When we are young, we have the most energy and time to feed our wanderlust. Sadly, the only thing that is kind of limiting us would be the money involved.
So, here are 20 travel hacks that will help you make the best out of your travel budget and satisfy your wanderlust!
Buying Air Tickets
1) Always delete your browsing history before logging on to check on ticket prices.
Many websites store your browsing history and information; airlines are able to track what tickets you’re interested in buying when you return to the site
2) Plan ahead and choose the best day to buy your tickets
Check out this infographic on when it is the best time to purchase your tickets.
3) Be more flexible, and travel during low season
Airlines tend to offer cheaper tickets to attract more customers during the low seasons. Also, you tend to get cheaper tickets when you are more flexible with the days that you are flying. Late night and early morning flights also give you cheaper deals.
4) Take note of Baggage allowance on the airline you are flying in
Although budget airlines have cheaper tickets, you have to factor in the baggage weight limit. Adding-on baggage allowance is additional cost, and sometimes taking a regular economic flight may end up cheaper than your budget airline tickets.
5) Find out where are the best place to exchange currency
If you haven’t seen this, check out The 5 Best Places to Exchange Money in Singapore
6) Use ATM for local currency
In the event that you did not exchange enough cash while you’re overseas, Lifehack.org suggests using ATMs to get local currency. Money changers at the airport and hotel usually come with their own fee and their rates are horrible. Of course, you will be charged for interbank transfer fee (and sometimes currency exchange fee). However this usually only adds up to $5-$10. So it is advisable to withdraw all the cash you need in one transaction so you don’t have to keep paying these fees.
Check if your debit/credit cards are compatible with overseas ATMs at the links below. Don’t forget to contact your banks beforehand, in case they suspend your card for “suspected overseas card theft”.
7) “Buy currency” Using credit card
As suggested by Yahoo finance, you can’t buy straight cash with your credit card. But using a credit card is much safer than carrying a large wad of cash around. Besides, if you do get robbed *touch wood* all you have to do is to contact your bank to cancel the card.
8) Plan your geographical location
Yes staying in the city may be expensive, but if you factor in the cost of transportation and time, sometimes staying in a central location may save you more money ultimately. E.g. I’ve always stayed at Xi Men Ding when I travel to Taipei because it is only 1 station away from Taipei Main station / it is located near a few interchange / the places I’m going are all on the same line as Xi Men Ding. Moreover, you can always find alternate accommodations cheaper than hotels, which brings me to the next point…
9) Alternative Accommodations
Believe it or not, these gorgeous rooms are actually apartments listed on Airbnb.com
Think about it, you’ll spend most of your time outside than in your room when you’re overseas. So there isn’t really a need to splurge on accommodation. Look up on backpacker’s websites and look out for cheap backpacker hostels. And there are also Airbnb houses/apartments you can book for your trip.
10) Promo codes
If you really have to stay in a hotel, try searching for “(hotel’s name) promo code” on google. You may just find some discount codes you can use for booking online.
Packing and Pre-flight
11) Weigh your baggage at home
Just because sometimes we’ll get carried away and end up packing too much things before flying, we end up having limited baggage allowance when we come back (which is crucial if you travel to shop!). So weigh your baggage at home, and take out what you don’t really need.
12) Pack a light-weight, foldable hand carry bag
I brought along a giant bag I got from purchasing pillows. This double up as a shopping bag so you don’t have to carry so many plastic bags and risk missing one when you stop to rest.
All commercial airlines allow hand carry bags of up to 7kg to be carried into the cabin. In the event your luggage is overweight, you can transfer some of the items into the hand-carry, saving you from paying overweight charges.
13) Refill travel size containers
Instead of buying travel-sized toiletries all the time, refill the empty bottle with your toiletries at home. Muji sells transparent travel-size bottles for less than $2. Or you can always bring home the toiletries in your hotel toilets and recycle them for your next trip!
14) Bring an empty water bottle
It is expensive to buy bottled water on the plane, and sometimes you just cannot down the taste of water provided in-flight. So carry a empty bottle in your hand carry and fill it up after you get pass security checks.
15) Bring your own snacks
Snacks sold at airport convenience stores are slightly more expensive than when you purchase them outside. So stock up on the snacks you need before heading to the airport.
Travel Activities and Getting around
16) Plan ahead and research on how to get to your destination
While in some countries you can take cab everywhere because it is so cheap, there are other countries where you don’t enjoy this luxury. Furthermore, you could save more cash for shopping and sightseeing if you know your way around with public transport. So it’s always good to find out how to get to places. Not only do you save money, you save time as well.
Writer’s tip: I’ll always screenshot Maps and insert a caption with the instructions on how to get the attraction and save it on my phone before travelling. That way I still have a back-up reference in the event I can’t get wi-fi.
17) Save your data, use Google Maps offline
Check out this neat trick on how to use Google Maps offline
18) Plan your souvenir list
You should actually pen down WHO you are getting the souvenirs for, HOW MUCH you are going to spend and if possible, WHAT you are going to get. This list will help you stay on your souvenir budget and avoid buying too many things (or forget to buy something).
If there are people who latch on you to buy something for them from overseas, ALWAYS ask them to pay you first before you fly. You don’t want other people’s expenses to eat into your travel budget and this saves you the trouble of chasing for payment when you get back.
19) Eat local
The best way to learn about a country’s culture is through their food! So be adventurous and eat as much local fare as you can. Not only are they wallet-friendly, they are readily available; giving you options to compare prices. Check out this app call “Spotted by Locals”; you’ll be able to find local hunt and nicks contributed by the locals.
20) City tours
Check with your hotels or the local tourism board if they have city tours. These tours are relatively cheap, or even FREE. Tip your guide well then spend some time interacting and quizzing them about the city. These guides are usually very passionate and eager to share about their city. Don’t forget to ask about where are the good F&B places and hangouts that are frequented by locals.