country, jungle treks are a great way to see a different perspective of Thailand.

6. Temples

Thai temples are found all over the beautiful country. Renting a scooter in Thailand will allow you to get to these historical sites on your own terms and not have to spend money on a guided tour. Just be aware that there is usually a dress code to enter these spiritual places.

How Much Does It Cost To Travel Thailand?

Thailand is known for being an inexpensive travel destination. You will get huge value for your money no matter where you travel in this country.


There are different types of accommodations in Thailand. Different types of rooms will have different price points.

If you’re comfortable sleeping in a room with other people, a dorm room in a hostel will typically be the cheapest option for a single traveller. The more people are in a room the cheaper it will cost. These types of places range from 150 THB to 400 THB.

Smaller towns away from the tourist areas will be the next cheapest place to stay in Thailand. Rooms in these areas will typically start around 400 THB to 700 THB.

A fancier night in a hotel will be more expensive, but still much cheaper than you’re used to at home. You should expect to pay around 1400 THB for a room with a fan and a double bed.

Resorts will be the most expensive option to spend the night in Thailand. Starting around 2300 THB a place on the water will cost around the same as a regular hotel back home.


Thailand is known for their cheap and unbelievably delicious food. There are food choices that will fit anyone’s budget. You will have many different options for great eats wherever you travel in Thailand.

Street Food

Street food is by far your cheapest option, in Bangkok, you can even find a plate of Pad Thai for 25 THB. When eating street food in Thailand you can expect to spend less than 50 THB a meal.

Sticking with the local street food will likely cost you between 120-170 THB a day. The street food is safe and arguably much more delicious than restaurants, not to mention much cheaper.


Restaurants serve western food but at a higher price point. If you are craving a hearty pasta dish or a good burger expect to pay closer to 150-300 THB per plate.

Thai dishes in a restaurant on average start at around 65 THB depending on how fancy the restaurant is.


If you’re looking to have a beer at a Thai restaurant you can expect to pay around 60 to 80 THB. Cocktails and mixed drinks will be around 300 to 450 THB.

Tips To Save Money

Like travelling anywhere in the world there are some ways to save your hard-earned money. Thailand is unlike any other travel destination and even if you’re a seasoned world traveller you may be surprised by some of these tips and tricks.

Don't Book Ahead

Some things you should not pre-book before you leave. We typically try to book our first night or two of accommodation in a city and then don’t book any more nights until we get there. This allows us to ensure we are staying in a good area as well as ultimate flexibility.

We’ve found that if you walk into a hotel you can usually get a better rate than going through a booking service. 

This is also the case with transportation around Thailand as well. Booking ahead of time can sometimes cost more than double the price of booking in person. Renting a scooter to drive you to tourist sites will be far cheaper than booking organized tours and allow you the freedom to see the sites at your own leisure.

Happy Hour

If you time your meals right you can get a huge discount. Happy Hour is alive and strong in Thailand, especially in larger cities like Bangkok and Phuket. You can expect a discount on alcohol and even possibly some lower prices on special dishes.


7-11 is one of the best places to get everything from Toasties to Chang’s (the beer of choice in Thailand). This is a one-stop shop for many tourists as this Thai convenience store has stocked everything you will need. 

You can drink alcohol while walking the streets in Thailand. If you are on a budget, try buying your alcohol at a local 7-Eleven rather than at a restaurant. Having a Chang, the local beer, at 7-Eleven costs about 35 THB rather than the 100-150 THB it costs in a restaurant. If you do go to a bar, take advantage of the many happy hour deals around.

7-11 also sells food, medical supplies and toiletries (among other things) as well. Toasties and chips are among the most popular travel food found here. They even heat up the toasties!

How to Get Around Thailand?

Thailand is one of the most tourist friendly places in the world. With many travel agent offices scattered throughout all tourist areas in the country, getting from point A to B is safe and stress-free. There are many different ways to get around the country:


One of the cheapest ways to travel around Thailand is by bus. Affordable prices draw in a strong backpacking crowd to this form of travel. Complex route systems allow you to travel anywhere and everywhere.

Most places will have the option of either daytime or overnight buses to take you to popular tourist destinations. These buses are a bit of a gamble, some offer new comfortable lounging chairs while others look like they’re held together with duct tape. Buses have bathrooms on board and most routes include a rest stop along the way to stretch your legs.

Pro Tip: Try to not get a seat near the bathroom!


Thailand taxis are just as you’d expect in terms of accessibility. You will undoubtedly rely on this transportation when leaving airports, although this is the most expensive place to rent them. When hiring a taxi, make sure that your driver uses the meter or settle on an agreed price before you start driving. If you don’t you could end up paying significantly more.

Also, be cautious with your bags. Only put your bag in the trunk of the taxi if you absolutely have to. If you do, make sure one person stays in the car while the bag is retrieved as there’s a chance the driver may drive off with it.

Tuk Tuk

Tuk Tuks are some of the most famous ways to get around Thailand. As these are privately owned, you can expect the prices to vary dramatically not only from city to city, but from driver to driver. We recommend taking a ride on this iconic Thailand experience only when travelling short distances. You can expect your Thailand Tuk Tuk to cost around 100-300 THB, depending on how far you’re riding. 

Tuk Tuk’s are not equipped with the meters that you would expect from a taxi. Be sure to agree on a price with your driver before leaving for your trip.


With many of the top places to visit in Thailand being islands, you will likely be taking a boat or ferry while travelling through Thailand. There are many different types of boats and ferries ranging from longtail boats to huge car ferries. You will usually always have more than one option to get to your destination.

Note that ferries range in price, and their prices are directly reflective of what you can expect. The less expensive ones will usually be older boats with fewer amenities.


A comfortable and affordable way to get around the country is to take a train. 5 major train lines allow access to many areas throughout the country. Trains in this area offer 3 travel styles, all with their own pricing points. While first-class riding will be the most comfortable offering private air-conditioned cabins with comfortable sleeping. Second-class train tickets are split into categories: air-conditioned and fan-cooled cabins.



While this is going to be the most expensive form of travel, the many airports located throughout the country make travelling by air an easy way to see the country. Bangkok (BKK) is one of the biggest travel hubs in the area with over 63 million passengers passing through a year (2019).

  • Chiang Mai International Airport allows accessibility to the country’s northern area.
  • Phuket International Airport is located in the southern end of the country allowing tourists easy access to the country’s stunning beach life.
  • If you are looking to jump right into island life, Koh Samui is home to another international airport that has easy access to the popular island chain in the Gulf of Thailand.


If you’re staying in an area for a couple of days, renting a scooter will allow you to see the area from a unique perspective. Scooter rental companies are readily available in all areas of the country and are incredibly affordable. Driving around Thailand on a scooter is one of our favourite things to do.

What To Bring To Thailand? - Our Thailand Packing Guide

What you decide to pack for a trip to Thailand will depend on a few factors. The length of time will be one of the biggest factors when packing for your trip. You should also consider how readily available laundry services will be. A good rule of thumb is the more remote a place is, the less likely you’ll be able to find laundry when travelling. Below is a guide to what we always bring to our Thailand vacations.


  • Swimsuit – we like to bring at least two pairs of swimsuits. This way you can wash and let one pair dry so you always have a fresh and clean one. Nobody likes wearing a wet bathing suit.
  • Underwear x12
  • Socks x 12 pairs
  • T-Shirt x7
  • Shorts x5


  • Toothbrush and toothpaste (travel size)
  • Shampoo (travel size)
  • Deodorant


  • Water shoes
  • Walking shoes
  • Flip Flops

First Aid Kit

  • Antibacterial cream – Wounds will not heal in Thailand. Having some of this will give you the best chances of healing your wounds.
  • Bandages – having your own bandages will come in handy in an emergency.
  • Lip Chap – Your lips will definitely take a beating when you’re in the hot sun for long travel days.


  • Lock – Many tourist attractions and hotels will have lockers where you can store your belongings while you’re out and about. Having your own lock will make it way easier and make sure your stuff is safe.
  • Dry Bags / Zip-Lock Bags – Dry bags are great places to keep things you want dry, even in your bag. Zip-Lock Bags will be a great place to keep shampoo and anything else that can leak separate from everything else.
  • Travel Charger Adapter – Thailand uses a different type of charger than the standard North American plug. Be sure to travel prepared with a travel adapter.
  • Ear Plugs – Trust us, you will want a few pairs of these for overnight buses or dorm rooms where it can get a little loud at night.
  • Headphones – great for long flights or overnight buses. Be sure to download your favourite playlists to your phone!
  • Garbage bag x4 – these are great for keeping your dirty laundry separate from your clean stuff
  • Reusable water bottle – We love our Yeti water bottles. They come with clips so you can attach them to your bag so you always have access to a drink. There will be many places you can refill them as well.

When Should You Visit?

Thailand remains around the same temperature all year round. But parts of the year are much rainier than others.

Cool Season: November – February

This will depend on which area and the time of the year you’re planning on visiting. The cool season is between November and March and is the best time of the year to travel to Thailand. It could also be the most expensive (but still cheaper than most places in the world). Temperatures at this time of year will be around 30℃.

Hot Season: March – June

If you want to experience Thailand’s hot season you should plan for days over 35℃. Nights will also be just a little cooler than this. Be sure to pack some protection from the sun. We have been to Thailand twice in June and it was quite warm.

Rainy Season: July – October

If you are the type of person who doesn’t like rain we suggest not going to Thailand during this time. The temperature will still be hot but the nights can drop a little bit especially in the north. It’s considered the “off-season” and could run into some attractions being closed or have reduced hours. Beaches can also be quite dirty due to the more extreme weather.

This is also considered monsoon season. We experienced some flash flooding with huge rainfalls when we were in Thailand in June.

Have you been to Thailand? Let us know if you think we missed anything in the comment section below!
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If you are anything like us you want to get the most out of your vacation and check new cities off your bucket list. What better way to do that than to get two vacations in one? Especially if the second vacation is so cheap anyone can afford it. Sound too good to be true? Well, we are here to fill you in on our little secret.

The secret is easy: layovers! I know what you’re thinking, layovers are typically the worst part of your flight. You’re either running from one airplane to another frantically or you’re sitting bored in an airport for hours in a waiting limbo. Why not instead make this dreaded time into a WHOLE OTHER VACATION (really, does it get any better?).

BONUS: Flights with layovers can actually be cheaper than direct flights since on the surface they can seem less desirable. You can find stopover flights to top travel destinations like Italy, Iceland, and Hong Kong.

On a recent trip to Thailand, we scheduled a 24-hour layover in Singapore. The cost for the flight fare was actually cheaper than it would have been without the stopover flight and we could now leave the airport and go explore a new city. We did this again on a trip to Bali where we were able to enjoy another 24 hour layover in Hong Kong. This layover cost the exact same as a direct flight would have and we got to enjoy dim sum in the heart of the city.

So before your fingers get click happy and book your next flight, hear our advice and learn from our mistakes.

How Do We Do This?

Before we found Skiplagged we manually checked websites to find flights with long layovers. This meant that we would sit for hours plugging in our dates and cities and scrolling through dozens of flights. There isn’t really a setting to adjust the time of the layover so we would have to not only look at the airport code of the airport but also the duration of the layover.

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Skiplagged simplifies this process. It will search out flights that have long layovers to any destination you want.

The best part is you can add your starting airport and leave the destination open. This will show you a list of flights everywhere in the world starting at the cheapest price. It will also give you information like the airlines, the booking information and where the layover will take you.

You may also like: The best money you will spend in Bali.

How Long Should Your Layover Be?

There are many things to consider when planning a layover. Customs can take a while when leaving the airport (if you are anything like us you can ask for a seat near the front of the plane and RUN LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT to the booths. Or you know, patience works too). Keep in mind that they say you should plan to be at the airport 3 hours before an international flight which will eat into some of your travel time.

Give yourself as much time as possible. We have found that 11 – 24 hours is the sweet spot. Just check the time you land and depart. This is SOOO important!! Unless you plan to be in Tokyo or New York and are ready to party you will not have a good time if your 11 hours start at 9 pm and goes till 8 am.

Know The Type Of Traveler You Are (And The People You Are Traveling With)

This is one of the most important aspects of deciding the course of your layover vacation. Are you someone who enjoys taking it slow and stress-free by enjoying hours at restaurants, ordering room service and sleeping in? Or are you more like us: chickens with their head cut off running through the city trying to take in as many sights as you can.

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If you are travelling with someone else, it is important to take both of your travelling personalities into account. I know what you are thinking: this matters for any type of travel. Well, you are right but if you are only spending a couple of hours in an area the need-to-know becomes more significant.

Pro Tip: Before leaving the airport buy some water and snacks to bring for your day. It will likely cost way more than it would in the city but is almost guaranteed to make your time better. Trust us, no one has a good time when they’re hangry.

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Treat Your Layover Like It Is Your Main Destination

Even though this leg of the trip is shorter doesn’t make it any less exciting. You are still paying for the flight so make the most of it. Get excited and spend some time scanning Pinterest or Tripadvisor for the top activities in the city. After all, this is a whole new vacation!

As you are going to be there for only a select few hours it is important that you know where to go and what there is to see. Can you imagine if we had gone to Singapore without seeing the famous Gardens by the Bay?

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Myles playing on his little toy plane at the airport.

With that being said, when we went to Hong Kong we had absolutely no idea where anything was and we just jumped on a random bus from the airport

and got dropped into the middle of “backpackers downtown”. A random online hotel booking at a cheap hotel (we had just come from Bali and so we didn’t think $40 a night was cheap) left us sleeping in a place smaller than a walk-in closet full of cockroaches that smelt like dirty fish. So small that they had cut the mattress to fit in the room and I couldn’t even extend my legs – I am 5’6”. Learn from our mistakes: know before you go!

Know Before You Go

  • Make sure your luggage goes to your final destination, not to your layover. This will make it one less thing you need to worry about planning for.
  • Check your phone’s storage space! Nobody wants to have the best shot lined up to get the dreaded “Not Enough Storage” message. I am notoriously bad for this!
  • Charge Your Electronics: The worst feeling is not having your phone or camera charged when you need it the most. This can not only make you miss capturing the moment but possibly even your flight. If you have a phone with a removable battery investing in an extra one can save you.

For phones that don’t have this feature, we suggest a battery pack. These are small, yet powerful. They can fit in your pants pocket and can give you up to 10 full charges. Not only can they power your phone but some can even power cameras and computers!

  • Customs & Visa Regulations: Some countries, such as Vietnam, require special visas for entry including a passport-sized photos. These are easy and inexpensive to get and should not deter you. Trust us, 24 hours in Saigon is never a bad idea.layover, flight, city, thailand

Knowing the general layout of a city can help you tons! There are many ways of doing this, but Google Maps is one of the best apps to have on your smartphone. Not only can you use it offline, but you can also download a specific area.

This will let you search public transit stops without being connected to (and without a signal).

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Keep Track of Your Flights

We strongly recommend getting an app to track your flight. If you decide to leave the airport you will be busier than you realize. The last thing you want is to spend a day in the town to find out that your flight was delayed or cancelled.

There are many smartphone apps that can keep track of your flight for when you connect your phone to Wifi at coffee houses or even fast-food chains. All you need is the flight number on your boarding ticket.

Set alarms throughout your day to remind you to keep track of the time.

What To Do With Your Time

24 hours in a city may not seem like enough time. That’s because it isn’t. These layovers are a way to get a sneak peek at a country, or city, rather than an in-depth experience. Think of it like a first date, you can go explore enough to see if it is worth giving it a second date (note: it always will be).

Consider how you want to fill your time. Perhaps booking a guided tour through the city is your best option. Or maybe you are more adventurous and just want a taxi to drop you off in the middle of the downtown core and you can walk as much as possible. Try looking into a city bus pass that you can hop on and off to get around the city. Or you may be wanting to see one specific thing that you can plan your day around.

For example, if your layover is in Cambodia you will want to make sure a trip to Angkor Wat is the focus of your day.

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What To Pack

You are treating this as a separate holiday so be sure to put some thought into packing. As you will not be getting your main bag we suggest packing a larger, but still portable (backpacks work great), day bag. If you bring along a bulky rolling carry-on, check if your airport has lockers and stash it in there so you don’t have to cart it around with you.

  • A change of clothes: This is especially important if you are about to step into a completely different climate than you were once in. This includes shoes, I know they’re heavy but hear me out. You will want shoes you can walk far distances in. While this is a given, you never know what your day will look like. You are one puddle, a rainy day, or a beach trip away from being stuck with wet feet or blisters. Trust me, learn from my mistakes, BRING AN EXTRA PAIR. You can thank me later! 🙂
  • FOOD: Not a full meal, you will likely remember the food you ate in whatever city you are in more than anything else, but snacks. Think granola bars! Stashing a few in your backpack will make it so that you don’t have to find a restaurant right away.
  • Camera: or let’s be real your smartphone will probably do just fine. If you do bring your phone though, pack a charger just in case. You will likely be snapping so many photos you may run out of battery. 20 minutes in a Starbucks plugging your phone into an outlet may just save your trip (or at least your photos).
  • Pre-print all your boarding passes: This isn’t just advice for people who are late for everything. It is really really easy to get delayed, especially when you’re in a city you don’t know well and are at the mercy of taxis or public transit. Having your boarding pass on your smartphone can solve this. Depending on how long your layover is you may even be able to print your boarding pass before you leave the airport for your whirlwind adventure. This will save you time when you return to the airport to catch your flight.
  • A plastic bag or dry bag: You are literally walking into the unknown with little to nothing with you. I mean that in the most exciting way possible. Bringing a ziplock or dry bag to stash your electronics in can end up saving you a ton of money.
  • Money: Kind of an obvious one but can be easily overlooked as it isn’t your main destination. Make sure you have enough cash to get into the city (a simple google search will tell you the best way and roughly holayover, flight, travel, sleeping bag linerw much it will cost) and some extra for any souvenirs and food you want to buy.
  • A blanket or sleeping bag: We have this one. Not only is it useful to keep you warm when sleeping in airports but in case you are like us and opt for the sleaziest (aka cheapest) hotel imaginable, you have a nice little barrier between you and a questionable mattress

I know this seems like a lot of information but trust us, getting the most of your holiday by extending your layovers will be well worth it. Take the time you have in the new city as bonus time.

Don’t stress, you don’t have to cram everything in. Really, if all you bring is a camera and plan to spend the whole time on your Roman layover eating pasta, is that really the worst thing?

Have fun and let us know how your next vacation goes – we love to hear stories!

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