Make your 2016 travel plans happen with these money-saving hacks.
On New Year’s Eve 2015, before the clock struck midnight, you made a promise to yourself that 2016 is going to be a year of adventure–a year that you can look back in admiration and write long self-reflective Facebook posts on.
Then 2016 really comes, bringing with it the realities of life… and a shortage of money. They predict it’s going to be financially hard this year, whoever “they” are. But a promise is a promise, and you tell yourself you’d rather spend on experiences instead of material purchases.
You’re looking at flights (wow, they’re expensive!) and thinking of backpacking so you can save on one-of-a-kind experiences. Well, buck up and strap in, because we’re going to make your promise happen with these travel tricks that will save you a lot of money (and make your friends jealous):
1. Look at Skyscanner’s Everywhere function if you don’t know where to go
Flexible with your destination but not costs? Type “Everywhere” in the To box on Skyscanner to find flights with the lowest costs from Singapore (or anywhere else). Or you can use their Inspirational Map to, well, get inspired and find the cheapest flights to get there.
2. Or use Rome2Rio to find your way through planes, trains, buses or ferries
Want to go to Gibraltar but can’t afford the flight there? Rome2Rio offers you alternate routes to flying directly. It’s like using a worldwide version of gothere.sg, except you get to sniff out the most cost-friendly ways to get to your destination.
3. Take overnight train, bus or ferry rides if possible
Overnight trips can be a lot cheaper. It’s not the most comfortable way to sleep, but you save on a night of accommodation this way.
4. Sign up for airlines’ newsletters to get details on deals
Don’t miss out on great airlines deals like getting an extra ticket for free when you buy the first ticket. Scoot, Jetstar and Singapore Airlines usually have flash promotions that last for less than a week, so it’s best if you subscribe to their newsletters to get firsthand details!
5. Or get informed when there’s an error flight (also known as mistake fares) deal
Error flights happen when there’s a glitch or a human error in air fares–there were cases of one-way flights to America costing less than S$50! Sign up for newsletters such as Secret Flying or HolidayPirates to get these type of deals delivered to your inbox.
6. Make use of a stopover by extending it
If your flights consist of a few legs of travel, extend your stopover so you can take advantage of already being in that city. Save on airfare while you see more of the world with this method.
7. Use your air miles credit card to accumulate miles
Start collecting air miles before your trip. With an air miles credit card, you can get miles while you spend locally (or overseas) that you can redeem for free flights, upgrades or even hotel stays.
8. Compare across all hotel and apartment sites
Don’t assume Airbnb has the cheapest rates. Expedia sometimes offers amazing flight and hotel deals that gives you a few nights free, making it more worthwhile to stay in a hotel than someone’s apartment.
9. Search for travel blogs that cover the destination you’re going to
Christopher Columbus explorer days are over, and there’s not a place where another human has not set foot on. Do a quick Google search for travel blogs that can help you to uncover cheaper eating hunts or affordable ways to travel within the country.
10. Look up free walking tours or free museum days
There are always free things to do in every major city. Always do your research before your trip so you can better plan for those free museum nights!
11. Look out for deals on activities abroad on Groupon or similar sites
Sites like Groupon offer skydiving packages for a fraction of the price. Why pay the full price to cross things off your bucket list? The only drawback is you might not get as much flexibility as you’d like.
12. Find the best places to go from the locals or other travellers
Who knows the most inexpensive things to do than the locals or other travellers who have been where you’re going? Don’t be too shy to ask these questions; they’re usually more than happy to share what they know!
13. Eat as the locals eat
Tourist traps are traps for a reason–they overcharge meals which aren’t necessarily good. Ask the locals about their favourite inexpensive places to dine or look out for markets or hawker places with more locals than tourists.
14. Use Uber instead of taxis in some cities
In some cities like Australia and even Malaysia, you pay a lot less on an Uber ride than you’d with taxis. You can use your current Uber account in 68 countries and over 100 cities when you’re in need of a ride from the airport or when you can’t get a cab home after a night of drinking.
15. Use a travel-friendly credit, debit and ATM card on your trips
You’ll want to use a credit card that charges you the lowest transactional and conversion fees when you use it overseas. If you’re withdrawing money, try to get an ATM card from a bank that offers free withdrawals from its machines all around the world. A good one to look at is Citibank.
16. Withdraw money instead of exchanging currencies
There are countries where the money-changers outrightly (or discreetly) rip you off in currency exchange. And bank rates aren’t as bad as you would think as well. Withdrawing money on your trip also saves you the trouble of carrying around a large sum of cash.
17. Get free travel insurance when you book a trip with your credit card
Many credit cards offer complimentary travel insurance when you use it to book your full fare. It’s so convenient, and it’s free, and it covers most accidents and emergencies of travel.
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By Jehanne Teo
Starting out as a lifestyle writer, Jehanne currently writes for SingSaver.com.sg about saving money in everyday situations.