You’ve been dreaming about the beautiful whitewashed buildings on the cliffs in Santorini, maybe it’s the dreamy Eiffel Tower in the City of Love, or it could be the exotic beaches in Phuket, and perhaps your mind wanders off to the clusters of glorious skyscrapers in New York City. Wherever it is, you know you have a tremendous love for travel and you have all sorts of different destinations on your bucket list. But even though you constantly feel the thrill to see new landscapes or explore different cultures, your plan comes to a halt because you’re still uncertain of your budget for travel.
Here are the 12 tips on how to get the bang for your buck when it comes to traveling.
Before you travel:
Have a travel fund. Set aside a separate savings account for your travels. Whether you’re putting away RM10 every day or 10% of your income every month into your travel fund, your wanderlust self will be grateful for what you’ve done.
Be flexible with your travel plan. Check with airlines on the cheapest dates to book a ticket and work out your itinerary from there as flight ticket is usually the heftiest expense on your travel budget. If your dates are nonadjustable, be flexible with your destination.
(Pro tip: clear your cookies or use incognito search window when you book your flight!)
Pay close attention to flight promotions. The easiest way is to sign up for airlines’ newsletter and be alerted for the best deals available. AirAsia, for instance, will send its subscribers an email before the “Free Seats” promotion goes live on its website. You might want to sign up for as many relevant airlines as possible for the sake of scoring that legendary deal.
Book everything early and in advance (with free cancellation cost in case something didn’t work out in the end). This applies to your flight, accommodation, city pass, train and bus ticket etc. Not only will this action save you the hassle when you arrive at your destination, but you’ll also be surprised how much you’ve saved purchasing everything in advance compared to booking them on the spot.
Try Couchsurfing if you are keen on paying zero on your accommodation and blending in with the locals. It is an amazing website that allows you to connect with your host and stay in his/her home for free. I’ve used it back in my uni days to hunt for free accommodation for my trip to Seoul (btw my favorite memory with my host is that convivial night we got together in a cozy local bar for some Makgeolli).
Utilize your travel-specific credit card for perks like travel miles and travel insurance. Some cards do not charge foreign transaction fees when you’re abroad and some give you more points on food and other day-to-day expenses when you’re traveling. Head on to CompareHero.my to find the credit card that best suit your travel needs.
When you are traveling:
Go on grocery shopping when you arrive at your destination. I know this sounds tedious and you might be wondering “why the heck do I need to shop for groceries when I’m traveling?!”, but trust me, it’s easy on your wallet when you can knock together at least one simple meal in your hotel than having all your meals in restaurants. I’m not suggesting you do a full-on grocery shopping like what you normally do back home, but you should at least buy the essentials like water, snacks, fruits etc that you can eat in your hotel or carry around with you when you’re out and about exploring the town.
Ask for local’s recommendations. It’s also one of the reasons why you should “couchsurf” or blend in with the locals in general. Not only will you get to experience the beauty of the city like the locals but it can easily save you some bucks by not going to the touristy places.
Catch public transportation wherever you go. I’m talking about buses, trains, subway etc. Better yet, walk. The last thing you want is to get ripped off by the taxi driver.
(Pro tip: night trains and buses save you money on a night of accommodation!)
Ask for a free hotel room upgrade. My tip is to strike up friendly conversations with the hotel’s receptionist. When you’ve successfully made him/her feel connected, tell him/her it’s your birthday/graduation/anniversary/honeymoon trip and you’ll be so grateful if you can be upgraded to a bigger or nicer room to make your stay more memorable. Trust me, it works wonders every time.
Negotiate on your purchases. Say you want to buy souvenirs in a local market in Thailand, never ever stop at the first offer from the seller. This interesting article written by Waqas explains the 4 simple and practical steps that allow him to save 30%-40% on almost everything he bought during his travels. And that’s so clever!
Eat at a bar. It’s usually cheaper than grabbing a table in restaurants. The menu is always cheaper and you don’t feel obligated to order a full meal. If you absolutely have to eat in a restaurant, try to stay as far away from the major tourist sight as possible. That same Fish N’ Chips can save you twice as much in the local areas.
I hope you find these money-saving travel tips useful and comment down below on your favorite tips. Bon voyage! 🙂