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American Makes It Harder for Agents to Rebook Coach Passengers on the Competition

American Airlines

American Airlines passengers check in at Philadelphia’s airport. American is making it tougher for coach passengers to rebooked on other airlines. American Airlines

Skift Take: It’s reasonable to ask whether airline re-accommodation agreements still make sense in 2018. In how many industries will one company happily hand you over to the competition after a slight service hiccup? But road warriors love these deals. It means they can get home, or to an important meeting, even when their favorite airline screws up.

— Brian Sumers

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Senate Passes Bill to Set Minimum Size for Airplane Seats

Southwest Airlines

The new aviation bill passed by the Senate calls for the FAA to regulate airline seat size. But the FAA will be focused on seat safety, not comfort. Pictured is Southwest Airlines’ unveils 737-800 interior. Southwest Airlines

Skift Take: Not much happens on a bipartisan basis in Washington anymore. But lawmakers often agree about aviation policy. Yes, some Democrats wanted to put limits on airline fees but that always seemed like a far-fetched idea. For better or worse, Congress deregulated U.S. airlines 40 years ago.

— Brian Sumers

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Thailand Launches Charm Offensive to Reverse Chinese Visitor Decline

James Kieran Nguyen / Flickr

Chinese arrivals to Krabi, Thailand, pictured here, have fallen sharply this year. James Kieran Nguyen / Flickr

Skift Take: Thailand has had a contentious relationship with Chinese tourists in recent years, to say the least. Between a crackdown on cheap tours and a deadly boat accident, Thailand realizes it needs to do better at rolling out the welcome mat.

— Dan Peltier

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Iceland Tourism Growth Is Dramatically Slowing

Zeb Goodman / PlacePass

Tourists do some whale watching in Akureyri Fjord, Iceland. After torrential tourism growth in 2016, the growth in arrivals is slowing this year. Zeb Goodman / PlacePass

Skift Take: Although Icelandair and Wow Air are facing new challenges, it would be difficult to conclude that the country’s overtourism problems are behind it. Maybe this could be an opportunity for Iceland tourism to pause, and consider next steps.

— Dennis Schaal

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SeaWorld Reports Summer Attendance Spike

Jeremy Polanski / Flickr

A killer whale is shown under water from a viewing area at SeaWorld Orlando in this photo from 2016. The company is reporting an attendance spike. Jeremy Polanski / Flickr

Skift Take: SeaWorld has been making it more affordable for people to visit its parks and sweetening the deal at some locations with free beer. Those tactics seem to be working, according to preliminary figures for the summer.

— Hannah Sampson

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4 Trends Defining Tourism Marketing in 2018

Visit Carlsblad

Carlsbad, California, launched a campaign earlier this year to showcase the colors it associates with the destinations that also happen to be popular on social media. Visit Carlsblad

Skift Take: We’ve seen a lot of tried-and-true marketing tactics from destinations this year, but we also saw some newer, smarter strategies on how to use the masses of content and opinions available these days, thanks to social media.

— Dan Peltier

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10 Romantic Things for Couples to Do in Thailand

10 Romantic Things for Couples to do in Thailand

Hey guys! It’s Michael and Alexandra from Couple’s Coordinates, and we are excited to be contributing to TBA again.

Since we last wrote for TBA, we have visited 15 new countries and have had some pretty romantic experiences. Last year we even got married in Bora Bora! For our first blog back with the team at TBA, we wanted to share some of our favorite romantic things for couples to do in Thailand.

We recently spent 2 weeks in Thailand and had the opportunity to island hop and see the gorgeous mainland of Thailand from the city streets of Bangkok to the countryside of Chiang Mai.

Couple in Thailand

Hike to the Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint

Koh Phi Phi is one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand and is world famous for a couple of reasons: The Leonardo DiCaprio movie The beach and the 2004 tsunami that struck the island.

Since 2004 a lot has changed; volunteers and aid workers helped bring the island back to life and then investment fueled the development of the island. It has, admittedly, become a bit touristy, but there are still loads of places on the island where you’ll feel completely alone with your significant other and the locals.

Couple the heat and humidity with a ton of stairs and you’re sure to be a bit sweaty when you reach the top. Don’t worry though; the view will completely overshadow your partner being a bit smelly.

Couple in Thailand

Bathe Elephants in Chiang Mai

We have traveled to over 30 countries together as a couple and have had the opportunity to engage in some pretty incredible activities that have been romantic, exhilarating, and just plain fun. Of all of these activities, bathing elephants at a sanctuary in Chiang Mai might top the list.

We spent the day hiking around the Elephant Nature Park feeding and bathing elephants. We had the opportunity to learn about the damage humans do to elephants and educate ourselves on these incredible creatures. Elephants are just HUGE puppies.

They are smart, loyal, and love playing.

Take note of places in Thailand (as well as India, Africa, etc.) which allow you to ride elephants. These places invariably harm the elephants to train them to give rides to tourists. Elephant Nature Reserve and other similar parks are sanctuaries that rescue elephants.

Couple in Thailand

Treat Yourselves to a Fancy and Romantic, Yet Cheap, Dinner

For those of us in the “Western” world, Thailand is an incredibly affordable destination to visit. You’ll love being able to have romantic and “fancy” dinners with your partner on the cheap.

Sure, meals can reach $100 or more at nice resorts, but you’ll find loads of incredible restaurants where you and your partner can dine in style for $20-30. Heck, we can’t even go to Chipotle for $20 here in the States.

Couple in Thailand

Couple in Thailand

Skinny Dip at Your Villa

When you have a private pool at your villa, there is absolutely no reason to wear a bathing suit. We enjoyed a villa with a private pool and sunbathing deck while we were staying on Koh Samui.

The island, itself, is gorgeous and romantic, but spending the afternoon swimming and lounging nude with your significant other can really elevate the romance.

Or come inside and take a nice bubble bath when it starts pouring rain outside!

Couple in Thailand

Couple in Thailand

Hire a Boat

Speaking of that incredible exchange rate….you can hire a private long-tail boat and explore the coastline as well as other islands for about $50 USD a day. Some of our favorite days in Thailand were spent on a boat exploring the Phi Phi Islands or the coastline of Krabi.

The boats are super cute and provide you the opportunity to reach remote areas of islands and secluded beaches that you might otherwise not be able to reach by foot.

You don’t need a yacht or a fancy boat to have an incredible time with your partner on the sea. These long-tail boats are quite romantic and charming in their own right.

The men who sail them happen to have a lifetime of experience and a wealth of knowledge of the area. They can be your personal tour guide for the day!

Couple in Thailand

Couple in Thailand

Snorkel Maya Beach

Maya Beach is the famous beach on Phi Phi Lee where Leo shot the movie The Beach, but the best parts of the island are actually on the back side of the island. Maya Beach has been closed to tourism over the last year or so because of litter and damage to the surrounding reefs.

Unfortunately, many tourists treat this gorgeous oasis as a garbage can. Head around the back of the island on a boat and snorkel with the locals (the many species of fish) and the gorgeous coral reef.

The water is warm, clear, and absolutely beautifully blue.

To explore all that Phi Phi Lee and Maya Beach have to offer, wake up early, hire a long-tail boat, and explore for the day. The crowds don’t usually show up until after 09:00, so if you’re an early riser like we are, you can have the beach to yourself.

There’s a reason so many of our photos have no humans in the background…we don’t edit them out…we explore before they’re awake.

Couple in Thailand

Couple in Thailand

Explore Railay Beach

Railay Beach is one of the most famous coves and stretches of beach in Krabi. To reach the beach, you’ll need to hire a long-tail boat and sail over.

Once here you can explore the surrounding area, rock climb, or swim in the gorgeous water and lay on the beach and relax with a good book as we did!

The cliffs that encompass Railay Beach are the steep, ubiquitous, cliffs seen throughout the Krabi province. They’re lush and green while simultaneously steep and rocky. The scenery at Railay is absolutely breathtaking, and you can reach this beach quite easily from the nearby town of Ao Nang.

Couple in Thailand

Couples Massage

The Thai are fantastic masseuses. One of the best benefits of traveling in Asia – especially Thailand and Bali – is the prevalence of massage parlors and the incredibly affordable prices of massages. While in Thailand we got a couples massage almost daily because they are often as cheap as $5/person.

When we “splurged,” our massages were about $20-30/person.

Too bad even mediocre massages in the US are usually $100! When we lived in Bali, we got massages on a regular basis, and we would absolutely do the same if we lived in Thailand. So take advantage of the affordable therapy and pamper yourselves.

Couple in Thailand

Take a Muay Thai Class

We trained with a professional Muay Thai fighter and got our asses kicked! The workout was strenuous, but the experience was awesome. Neither of us had ever practiced Muay Thai before our trip to Thailand, but we had an absolute blast. We even wore the traditional Muay Thai boxing shorts for fun.

Many resorts offer Muay Thai classes as an added amenity, and there is a myriad of Muay Thai gyms around Thailand that would be happy to welcome you as a guest and provide an introductory training.

If you’re looking for an affordable and extremely romantic destination, Thailand would be a great place for you and your partner to visit in 2018. As we approach the fall, flights will inevitably get cheaper as well.

You should be able to fly round-trip from the west coast of the United States for around $700. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to ask us in the comments below. We will get to as many of you as possible!

Couple in Thailand

Go White Water Rafting

We had the chance to go white water rafting on a river near Chiang Mai. Just as we were about to get into the boat, the heavens opened up, and we had a massive, torrential, downpour of rain. Subsequently, we were soaking wet before we even got in the boat.

The rafting experience was an excellent way to see some more remote areas of Chiang Mai, get a good workout, and enjoy an adrenaline rush.

For detailed travel tips on Thailand, check out our Thailand travel guide.

The post 10 Romantic Things for Couples to Do in Thailand appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.