6 important travel hacks you must know before your trip

Ready for your holiday? Don’t get on the plane before checking out our list of useful travel advice.

1. SKIP THE HOTEL BREKKIE

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Quick poll: How many of you voluntarily wake up earlier than 9 a.m. while on vacation, just to make it to the hotel breakfast that ends at 10?

If you think about it, most are hardly worth waking up for, unless you’re staying in a swanky 5-star hotel or on a private island with only one choice.

Meanwhile, for hotels, padding your total bill with, say, $15 per head per day makes perfect sense – especially since all charges are usually subject to tax and service fees.

Instead, book your room without breakfast, if possible. You’ll either get to enjoy sleeping in late, or have a little adventure exploring nearby food stalls for a more authentic, local breakfast.

2. DON'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT 'EM

Unless you’re planning a digital detox sort of holiday, consider these two tech top-ups for your ease of travel:

Powerful Power Bank: Between your smartphone, digital camera and other devices, a power bank can be essential to stay fully charged when there’s no socket available. The relatively affordable 20000m Ah Mi Power Bank 2C is good for 7.1 full charges of an iPhone 7 and can charge two devices at once, saving you effort and time (about $50).

Versatile Power Strip: Both a travel adaptor and power strip, the Mogics Power Bagel’s circular design can hold up to five plugs (four Universal – UK, EU, AU, US –AC Sockets and one US AC Socket) plus two USB ports (from $64).

3. USE AIR MILES STRATEGICALLY

Frequent flyer programmes allow you to earn air miles, which offer various perks. But, make sure to explore your options, as not every transaction is valued equally.

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One example: if you spent $10,000 over the year to earn 15,000 air miles ($1 = 1.5 miles).

Now, you can either exchange the 15,000 miles for, possibly, a return trip to Bali, or trade them in for a 2D1N hotel stay.

If the cost of your flight is higher than the hotel stay, go for the flight. If not, opt for the hotel stay to get the most value out of your miles.

The rule of thumb? Converting your air miles to free flight tickets gives you the best value. Other benefits – like upgrades, discounts and hotels – may not be worthwhile.

4. PAY IN LOCAL CURRENCY
 
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Stating the obvious: When you visit a foreign country, currency conversion charges can add up, especially when applied on every transaction.

If you’re a frequent traveler – particularly if you go to the same few countries a lot – why not set up a Multi-currency Account (MCA), which lets you maintain deposits in the currency of your choice?

How it Works: When you have saved up a sufficient amount in your destination’s currency, just bring along your ATM card and make a withdrawal when you land. Tip: Be sure to check for any ATM service fees that your bank may charge.

Don’t Want an MCA? Simply pay for your overseas transactions in the local currency.

This is because payment networks (Mastercard, Visa, etc.) are known to charge horrible conversion rates if you choose to pay in SGD (or the country in which your cards are registered).

5. LABEL YOUR STUFF
 
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As much as this sounds like you’re back in school, when you do lose your [insert device here], having your name or a distinctive mark on it can help your hotel or Airbnb host identify the item and send it back to you.

Do expect to foot the bill for postage, however.

6. STOP BY THE DUTY-FREE STORES

Travelling soon? Want to stock up on some adult bevvies on a budget? You’re in luck!

Through 31 December 2019, buy low-cost, high-class wines and spirits – 30 days to 12 hours before you fly – on iShopChangi.com.

Pick up your order at the airport or opt to have it delivered. Use code “CHEERS10” to save 10 percent more!

This article was first published in The Finder