A holiday in Phuket is like a dream, with its gorgeous beaches, stunning blue seas and charming history and culture. Making that dream come true is remarkably easy – just book your flight, book your accommodation, pack your bags and you’re on your way. The worry of cost is what puts some people off, but excellent deals are widely available.
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Big savings on flights is a huge subject in itself, and one which is a great challenge to discuss. Even airline staff sometimes seem to barely understand how their own pricing structure works. Fortunately, getting great deals on accommodation in Phuket is a lot simpler and can save you a lot of money, leaving you with more of your holiday budget to spend on fantastic Thai food, souvenirs, shows, attractions and more once you get here.
An important place to start is to think about exactly what you want out of your accommodation. Phuket has a great deal of choice, from tiny guesthouses to luxury villas and everything in between. Just saying “cheap” is not helpful because you could well be surprised by quite what you can get on even a very tight budget. You don’t have to endure a grotty guesthouse in an unpleasant part of town just because it is “cheap”.
This is Phuket we’re talking about, so the natural desire is for a beachfront hotel. Those immaculate stretches of perfect white sand, skirted by clean, warm tropical seas, are just crying out for you to lay out your towel and enjoy them, so staying right by them is practically a must. With the tropical heat, you need some ways to cool off, too. A swimming pool is best during the day while a comfortable room with first-class amenities (including fully controllable air conditioning) is a must for the evenings. Almost none of these can be provided by a budget guesthouse.
Admittedly, it cannot be denied that a little guesthouse will generally have cheaper rooms, but that is not a “good deal” because you will not enjoy your stay. Inadequate accommodation may make your holiday less expensive, but it is still money wasted if it ruins your whole trip!
So, you want a beachfront hotel with a pool and great rooms – that means a five-star facility, which you might be thinking means a big price tag. You would be wrong, since it is possible to get great deals on accommodation in Phuket.
The first method for saving money is an obvious one – book well ahead. The further ahead you plan, the more money you can save. Conversely, booking closer to your travel date means you have fewer rooms and fewer hotels to choose from and those that are left will generally be more expensive.
Booking for a stay in the off-season can also be a big money-saver on both flights and accommodation. Phuket has a very hot and sunny high season and a very wet low season, but there are a few months in between, just as one is ending and the other is beginning, where the hotel prices are low and the weather is usually mostly ok, if you’re lucky. It’s a big gamble, but the savings can be worth it.
Next comes the actual method of booking, where some of the most extreme variations in price can be found. Aside from booking directly though the hotel website, you will usually also find the same hotel on the websites of the majority of the leading travel agencies, particularly if it happens to be a good one. Check and compare the prices for each one and you are likely to find quite a spread as some companies have better special offers than others.
If you do know the accommodation you want and the time frame you want to stay there, don’t feel like you have to book it that very second. While early booking does save you some money, patience could save you considerably more. Wait for a special offer to show up – it generally won’t be long. Just don’t leave it too late, obviously. Keep track of the number of rooms left available and don’t let it creep too low before finally booking.
Finally, remember to make the most of special vouchers. Travel magazines, websites and TV programs sometimes have special booking codes and some frequent flyer services and credit cards have special deals with certain hotels or travel agents. It might seem like a lot of effort to go to for a handful of baht’s difference, but every baht saved on accommodation is a baht you can spend on something else.