Cheap Travel Packages: What do you get?

We're always on the lookout for the least expensive way to visit the places we want to see. We get daily emails with airfare alerts, limited-time package deals, hotel bargains, and more. We have a list of websites we regularly scour for the same. When an airline posts a super low ticket price by accident (known as an error fare), we jump with joy and scoop it up before they fix their mistake. When you're traveling on the cheap, you learn to manage your expectations accordingly. Your international round-trip flight might only cost you $300, but it might leave at 4 a.m., and you're also likely seated in the back of the plane near the galley and bathrooms. Your cross-country rail ticket might only be $20, but it might take you three train transfers with layovers between each leg to get to your destination rather than a nonstop, direct route with a reserved seat. And then sometimes you're pleasantly surprised.

Bangkok’s Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Jet to the lag. While it's always hectic getting back into "real life" after a trip, it's especially challenging when your days and nights are completely turned around from an 11-hour time difference. Whew! So here I am, one week later, wrapping up my posts from Bangkok. The last of our temple visits were two of the most overwhelming, and for very different reasons. We visited Bangkok's Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha on April 6, which is a holiday in Thailand. Chakri Memorial Day (วันจักรี or Wan Chakkri) commemorates the founding of Bangkok by King Phutthayotfa Chulalok in 1782. It is also the one day when the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is closed to the public so that the reigning king can visit in person and pay his respects. On this particular Wan Chakkri, the grounds of the Grand Palace were a madhouse.

Thai Cooking Class in Bangkok, Part 2

On our girls’ trip to Thailand, my friend Samantha and I took a cooking class from Maliwan Thai Cooking School that Mike found for us via Viator for just $39 per person. We met our instructor, Mae, at the school, then traveled by tuk tuk to the local Klong Toey Fresh Market to purchase fresh ingredients. Read more about our market visit in Part 1 of this post. After we toured the market and bought our ingredients, we returned to the school to learn how to prepare green curry chicken, Tom Yum Goong soup, Pad Thai, and mango sticky rice.

Thai Cooking Class in Bangkok, Part 1

Thai cooking classes are among the most popular activities for those on vacation in Bangkok. Learning how to make dishes like Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong soup, and mango sticky rice from scratch is a very satisfying process, particularly when you're using fresh, local ingredients that you've sourced yourself. On our girls' trip to Thailand, my friend Samantha and I took a cooking class from Maliwan Thai Cooking School that Mike found for us via Viator for just $39 per person. We met our instructor, Mae, at the school, then traveled by tuk tuk to the local Klong Toey Fresh Market to purchase fresh ingredients.

Thailand’s Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and the Marble Temple

Thailand is famous for its floating markets, where both buyers and sellers transact business in canals in long wooden boats. You’ll find fresh produce like mangoes, bananas, pineapple, and coconut along with pork and chicken satay grilled on tiny propane cooktops in the boats.

A Day of Decadence, Thai Style

There are some places in the world where everyday expenses are sky high, such as Iceland. When you're visiting there, you're constantly looking for ways to save money while still enjoying yourself. Other places in the world are very affordable, and you're able to treat yourself to some indulgences without breaking the bank. Thailand is one of those places. My friend Samantha and I are on a girls' trip to Bangkok, and we decided today would be a day of decadence. After stuffing ourselves at the lavish Century Park Hotel breakfast buffet, which was included in the price of our room, we headed to Siladon Spa for a four-hour massage. This is something I would never do at home, because I really can't relax knowing I've spent so much money on something so decadent. But a four-hour massage in Bangkok? Just $58. For four hours!

Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market

If you're in Bangkok over a weekend, add Chatuchak market to your itinerary. Covering 35 acres, it offers more than 10,000 vendors selling everything from clothing and art to live plants and pets every Saturday and Sunday. The variety of merchandise is staggering, and the low prices can be haggled even lower.

Hello from Thailand!

After 36 straight hours of travel, I've landed in Bangkok, Thailand, for a week with my friend Samantha from California. We're looking forward to visiting temples, going to spas, and enjoying lots of amazing Thai food! The flights were exhausting (six hours from Nashville to Los Angeles, then 15 hours from L.A. to Shanghai, then five hours from Shanghai to Bangkok, plus shuttles and layovers), but it gave me plenty of time to practice my basic Thai phrases using this handy infographic from Wandershare.