The Grand Palace

While we were in Bangkok, we really wanted to visit the Grand Palace. Our hotel offered a free ferry ride that took us across the river to the central pier where we would catch a connecting riverboat. The ride was a short 10 minutes.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2629.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2631.

When we got off at our stop, the locals kept telling us that the Grand Palace was closed. They did this when Ash and I were here, so I did some research and apparently the locals like to lie to get tourists to leave. We also made the mistake of asking someone where the entrance was and they sent us around the ENTIRE palace when we could’ve just turned the corner and been there. While we were walking, they kept stopping us since Kendall was wearing shorts and telling him that he wouldn’t be allowed in. They would also try and convince us to buy pants from them.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2632.

Lucky for us, we knew they rented pants in the palace for FREE. All you had to do was pay a 200baht down payment that would be fully returned when you gave back the pants. So, if you’re ever trying to find the Grand Palace and people keep telling you that it’s closed, you’re going the wrong way, or telling you to buy their pants ignore them.

IMG_2301

DCIM100GOPROG0342640.

When we finally got to the entrance, Kendall rented a pair of pants for FREE and we went to the ticket counter to purchase our tickets for 500 baht a piece. This was pretty expensive for an attraction in Thailand, but it’s worth it to do it once.

DCIM100GOPROG0342642.

DCIM100GOPROG0352649.

DCIM100GOPROG0352650.

We spent several hours walking around looking at different temples, throne rooms, and artifacts. The only places we couldn’t wear shoes or take pictures was in the throne rooms and at the emerald Buddha.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2637.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2643.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2645.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2646.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2652.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2653.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2654.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2655.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2657.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2658.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2660.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2662.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2666.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2668.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2671.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2672.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2673.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2674.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2676.

After walking, it was super hot so we returned Kendall’s pants and we flagged down a tuk tuk driver who offered to take us to the Standing Buddha and back to the grand palace for 20 baht altogether if we would go into 2 tuxedo shops that he was an ambassador for. The standing Buddha is a 20ft, golden Buddah and we’re glad we saw it. It was also really nice to ride around town and sightsee.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2678.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2679.

IMG_2308

When we got back to the Grand Palace, we hopped on the sky train and went to pick up our custom suits that we order at the beginning of the trip. We both tried them on and they made some minor last minute alterations. They did an incredible job and really paid attention to details. I’m very satisfied with the outcome and cannot wait to wear it.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2613.

IMG_2278

When we were done, we headed back to our hotel where we could clean up and get ready for dinner. We rode the ferry to Asiatique, which is a really nice area on the water with a ton of different shops and restaurants to choose from.

IMG_2291IMG_2293IMG_2294IMG_2295IMG_2298

There was an excellent Italian restaurant we decided to try out and we really enjoyed it! We ordered 2 personal pizzas that were both delicious.

Afterwards, we headed straight back to our hotel so we could get some sleep. We would have an exhausting day flying back to the states the next day.

Thank you so much for following us along on our journey through Thailand! 🙂

 

 

Airport Anxiety

With spring break right around the corner, most people are flocking to warmer places! After anxiously waiting for the trip you’ve planned, the last thing you want to do is stress yourself to the max while at the airport. If you fail to plan ahead, your time at the airport could quickly become a nightmare. Here are some ways we make flying a smooth and simple process.

Whether you’re a frequent flyer or not, chances are you will find yourself at an airport you’ve never been to before. Since each airport is uniquely different, this may stress you out, so don’t be scared to look up a map online. By looking at the map you can get a feel for where all the terminals are and where the best food is. This will save you time and confusion.

Before you pack your bags, make sure you know all the bag requirements for your airline. Each airline has a different procedure and sometimes they can change their policy with little to no announcement. For example, American Airlines allows you to take one carry-on bag and one personal item. Your personal item could be a purse, pillow, backpack, etc.

Baggage.JPG

However, if you fly with Frontier they make you pay $35 for a carry-on bag if you purchase it through their website up to 24 hours before your scheduled flight. If you wait to check in your bag until you arrive at the airport, they will charge you $45…just for your carry on bag. Their prices vary for checked luggage as well. It’s better to do your research and make sure your bags fit the requirement. If you are boarding the plane and they notice your bag is too big, they will literally pull you out of line and make you pay for your bag and charge you $60! We’ve seen this happen and it’s all because they didn’t do their research and just assumed every airline had the same policies.

Click the links below to view the baggage policies for common American airlines:

Frontier Airlines , American Airlines , Spirit Airlines , Southwest Airlines , JetBlue , Allegiant Airlines , Delta Airlines , Hawaiian Airlines , Virgin America

Any bags that you are carrying onto the plane will need to go through security. (Keep in mind that security will not tell you if your bag is too big.) You also cannot have any liquid products over 4 oz. This means if you have a full bottle of sunscreen, perfume, toothpaste, shampoo etc. they will tell you to check in your bag or throw away the product. This happens so often that airport security have trash bins at each station ready to throw away products. We’ve seen this happen and it looks like a traumatizing event! Nothing worse than buying full-size supplies and having them thrown away before using them. Not to mention, you’ll have to buy the products at your final destination, which will probably be more expensive. You can find travel-friendly bottles and products at stores like Walmart or Target. There is usually a wall filled with tiny sized items specifically for traveling!

IMG_4364.JPG

Click here for a list of items you can and cannot bring with you on the plane.

If you are taking a larger suitcase that cannot be a carry-on due to size and weight, checking the bag in is your only option. Again, make sure you research how much your airline charges so you’re not caught off guard when you arrive at the ticketing desk! Typically, they cost around $15-$30 for your first bag. Most times, when you buy your flight online, the airline will give you an opportunity to check-in a bag at a reduced cost if you purchase it with your ticket. If you know you will be checking in your bag prior to the flight, take advantage of the discount!

IMG_3941.JPG
p.s. if you’re wondering why Taylor’s smile looks so forced, it’s because it was. He was battling an ulcer.

The great thing about technology is that you can now use your phone as your boarding pass! No more printing out pieces of paper and trying to keep track of them all! When you receive your boarding pass electronically, always, always, ALWAYS take a screenshot of it, because while technology seems great, it has its glitches and we all know how pesky the Airport WiFi can be. Even if you don’t end up using the screenshot, it’s important to have the backup.

 

 

Next, give yourself enough time to park your car, check your bag, get through security, and find your gate. What time are you flying? Is it at 5am when there is no traffic or 5pm during rush hour? Are you flying the day after a holiday when all of America is flying? And don’t forget about that long security line! If you are tense getting to the airport you will be tense until you get on the plane. Typically, domestic flights suggest arriving 2 hours before your flight and 3 hours for an international flight. It never hurts to be there too early.

You can make your life and the lives around you 5x less stressful if you pay attention and know what’s expected while going through security. Before they let you take your belongings through security, they will ask you for your ID and boarding pass. Too many people spend 20 minutes in line watching people go through the process and then when it’s their turn, they are fumbling around searching for their documents because they weren’t paying attention.

IMG_3939

When it’s time to have your belongings checked, make sure you take off anything that could possibly set the alarm off such as jewelry, electronics, belts, watches, etc. If you’re traveling with smaller children, keep in mind that they are expected to walk through security as well. Oh, and don’t forget to wear matching socks! 😉

IMG_4379

 

After you make it through security and find your gate, you’ll be tempted to shop around. Everyone loves a good book and snack on the plane, but these leisurely items can add up quickly when purchased within the airport because they always jack up the prices. Pack snack sized items in your carry-on and purchase your reading material beforehand. Don’t forget those headphones either!

IMG_4372.JPG

Hope this post helped! Happy Traveling!

Tips

Finding Flights

Taylor is the king of finding great airfare deals! When people ask us how we afford to travel so often it boils down to the cost of airfare. We NEVER pay the crazy full price for any of our tickets and people are usually amazed at how little we pay. Besides a lack of time, most people don’t travel because they don’t want to pay hundreds and thousands of dollars for a flight.

The internet is loaded with articles that will tell you how many days in advance to book a flight or which days you shouldn’t fly on, so this is not going to be another one of those posts. Because let’s be real, nobody actually buys their flight because this website said approximately 62 days before your trip your flight will be the cheapest. We also understand that everyone’s circumstances are different. What works best for us, may not work for someone else.

100_2266.JPG

The biggest piece of advice we can give you about finding the cheapest flight possible is always be persistent and be willing to be spontaneous. As soon as you know where and when you want to go, start researching flights. Flights change daily, so it helps to keep checking. However, airlines will drop their prices when they want to fill a flight and if you’re looking to get away on short notice, you can find excellent deals!

The number one site that we use is Sky Scanner. This website cuts our research in half by listing all the best deals from several different airlines all in one search. This saves us from having to go to each airline’s website and retyping everything. Taylor uses multiple pages to search different days, different airports, and sometimes flying to a destination just to catch a cheaper flight to where we originally wanted to go.

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 2.17.16 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 2.30.32 PM.png

One of our favorite features on Sky Scanner is the ability to look at the entire month and see which day is cheaper to fly to-and-from a destination. It’s no secret that flying on a Tuesday-Thursday can be A LOT cheaper than Friday-Monday. If your schedule is flexible, consider leaving on one of these days to save you a few dollars.

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 2.20.47 PM.png

Another favorite is Skip Lagged. This site will show you if your final destination is a layover for another flight. For example, when Taylor and I were looking for flights to San Francisco, all the flights were several hundred dollars. Taylor went on Skip Lagged and found a flight that was from Philadelphia to Phoenix, but the layover was in San Francisco and it was half the cost! We were only packing carry-on bags so it was such a smooth process. DO NOT MISS THIS: If you are checking in your bags, you may run into some trouble. When you go to check in a bag tell the ticketing desk that you want your bags sent to the layover location and they should do this with no hassle. It doesn’t hurt to check with the airline before you book the flight.

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 2.23.48 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 2.25.33 PM.png

When looking at the picture above, you’ll notice we were looking for a flight from Charlotte to Philadelphia. There were two flights that were going from CLT to LGA with a layover in PHL. By getting off the plane at the scheduled layover, we were able to save money. Win! Because of legal issues, you can’t just book the flight directly on this website. Unfortunately, you have to write down the flight number, airline, etc. and then go to the airline’s direct website to book the flight. Although it takes a bit longer, it can definitely be worth it. Also, YOU CAN NOT BOOK A ROUND TRIP TICKET! If you book a round trip ticket and get off at the layover destination the airline will cancel your remaining flight plans. So you need to book one way flights to-and-from your destination.

Don’t limit yourself to one airport. If it takes you an extra 15-45 minutes to get to another airport it’s worth researching, especially if the flight is cheaper! For example, it only takes us 20 minutes to get to the Greenville Airport and 1 hour to get to the Charlotte Airport, BUT the Greenville airfare is almost always double the price of Charlotte. So that extra drive is always worth it for us, even after parking expenses. You can use your better judgment with this.

100_2274.JPG

Don’t park in the parking garage unless absolutely necessary. Don’t get me wrong, parking garages seem like an easy idea, but we would disagree. Not only are you overpaying, but you have to drive around looking for an open parking spot and then carry all your luggage down the stairs, across the street, and then into the airport. Most airports have long -term parking lots where you can park your car for as little as $5 a day. This includes 24-7 transportation to-and-from the airport. They will pick you and your bags up at your car and then drop you off directly at your desired gate while unloading your bags. These parking lots are typically called Park and Fly or Park and Jet etc.

If you are from America and looking to do an overseas vacation, look for the cheapest country to fly into. For example, Taylor and I wanted to go to China, but flights were outrageous so we looked for other options. We discovered that it was much, much cheaper to fly in-and-out of Thailand and then catch a separate flight into China from there. We could have spent $1,200 on a flight to China, but the flight in-and-out of Thailand and the flight to China totaled only $800. So we were able to spend 5 days in Thailand while saving $500! Make sure you leave a little wiggle room for delays and the unexpected if you don’t plan on staying in the other country.

IMG_5790.jpg

If you are already at the airport and have an idea when you will be flying next, ask the airline desk what their best prices are for that date. During our long-distant relationship days, Taylor and I would already have an idea when we would see each other next and what airlines were offering online. When one of us was flying, we would go to the desk in the airport and ask for their price and they were ALWAYS offering a better rate. We’re not sure why, but it was totally worth it! One time, Taylor got himself a $50 round trip flight which was a fourth of the price airlines were offering online!

And last, as scary as this may be, airlines know EXACTLY what you are researching, how often you bring up a webpage, how often you’re on the page, and what you’re clicking on. Websites will raise their airline prices if they notice you searching for a flight, different hotels, and different restaurants in a specific area. They will know exactly when you’ll be there and how desperate you are to get there. Scary I know, but very true. The best way to avoid this is to delete your “cookies” and web history. You can also try searching in the incognito window if you are a google chrome user.

100_2267.JPG

If you enjoyed reading this post and want to see similar content, make sure you “like it” and follow us by clicking on the “Follow Us” button in the menu! Thank you! 🙂

Thailand Tips & Tricks

Within 4 days, we got the perfect taste of Thailand because we traveled through the city, countryside, and beach. This was our first trip, which gave us plenty of tips-and-tricks for the next time we visit! If you plan on visiting, these may be helpful!

  1. Be aware of the time difference and try your hardest to adjust on the plane ride over. Taylor and I knew we would be getting to Bangkok at 1:30am their time so we fought to stay awake so we would be able to fall asleep when we arrived. If we had fallen asleep on the plane, the jet lag would have gotten the best of us and it would have been extremely hard to adjust.
  2. It’s hot…ALL THE TIME. Every day was at least 90 with extreme humidity. They also have a rainy season, so be prepared.
  3. Don’t forget sunscreen! Chances are, you are a lot closer to the equator than you realize.
  4. Dress appropriately. Most temples have a dress code that is strictly enforced so do your research. This will save you time and money.
  5. Exchange your money through an ATM. Believe it or not, the fee is less than an exchange center at the airport.
  6. Download a currency exchange app and save your receipts. This will keep you aware of how much you’re actually spending and not just guessing.
  7. If you’re arriving at the BKK Airport, get off the plane as quickly as possible because you will have to stand in customs for at least an hour. There will be at least 20 stations, but only 3 people working. It’s pretty much like being in line at Wal-Mart. Make sure your arrival card is filled out before you land.
  8. Do your research! Trip Advisor will tell you the best activities and places to eat.
  9. If traveling to the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, or Wat Arun, take a river taxi. This is the most scenic route and probably cheaper than a taxi.
  10. If you have one weekend in Bangkok, go to the Chatuchak weekend market. It’s only open Saturday and Sunday from 9am – 6pm and Fridays 6pm-midnight. The 35-acre area of Chatuchak is home to more than 8,000 market shops where you’ll find the perfect gifts and souvenirs. Be prepared to bargain everything and anything with a friendly smile.
  11. If you are paying with a credit card, make sure they accept the card carrier BEFORE you decide to purchase or eat. Some places will let you use your card, but will charge an additional fee to use it.
  12. Don’t be afraid to take public transportation. We found the sky train very simple and way cheaper.
  13. There are 2 airports in Thailand with a free shuttle to transport you between the two! The trip will take about an hour and all you need to do is show them your flight itinerary.
  14. If you’re planning on visiting the beach, there are several busses at the airport ready to take you!
  15. Make friends!! Don’t be afraid to step outside your bubble and meet new people from all over the world. There’s no telling who you’ll meet along the way.

Arriving in Bangkok

We made it!! After a 14 hour flight from Newark, New Jersey to Beijing, China, then 5 hours from Beijing to Bangkok we have successfully made it to Thailand.

IMG_3168

 

image4.JPG

We left bright and early from Pennsylvania at 6am in order to be at the airport by 9. With international travel, they recommend being there 3 hours before your flight in order to get through baggage and security. We flew economy with Air China and although it was long, we made friends on the plane, the food wasn’t awful, and the flight went smoothly.

We were supposed to have a 5 hour layover in Beijing, but our flight was delayed and it ended up being around 7 hours. We walked around to stretch our legs, exchanged currency, and went to a Pizza Hut to satisfy Taylor’s unending love for pizza.

IMG_3169

We would be arriving in Bangkok at 1:30am their time so we wanted to refrain from sleeping at the airport so that we would fall asleep at the hotel. Little did we know that it would take 1 hour to get through customs and security. IT WAS SO HARD TO STAY AWAKE. We took a taxi straight to our hotel and it cost us $13.89 in USD. Thankfully it paid off and we knocked out as soon as we arrived at the hotel.

IMG_3260

When planning our trip, we didn’t schedule anything for Saturday because we knew we would be exhausted. I’m so glad we assumed this because we slept for 9 hours and then decided to go to the pool. There was a Starbucks next to our hotel so of course I got some before we set out for the day. My normal Grande Iced Skinny Vanilla Latte only cost me $3.75 in U.S. Dollars.

IMG_1537

image1 (1).JPG

Around 4pm we hopped aboard the sky train and headed to the Grand Palace. Once we got off the train we loaded onto a Long Tail boat which would take us up and down the river. Unfortunately, the Grand Palace was closed when we got there, but it was really fun to ride up and down the river. The boat cost 14 Baht which is equal to 75 cents in American dollars for the both of us.

IMG_3185

IMG_3174

image3.JPG

IMG_3178

IMG_3193

IMG_3199

IMG_3188

IMG_3172

IMG_3186

IMG_3191

IMG_3196

image4.JPG

IMG_3213

IMG_3220

 

IMG_3224

When our ride was over, we decided to stop at some malls to check our their local shopping and then get some dinner. After looking at all the menus, we finally decided to eat at the White Flower Factory. It was super yummy! They had a mix of Thai and European foods.

IMG_3254

IMG_3235

Taylor ordered an Apple/Kiwi smoothie and I had a Mango one. They were so fresh and delicious!

After our garlic bread appetizer I had a pesto fettuccine with salmon and Taylor ordered salmon and rice. Our meal cost us $19.73 in USD.

IMG_3242

IMG_3237

IMG_3251

IMG_3247

IMG_3253

After dinner we walked through a local market and then headed back to the hotel for the night. It only cost us $3.05 round trip for the both of us to get to and from all our adventures on the Sky Train.

IMG_3255

We have a BIG day planned for tomorrow and we need some rest.