Don’t let your savings account be an obstacle to your wanderlust – holidaying doesn’t need to be an expensive affair. Check out these 11 tips on how to save money before, during and after you travel.
B E F O R E T H E T R I P
1. CREATE A TRAVEL FUND
Every month, I put in a sum of money into a different bank account to save up for my trips. This is great because, for starters, you won’t be digging into your personal savings to travel, so you’ll always have money when you return. Second, by consistently making a deposit, you can amass quite a bit during the months you’re not holidaying. You’ll always have spare cash to travel – so no more excuses!
Obviously the more you put in every month, the quicker the fund will grow, but you decide this based on how hungry you are to go gallivanting in a foreign land. If you truly want something, you’ll find a way to make it work.
For example, shop less or eat out less so you can put more into the travel fund. If you can’t bear to not buy shoes or have a fancy dinner every week, then perhaps travelling isn’t your priority. And that’s absolutely fine, just don’t complain about not having enough money then.
2. CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE
Start thinking of your expenditures in “travel money”. The $5 you pay for coffee every day could go to a new and exciting dish you can taste in a foreign land every day too. The $40 dinner every weekend could go to the accommodation you’re splitting with your travel partner. That $200 bag is literally equivalent to a return ticket to nearby countries.
3. BOOK AIR TICKETS THREE TO FOUR MONTHS IN ADVANCE
I almost always fly budget. And even then, I book about three months in advance and start looking four months before. I’ve always managed to travel at a steal. My return tickets to South Korea on AirAsia cost me $406 all-in, inclusive of one check-in baggage and a meal on the return leg. And whether you’re flying budget or not, always wait for a sale – they will come up. I’d once seen tickets to Oslo, Norway for $808 all-in on Qatar Airways.
4. COMPARE AIR TICKETS PRICES
Even though it is cheap, flying budget is not always cheaper. It is worth spending some time using fare comparison sites (or even going to the individual airline pages) to suss out the lowest price for your travel dates.
5. DON’T SPLURGE ON THE HOTEL ROOM
You’re only in there to shower and sleep. Also, how are you going to really immerse yourself in the culture of a place by staying in an isolated (albeit fancy) hotel room? Go for local homestays or individually-run, small guesthouses. Not only are they cheaper, you’ll get to interact with the locals – it is the best way to get travel tips, food or attraction recommendations and knowledge of what it’s like to be a native.
Pick a place that provides breakfast. I love using Airbnb.com because it ticks off everything on this list – yes, even the breakfast bit.
Read the top 10 things that we love about Airbnb.
D U R I N G T H E T R I P
6. LOOK OUT FOR LOCALS IN RESTAURANTS OR CAFES
You know how Singaporeans like to throng the cheap and good places to eat? Well it’s the same in every country. And I often look out for eateries filled with local folks, rather than tourists. That way I know I’m going to be fed well, with an authentic cuisine and my wallet isn’t going to take a beating.
For more suggestions, read 5 useful travel tips that everyone should know.
7. GO TO THE SUPERMARKETS THE HOUR BEFORE THEY CLOSE
In the large ones, you can find cooked foods like chicken wings, sushi and pizzas on discount – hello, cheap supper!
8. SHOP SMART
You didn’t just fly 3,000km to buy things from international brands already available back home. Generally, I follow this rule: if it is less than 30% cheaper than in Singapore – it goes back onto the rack. Alternatively, stick to street shopping. You’ll always find a smorgasbord of things you can wear at a fraction of a big chains’ retail prices – plus, you won’t see someone with the same thing back home.
9. BUY TICKET BUNDLES OR DEALS TO ATTRACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Look up deal websites (just type “deals ” to search) to score major discounts on attractions and activities. Alternatively, some ticket-booking websites also offer bundles to several points of interests with substantial savings. Just remember to read the fine print.
10. TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT
This is quite the no-brainer. However, if you’re in a group of three or four, sometimes it is cheaper and faster to grab a metered taxi to get to a nearby location. Think places like Hong Kong and South Korea – a $6 fare split four ways is about the same amount you’d spend individually on a subway ride, minus the hassle. This works best for fares under $10 – beyond that, your savings can’t compare to if you were to take a public bus or train. Remember that the little dollars add up!
A F T E R T H E T R I P
11. KEEP YOUR LEFTOVER CURRENCY
Many people like to change their foreign currency back to Singapore dollars upon return. I actually recommend keeping it for future travels instead (unless you desperately need the money). I’ve always found it a delight to see leftover money from the previous time because I now need to change less for the upcoming trip.
What’s even better is if I’d changed my currency at a better rate the last time. I like storing mine in ziploc bags so they’re easy to identify. If you do turn them back into Singapore dollars, deposit it into your travel fund account.
Now it’s your turn. What are some of your travel saving tips?
About the writer:
Ruby Tan used to write for Her World, and is now a freelance writer with a dream to travel the world. She believes that the some of best things in life don’t have to be bought. If you want to make a friend, share travel tips and advice, or even to discuss deeply about life, write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org