The Ultimate Travel Guide: Hacks To Save Money On Your Next Trip
Other than our love of food, another commonality bringing us Singaporeans together – as one united people – is our love for travel.
When asked: “Why do you like travelling?”
The answer is always something like: “I want to experience the culture and understand the way of life of the locals.”
So profound… *rolls eyes
Regardless of whether you want a getaway or are doing it for the Gramz, this article is here to teach you how to save money while travelling.
To facilitate your easy reading, this article will be split into three parts:
Before The Trip
It’s an open secret as to how to find the cheapest flight tickets online. And one of the most popular websites to sniff out the best deals is none other than: Skyscanner.
For the benefit of those going, “Huh? Got secret way to get the best price? Share leh.”
- Open Skyscanner in Incognito Mode – the same applies to other sites like Google Trips, Kayak, Skiddoo, Wego, etc.
- Look for your flight on a Tuesday or Wednesday (I’m not really sure why tho… But I’m pretty sure these sites jack up their prices on the weekends)
- Be flexible with your travel dates
- Use your travel miles on your credit card
- Buy your tickets way in advance (to get the cheapest price) or gamble and try to snatch up last-minute deals (but risk your desired flight being fully booked)
One extra tip for you here: follow @SGAIRFAREPROMOS on Telegram to be updated with the latest flight deals! For example, Scoot usually has their promotions on Tuesdays but you’ll be (one of) the first to know if they decide to do something extra special.
If you are travelling on a budget, then you’ll probably be looking at hostels. Based on my experience (and this is really dependent on which city you visit), you can get one from as low as S$8 a night.
But if you’d like a little more comfort, you’ll want to look at hotels or AirBnB.
Regardless of whether you book a hotel or AirBnb, remember to click through ShopBack. Pay attention to their upsized promotions as well where you can sometimes get up to 10% cashback on your accommodations!
I know what you’re thinking…
“What a steal?! Legit or not?”
I have tried and tested it myself, and am a satisfied user of ShopBack.
Oh, you can use ShopBack for other stuff too… Need to buy medicine just in case you get the runs when you’re overseas? Need a new luggage bag? Need to get a travel adaptor? You can probably find a merchant online that’s on ShopBack too!
3. Attractions, Activities, And Experiences
If you prefer going with booked tours, you can check out travel fairs as they tend to run many promotions (read: lower prices).
Just a heads-up: the next travel fair will be the NATAS Holiday Travel Fair!
Dates: 2 to 4 August 2019
Venue: Singapore Expo Halls 5 & 6
(This is not sponsored, by the way. BUT I definitely wouldn’t mind getting sponsored… 😉 )
(Editor’s note: how bout no? -_-“‘)
However, most of the time, I like the freedom of travelling free & easy.
But doing that means you’ll need to do stuff yourself, like buying entrance tickets to attractions at the counter.
OR… If you’re smart like me (heh heh) you can pre-book tickets to attractions, activities, day tours, experiences and more through an online site like Klook.
I personally prefer booking stuff on Klook because:
- You can secure your tickets immediately (for most things) which means you can skip queues
- You can get discounts and special prices when they run promotions
- It’s damn easy, please
(Once again, not sponsored… But I’m always open… :))
4. Travel Insurance
It always pays to have travel insurance because you never know what might happen on your vacation. There’re plenty of companies offering travel insurance with different coverage and protection.
So how do you choose the best one? Well… By using our Cheat Sheet on the Best Travel Insurance Guide In Singapore of course!
If you want real user reviews to help you decide which travel insurance to get, you can always check out our Seedly Reviews to find out which travel insurance is best for you!
5. Travel Essentials
Before you go on your trip, remember to check the weather in order to pack your travel outfits accordingly.
My relatives went to London last month thinking that since it’s summer (think: 33°C in Singapore), they packed sleeveless tops and shorts.
But lo and behold, climate change is a b****.
The temperature dropped to 10°C and guess who had to spend time searching for jackets and more weather-appropriate clothing?
Also, remember to get travel medication, etc beforehand, if you need.
And like I mentioned earlier, check out ShopBack for their list of retail partners if you’re planning to buy any clothing or equipment for your trip!
6. Where To Change Money In Singapore
Personally, I feel that bringing too much cash around is not the safest. Especially since we’re so used to living in Singapore, which according to The Independent, is the second safest city in the world. Hooray!
I mean, unless you are going to Tokyo which is ranked as the #1 safest city, then I can’t argue with you on that…
However, there will always be people who feel more secure when they carry more cash (Hi, Mum…).
And it’s always good to carry local currency around as smaller eateries and shops may not always accept credit cards.
Anyways, if you’re thinking of changing money, check out our article on the Best Money Changer In Singapore to find out how.
If you’re too lazy to read:
- Best physical place to change money: The Arcade
- Best online option to change money: Thin Margin
- Best platform to check rates: CashChanger or get4x.com
During The Trip
The YouTrip card allows you to pay in more than 150 currencies without currency conversion or transaction fees.
It also allows you lock down interest rates, skip the queues (at money changers), and even exchange currencies with a few taps on your smartphone.
If you’re curious about YouTrip and its 0% Transaction Fee, you can read the article to find out more about the benefits and drawbacks to take note of.
2. Free Apps To Make Your Life Easier
This list is highly subjective and personal.
Here’re some applications which I have on my phone whenever I go on a trip:
- The city’s public transport map
- Grab, Uber, or whichever country I’m visiting’s private hire app
- Google Maps (I hope you already have it) or CityMapper
- Google Translate
- Google Trips
- Wifi Finder (Free Wifi Map)
You can also plan your mode of transportation in advance.
For example, like how you’d get from the airport to your Airbnb. Otherwise, you’ll probably just jump into a cab and that might cost more than what it might actually be if you knew a cheaper (and faster) way to get to your destination.
Or figure out if cycling to get around is an option, since that would most likely be the cheapest mode of transportation regardless of where you go.
3. SIM Card
For SIM card deals, Klook‘s probably your best bet.
If not, you can rent a wifi router from Changi Recommends, or your destination’s airport too.
Regardless of how you get your data, just make sure you secure a cheap and stable connection to avoid racking up crazy roaming charges.
4. Track Your Expenses Using The Seedly App
Always wondering where your money goes to?
When it comes to our travels, our actual expenditure can sometimes go waaay above the initial budget.
A simple way to fix this is by tracking your expenses using the Seedly App (available on iOS and Android)!
5. Free Walking Tours
As a student on a budget, free walking tours are a lifesaver.
Almost every city has them and they’re the best way to learn more about a city through the eyes of a local – without putting too much of a strain on your budget too.
That way, you can put the money saved towards eating better and trying more food!
But remember to try to leave a tip for the tour guides, at the end, as a token of appreciation.
I’m a pretty thrifty person, BUT I am someone who is willing to spend on experiences.
I mean, if I’m going to Paris, I’m definitely going to visit the Eiffel Tower – although some will beg to differ since it’s somewhat of a tourist trap.
However, I wouldn’t buy my Eiffel Tower keychain at a souvenir shop, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Especially since the exact same keychain could be had for a much lower price elsewhere.
The vendors wouldn’t tell you this, but I’m pretty sure that the price mark-up is largely due to rental costs and them preying on the ‘sentimental value’ of owning a piece of the Eiffel Tower there and then, when you can actually have the same keychain for a fraction of the price at a souvenir shop that’s located in a less touristy area.
And honestly, the cheapest souvenirs to bring back are pictures and memories.
As cliché as it sounds…
After The Trip
1. Duty-Free Singapore
I’m not really sure if this is gonna help you save money, or is it going to encourage more spending…
But here you go, check out our Ultimate Comparison of Changi Airport Duty-Free Singapore (DFS) Prices to figure out if it makes more sense to buy what you want in DFS (spoiler: it usually is).
So you’re back home… And you notice that you don’t have ALL of your belongings…
It’s time to file an insurance claim ASAP!
Do check your insurance company’s website to see the proper claims procedures.
3. Convert Your Remaining Currency
Depending on whether you will travel to the same destination again, you can follow Step #6 under “Before The Trip” to convert your money back to SGD$.
Just don’t forget that you still have leftover foreign currency lying around.
Or accidentally throw it in the trash.
Like I did… Once.
With all that being said, the most important thing to not forget is to…
Just have fun on your trip!