Frugal Travel Tips For Bangkok, Thailand

With the currency exchange, it is difficult not to find frugal attractions in Bangkok, Thailand. However, there are a few tips to make travel dollars stretch even further and to better the travel experience.

The Grand Palace And The Temple Of The Emerald Buddha

Yes, there is an entrance fee (200 Baht, roughly $6 U.S.) but this sight is a must see for any visitor to Bangkok. It hosts a range of Thai architecture.

Temples and other national monuments have a strict dress code. No shorts, sleeveless tops, or risqué dress. This is true of most religious places the world over but in Thailand, travelers should also not wear open heeled sandals (there must be a strap behind the heel).

Thai Customs

Which leads to some Thai customs that savvy travelers observe.

Shorts are considered appropriate only for children and the lower class.

The head is considered sacred (closest to the heavens) so do not touch. Actually try not to touch the locals at all.

Feet are also to be treated with care. To point your feet at a person is considered a grave insult and to sit with soles exposed extremely rude (especially in religious places). Sit with feet tucked under the body.

No public displays of affection. Keep that for the privacy of your room.

As with most countries, but especially Thailand, do not criticize the local government or monarchy.

This may seem like a lot of rules but most apply to almost every country a traveler is a guest in.

Also the Thai people are extremely polite so they are unlikely to express their disapproval.

Chatuchak Park Weekend Market

This is where frugal travelers buy their souvenirs. With over 15,000 stalls (pick up a free map at information kiosks), there is plenty to choose from. This is a place to haggle. Never take the first offer. Also be very wary of fakes (fake antiques, fake jewelry, etc) and of pickpockets (keep some small bills in an easily accessible pocket and hide the wallet away).

What to buy? Almost anything, especially handicrafts. My mother is an elephant lover and Thailand, with reverence of the animal, was the ideal place to pick up teak carvings (be careful of wood drying and cracking when you return home).

Wat Pho (Temple Of The Reclining Buddha)

With another very, very inexpensive entrance fee (20 Baht), Wat Pho is the largest and oldest Buddhist Temple in Bangkok. The highlight is, of course, the 46 meter long, gold covered Reclining Buddha. However, the buildings and I found the orchids were also noteworthy.

Bangkok is a bargain hunters paradise. Attractions, dining and shopping is inexpensive.

10 Tips For Planning A Corporate Incentive Travel Program

Corporate incentive travel is a great way to motivate and reward your valuable employees. Incentive travel can be group or individual, and the destination can be local or international. But every successful incentive travel program begins with careful planning.

The following are tips to help you plan a corporate travel program that fits your company’s culture, size and available budget:

* Determine your corporate incentive program goals. In specific terms, establish what the incentive program should accomplish. This could be an increase in sales, increase in production output or profits, or a reduction in defective products, sales returns or lost contracts. Be sure to assign a value to the improvement or reduction – a percentage, absolute number of units or contracts, or a dollar figure.

* Select the target group for the program. This could be management, employees, salespeople, or even customers.

* Discover what the target’s values, interests and preferences through paper surveys or interviews. Then browse our corporate incentives guide to match up preferences with available packages in your budget range.

* Considering past performance and employee behavior, establish reasonable tasks for your target group.

* Make sure you have a performance tracking system in place with a clear way to measure incentive program results.

* Brainstorm what obstacles may exist to the success of the incentive program. This could be current employee morale, organizational structure or market conditions.

* Determine whether the program will be managed internally or outsourced to an agency.

* Understand applicable tax implications. Travel can be taxable to recipients under certain conditions, and special tax forms may be required.

* When selecting a corporate incentive travel company, make sure it agrees to fulfill what is promised for your budgeted cost, and that you understand its cancellation policies.

* At the end of your program, survey winners and non-winners to determine whether the program was successful in meeting the objective.

Corporate Travel on a Smaller Budget

Even if you can’t afford to whisk your top performers away to Europe on a private jet, you can still reward your employees with incentive travel that they can enjoy.

If you can afford to send your team away on a teambuilding retreat, it doesn’t have to be far away. Campsites and resorts, even a day on a chartered boat can create a memorable experience. For individuals, it’s a better idea to send your recipient somewhere exotic enough to be memorable. If possible, allowing a spouse or children to accompany your employee is also a good idea.

An employee incentive getaway generally lasts from three nights to a full week, but weekend getaways can also work for smaller budgets. Accommodation could be in a bed and breakfast. Check travel and hotel websites often to catch their “travel best bets.”

Conclusion

For any corporate incentive travel program to accomplish its goal, you must determine how much you can spend, what options are available and what people want. And you must anticipate potential problems both within and without your organization. A clear system for measuring results will help you with future planning. Even on a smaller budget, corporate incentive travel can benefit your organization.

Frugal Travel Tips For Las Vegas Attractions

I don’t gamble so I often get asked why I visit Las Vegas at least once a year. The answer? The free attractions make Las Vegas a frugal traveler’s paradise (and we’ll save the dining discussion for another article). Almost every casino has some sort of freebie gimmick to attract gamblers. In this article, I will cover, what I consider to be the must-see’s to give tourists a flavor of Las Vegas.

The Fountain Show At Bellagio

With nightfall comes the fountain shows at Bellagio. In the massive pool of water on the Strip side of the casino, illuminated spirts of water dance to a variety of music, popular, classical and even opera. They usually operate every 15 minutes (check with the casino to ensure), with a different song and show each time.

Sirens Of TI

Every night, in front of Treasure Island on the Strip, a battle takes place between sexy sirens and renegade male pirates. There are usually four identical kid friendly shows nightly. Get there early for best viewing (especially if you are vertically challenged). Stand close and you could get a bit wet.

Circus Circus Shows

Approximately every half hour in the Circus Circus casino on the Strip, there are free yet world class midway acts including jugglers and trapeze acts. I stayed for three shows and all three were different.

Freemont Street Experience

Las Vegas is more than the Strip. Situated in the heart of downtown, the historic Freemont Street Experience is a pedestrian walkway, covered by what they bill as the biggest big screen on the planet. There are street performers, vendors and every night at multiple times, a light and sound show.

Ethel M’s Chocolate Tour And Botanical Cactus Garden

Want to get away from the Strip yet do something free? Check out the Ethel M Chocolate Factory (One Sunset Way). A must for chocolate connoisseurs (I have purchased chocolate from all over the world for my Mom, her favorite is Ethel M’s), there is a self guided tour, free samples, and products for sale.

Outside there is the Botanical Cactus Garden with over 350 kinds of cacti, succulents from the local area and around the world (also free admission).

Note: There is an Ethel M’s at the airport if you are concerned about chocolate melting (check hours of operation as every time I go, its closed).

There are many, many other free attractions in Las Vegas. Attractions that are changed often to ensure the city remains fresh, exciting and a frugal traveler’s paradise.

Vacation Travel Deals Tips – A Few Ideas for Saving on Future Travel Expenses

Any savvy traveler knows to use comparison shopping websites to find vacation travel deals. It’s very easy to combine every leg of a journey online these days, without having to hire a travel agent to search for deals on your behalf.

You can start the planning process by getting organized. Determine your budget, come up with some dates (the more flexible, the better), and make a list of destinations you would like to consider. Find out when the tourist season is for each of the destinations and look for deals during OFF season, when airfare and hotels will be a lot cheaper.

Another way to find vacation travel deals is to wait for last minute discounts to pop up. This can be a great way to save if you are not particularly picky about where and when you are going. Many of the leading travel discount sites offer apps and free newsletters that will alert you of all of the best deals daily, weekly, or monthly. You can also use apps to track plane ticket and hotel prices.

Always take advantage of free membership programs, like frequent flyer programs, credit card points, military discounts, student discounts, group discounts, Triple A programs, and so forth. Even if you’re not sure if you qualify for any special discount or reward, it’s still worth looking into.

If you want to go on a cruise, check into repositioning cruise offers. Since cruise lines move their ships around different regions during the season, there are short periods of time when they offer discounts to tourists. These are referred to as one-way repositioning cruises, and are significantly less than the regular high-season cruise. The only problem with this type of cruise is that your journey will end at another city from where you started out at – in another region of the country or even continent. Because of this, you will have to make sure the one-way airfare back home is worth the discount of the cruise.

Additional Tips for Cheaper Vacation Travel Deals

Wednesdays are typically the cheapest days to fly domestically, followed by Tuesday. Be on the lookout for popup deals right after midnight on Wednesday mornings and just after 3 PM on Tuesdays.

If you will be traveling with family, one of the very first things to look for is a hotel that offers free meals for kids. Also, don’t rent a car right at the airport because airport car rental rates tend to cost a lot more than the rates of off-airport rental offices – even if it’s the same company. Book your room at a hotel that is easy to get to from the airport. Some even offer free shuttles back and forth.

When shopping online for vacation travel deals, carefully read over the details so you’ll know exactly what the price covers.

You’ll be guaranteed to save on your next trip by booking online. Discounts on cruises, all inclusive packages, airfare, entertainment, and other travel related expenses are frequently popping up. It’s easy to get access to the best vacation travel deals.