So you wanna to go to Thai Thai? A guide for South Africans wanting to travel Thailand on the a budget part 1: Booking your flight

So I’m off to Thailand for the fifth time (I know!) but I’ve done Vietnam and Bali too. While I loved Vietnam to bits (it’s actually very similar to Thailand and I’ll definitely go back) Thai Thai has my heart as it’s much less expensive to fly to. It’s also crazy beautiful, the sea is like bathwater, super safe and the food, shopping and people are all fantastic.

This time I’m heading off with my buddy Dax who’ll be joining me for the first ten days of my trip. (I’m staying on for three weeks.) He’s been instructed to walk ten metres behind me should we run into any hot Australians or wear a T-shirt that says ‘SHE’S NOT MY GIRLFRIEND’. He’s yet to pick his poison. But you can follow him on social media for more insight into the trip. He’s @relaxwithdax on both twitter and Instagram.

Peeps who know about my obsession with the East often ask me for tips in regards to pulling off a trip so I thought I’d write them all down in a series and it starts with booking your flight. Being South African, I don’t need a visa, you can just book and go, staying for up to 30 days. (This can be extended, of course, but then you’ll need a visa.)

You don’t need a filter. The sea really is this colour blue.

I’m always on the look out for flight specials but if you’re on Discovery Vitality you can get a percentage off certain airline tickets and Emirates is one of them. Being on the Silver tier, I score a cool 25% off so at one point I could’ve flown Emirates for R6500 return to Bangkok. You have to book your flights a good six weeks in advance.

This time round, however, I’m flying with Ethiopian Airways (I was messed around by friends who didn’t commit so I missed the six week gap) and snapped up a ticket for R6400. (CT – ADDIS ABABA – BANGKOK return.) I’ve never flown with them before so I’ll let you know how it goes.

When it comes to finding cheap flights my best tip is to not rely on just one search engine, although my favourites are travelstart.co.za, cheapflights.co.za and skyscanner.com. (The latter allows you to include ‘nearby airports’ in your search. A good thing considering Bangkok has two airports and I reckon landing at either is much of a muchness.)

But ja! The reason why it’s best to compare is because each engine tends to pick up on different routes. For example, where my travel dates were concerned, travelstart picked up on a flight that was R100 less than cheapflights’ but the latter’s option served up a similar route with a much shorter layover.

Now let’s do a quick comparison of what’s served up. At the time of writing this post I performed a test search for for CT – BKK for the 3rd to 16th of September and this is the result of the cheapest flight from each site:

Travelstart – R7 029 on Ethiopian Airlines with one stop (Ethiopia)
Cheapflights – R5 807 on Ethiopian Airlines with two stops (Ethiopia and Singapore)
Skyscanner – R6010 on Ethiopian Airlines with two stops (Ethiopia and Singapore)

Now aren’t you glad we compared across all three?

Mooi, ne?

For the record, if you’re not keen on Bangkok or want to start your holiday in the islands don’t feel like you have to always search for a flight to Bangkok. It’s easy to find flights to Phuket (Thailand’s biggest island) for a very similar price.

Another of my tips in regards to flying is to book your flight using a credit card that offers free travel insurance. I have a Kulula credit card and a Virgin Money credit card and both give me free travel insurance which is more than enough for me to not need to top it up. I used my Kulula card this time and just my flights alone are now insured for R14K.

But here’s the kicker! Once you’ve booked your ticket don’t take it fore granted that you’re insured. Call your card company and give them your travel dates so they can issue your free policy. I made the mistake of not doing this once and my flight home moved a day forward which affected local connecting flights I’d bought separately. When I called the credit card company to let them know about it they said I wasn’t covered as I’d yet to ‘activate/issue’ my policy. Arrrgh!

Okay, so those are your flights sorted. Now keep an eye on the blog as my next posts will give you a heads up on hotels with lots more tips to follow.

You can also follow my trip my social media. I’m @lipglossgirl on twitter and @lipglossgirlxoxo on Instagram.

Here’s to happy travels!

Love, love

Leigh

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Editor of South African beauty blog Lipgloss is my Life.

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