Thailand is one of the least expensive countries in the world to visit. Let’s start with the big picture first and compare the cost of taking a trip to Thailand to other vacation destinations. To make this a valid comparison, assume you are staying in the same type of hotels and dining at the same type of restaurants you normally would when traveling to other vacation destinations. If you usually stay at budget inns when traveling elsewhere, don’t expect that a suite at a five-star beachfront resort in Thailand is going to cost you less. Similarly, if you eat inexpensive fast food while traveling elsewhere, you can’t expect that table service at a trendy restaurant in Bangkok will cost you less.
Assuming a fair comparison, the total cost of a typical trip to Thailand is less than the cost of a typical trip of the same duration to popular European and North American destinations. A typical trip to Las Vegas, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Boston, Vancouver, Orlando, Miami, San Francisco, Paris, London, Amsterdam, or almost any other destination in the U.S., Canada, Mexico or Europe that requires you to travel by air, book overnight accommodations and eat your meals out will cost more.
Trips To Thailand Cost Less Becuase Of The Favorable Exchange Rate
The U.S. Dollar to Thai Baht exchange rate is favorable to Americans. As I write this, it is ฿30.65 for every $1 USD. A $100 USD would get you ฿3,065 at this exchange rate. The exchange rate has been remarkably stable for the last five years. You can check the current exchange rate here USD to THB.
This favorable exchange rate allows you to stay in inexpensive 4-star hotel rooms, eat like a king, drink like a fish and take your significant other on lavish dates. In other words, it is the type of vacation most of us can only dream about in the States.
Breakdown Of Thailand Trip Costs
Airfare is one of the most expensive components of your overall trip cost. If you travel coach, and you don’t live near an international airport, a round trip fare of $750-$900 booked a couple of months in advance is a good assumption to plan on. If you live near an international airport, you can find round trip fares as low as $350 to $500.
An Important Consideration To Keep In Mind If You Want Your Trip To Thailand To Cost Less
Do not Americanize your trip to Thailand. I get it. You are in an exotic new place, so you want the security of something familiar. However, if you insist on staying at the Marriott, eating all your meals at American chain restaurants and drinking American beer, you will find that the cost of an Americanized Thailand vacation will be roughly equal in cost to a vacation of the same length in America.
Tips On How To Make Your Trip To Thailand Cost Less
Stay At Three And Four Star Hotels Instead Of Five Star Hotels
You can get good deals all over Thailand for stays at three and four-star hotels. I recently booked a $40 a night stay at a four-star property in Bangkok, a $19 a night stay at a three and a half star hotel in Patong Beach and a $35 a night stay at a four-star hotel in Pattaya. Now if you are a five-star only person, watch Agoda religiously and you can get deals at five-star properties. However, you should still expect to pay a significant premium. In my experience, I prefer to book a newer four-star property over an older five-star property. Often, the newer four-star property will be nicer.
Eat Cheaply Whenever You can
Eat Breakfast At Your Hotel
When you are booking your stay at a hotel in Thailand you will often notice the rate will say includes breakfast. Some hotels automatically include breakfast in your room rate others offer no breakfast rooms that are a little cheaper. If the breakfast is under $15 for two people, I almost always take it.
Breakfast at a hotel in Thailand is a very different experience than breakfast at an American hotel that includes breakfast with the room. Typically those American included breakfasts will get you cold cereal, day-old doughnuts and microwave danishes. A lot of hotels in Thailand offer traditional western-style breakfast food (bacon, sausage, omelets and so on) alongside Thai breakfast food and fresh fruit. Usually, these offerings are served buffet style. I love arriving in Thailand knowing I already have one of my daily meals taken care of.
If you don’t actually eat breakfast because you are a late riser or you prefer to leave the hotel right away in the morning, try looking for a no-breakfast room.
Eat Street Food
Thailand is known for its street food and open-air restaurants. It costs less to eat at these places than it does in an airconditioned restaurant. It is generally just as safe to eat street food as eating in a traditional restaurant. Often you can get an entire meal for around $3. If the idea of eating Thai street food intimidates you, try booking a guided street food tour where you will be able to sample many different types of Thai street food. Any destination in Thailand that caters to tourists has street food tours. The costs of these tend to vary but you can usually find them starting at $25-$30. It is a good way to get your feet wet and develop a sense of what type of street food you like.
Eat At Mall Food Courts
In Bangkok, there are a lot of malls. Most of them offer cheap dining options. For example, there is a Terminal 21 mall located at the Sukhumvit and Asok intersection near a lot of hotels that cater to tourists. There is also a Terminal 21 mall in Pattaya near Walking Street. In Patong Beach, there is the Jungceylon Mall which has a food court that serves Thai food. Although you will see a lot of tourists at these malls, their large food courts are priced with locals in mind. You can get an inexpensive freshly prepared lunch or dinner for $3-$4.
Other helpful information On How To Lower Your Trip To Thailand Cost
- How to get cheap flights to Thailand