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There’s a reason that Thailand is the most popular of the countries in Southeast Asia to visit. Compared to it’s neighbors, this is a country with great infrastructure, plenty of the amenities that matter to foreign visitors (like fast wifi and spa therapies), and a high percentage of English speaking locals who always seem happy to help. In addition, the cell phone networks are great; check out local recommendations in our Southeast Asia Cell Phone Guide.

Thailand is often referred to as the ‘land of smiles,’ and most visitors that I know would agree. The climate is fantastic, the food is out of this world, and your first world dollar goes a lot further here than it does at home. In the past few years it’s become a hot spot for the digital nomad crowd and if you’re looking for a place to hunker down and spend a few weeks to a few months developing your work-life balance, you’d be hard pressed to find a better place to do it than Thailand.

Of course the two big logistical questions are always transportation and accommodation. Where will you stay? How will you get there? This post consolidates the best of our resources on those topics, brought to you, first hand, by people who’ve lived and worked in Thailand extensively.

Have something to add? Has something changed and you want to update us? Leave a note in the comments and we’d be grateful.

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I first traveled to Thailand while living in Madagascar. Going from one tropical country to another, I figured that packing for three weeks in Thailand would be just like any other trip I had taken in Madagascar.

I was only sort of right. While my bug spray and rain jacket were essential, I brought absolutely the wrong pair of shoes, and didn’t fully think about how developed, or conservative, Thailand is (let’s just say, I wasn’t prepared for AC on busses).

Now, after having spent quite a bit of time there, my packing list is much more Thailand-friendly. So for your next trip to Thailand, use this easy guide to help you figure out what to pack for Thailand:

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Air travel can be especially daunting for many travelers. Today’s version of air travel differs greatly from that of yesteryear. Today, people travel in comfortable casual clothing instead of wearing their Sunday best. Today there are restrictions on when to arrive, what to carry, and how much ‘stuff’ we can pack; as opposed to when travelers would show up, talk to an agent, carry on their paper ticket and check whatever luggage they thought they’d need.

My husband and I look forward to those long haul flights (and we regularly travel in economy class). I know it may sound strange, but it’s true. Once we can get ourselves to the airport, we let out a long sigh and know that the journey has begun. Once in flight, we’re stuck, but in a good way. There’s no gym to go to, no dishes to do, no errands to run, no hikes to go on, and (most of the time) no way to respond to those last minute emails. You’re officially tuned out. What you can do is enjoy this time to read what you like, watch what you like, play games, rest, snack, meditate, eat, chat and unwind. Let the pilot fly the plane while you get to go along for the ride.

What you pack for these flights will go a long way towards improving the experience and creating joy in the journey, whether it’s the food you bring or the comfort items that soothe you hours into a long haul flight, give some thought to the air time on either end of your adventure, and pack specifically for it.

Packing for a Long Haul Flight

What’s a long haul flight? In my opinion, anything over 5 hours. That 23 hour marathon to Thailand with a crazy layover in Abu Dhabi certainly counts. When planning for a long haul flight, comfort is key.

The Basics

Channel your inner Santa: Make that packing list and be sure to check it twice. Essentials and necessities make the cut, the rest is optional. What do you throw on when you get home after a long day to be your most comfortable? Make that feeling your goal of in flight.

  • Comfortable, loose clothing
  • Extra layer for warmth on those often freezing flights or roll them into a pillow for sleeping comfort
  • Slip on shoes that are easily removable for those TSA line moments and to allow room for in flight swelling
  • Clean feet and clean socks: Smartwool for warmth or dryness or check out compression socks as a possibility
  • Eye mask and ear plugs for those moments of much needed silence and darkness

Paperwork

No matter where you’re going or for how long your journey, you need proof of who you are. Grab those forms of identification and make and copies of everything from your passport and credit cards, to your driver’s license and health cards. These copies should be in the bag you have with on the airplane. Don’t make the mistake of checking them in your luggage. Some travelers even store an extra copy on their smartphones. Don’t forget to call your banks ahead of time to add those travel notifications and double check that you’ll have no fees abroad.

  • Passport
  • Local ID
  • Boarding pass
  • Copy of itinerary
  • Copies of important documents
  • Extra passport photos
  • Petty cash
  • Debit card/credit card(s)

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