When you arrive at the airport there are kiosks that allow you to switch out your SIM card to buy a Thailand data plan. It is significantly cheaper than paying for international data and is extremely useful.
To do this you need to first contact your phone carrier to have your phone unlocked. This is free, but it can take up to 48 hours. If you have Verizon – your phone is already unlocked. If you have AT&T – Your phone needs to be paid off and then they will process your request to unlock your phone within 48 hours. I borrowed an older iPhone to do this as I have AT&T and am locked into a plan where it is not beneficial to pay off your phone (rolls eyes).
We opted for the 14 days of unlimited data and it cost us $15. TOTAL. UNLIMITED. AT&T international day plans were $10 a DAY and limited the GB you could use. We chose the AIS Kiosk…as they were the only one open near our baggage claim. I’ve heard they are all the same with minimal price discrepancies.
Grab Taxi – Similar to Uber. Also gives you the option to ride on the back of a motor bike. Very cheap. We used this OFTEN and also would occasionally ask if our drivers were willing to stick around at our destination until we were done – as sometimes it is hard to get another driver in remote areas. Grab Taxi also offers a built in text translation tool to use if you realize you forgot your wallet or whatnot and need to turn around.
Maps.Me – I used this in Cuba and loved it. You can download the map for each country before you leave (as you need wifi to do so). This is especially great if you do not have data. Otherwise you can just use google maps.
Mobile Passport: This app is designed and authorized by the US Customs and Border Protection. I used this to skip the line at customs when I arrived home in Seattle. Simple to use and free.
ATMs are plentiful, but we tried to keep at least 1000 baht each on us at all times, because you would never know when you would run into a place that was cash only or if you’re in a pinch to get a taxi home where Grab Taxi isn’t working.
I utilized my Pacsafe Travelsafe 5L GII Portable Safe in the hostels that didn’t have safes. We had no issues, but when you have an extra phone and a camera that you’d rather not have stolen, it was nice for the peace of mind. I bought my own lock and would simply wrap the safe around an immovable surface like the metal on the headboard of my bed or around the bathroom sink.