There are not many direct flights from the United States to Phuket, Thailand, but there are tons of cheap flights to Phuket each day that make only one stop. Phuket, Thailand is served by its own Phuket International Airport (HKT), which is the second busiest airport in Thailand. The airport currently sees 6.5 million passengers a year, but is in the process of a huge expansion (as of 2013) that will bring the capacity up to 12.5 million passengers annually. The airport serves as a gateway to the gorgeous Phuket. The minute you get off your Phuket flight, you will be in awe of the sheer beauty that surrounds you.
Phuket is a relatively small island. It's only about 48 kilometres by 21 kilometres, but you will still need transportation once your Phuket flight lands. Local transportation options include songthaews -- or open-air blue buses -- that run between the main resorts and Phuket Town, and micro buses, which are traditional air-conditioned buses that run between the town and the biggest beach (Patong). Songthaews are the cheapest form of transportation.
Other transportation options include renting a car with a driver (which is relatively cheap), renting a car or motorbike and driving yourself (however you need an international license and you should keep in mind that driving etiquette is very different from western locales) or by renting a bicycle. Another option is to hire a taxi or tuk tuk. However, be wary because some taxi and tuk tuk drivers don't have metres and try to scam their passengers by charging unfair fees.
Phuket is known for its beaches. If you prefer to explore the less crowded ones, you may want to visit Nai Yang. Go snorkelling and relax on some of the more deserted islands that are only a short boatride away. Among the most popular are Ko Rok Nok, Phi Phi, and James Bond Island (yes, where one of the movies was filmed, so it's very crowded).
For a different experience, don't miss out on the beautifully preserved area of rainforest that remains in the north. The Khao Phra Thaeo non-hunting area encapsulates three peaks that stand up to 422 metres tall. The Sirinat National Park protects the forest and the Nai Yang beach where sea turtles come to lay their eggs. While here, don't miss out on visiting the Gibbons Rehabilitation Project.
Put some of the money you saved by finding a cheap flight to Phuket to good use and enjoy the shopping, dining and night life on the island. Phuket's Old Town offers tons of shops, bars and cafes where you can buy locally made gifts and eat spectacular Thai food. The Naiyang Park restaurant offers authentic Thai food and is attached to the popular Hangout bar. If you're ready for a break from Thai food, try Siam Supper Club, which offers a luxurious dining experience with an American-geared menu.
If you're looking to get a little crazy, wander down Bangla Road at Patong Beach. It's filled with bars, clubs and good shopping. Or, check out a Muah Thai boxing event -- if you can stomach it! Another popular experience is the FantaSea, which is an evening circus show, buffet and carnival event.