You know leisure travel is back in full swing when your social media feed is filled with updates of friends and families on vacation tucking into delish grub, visiting picturesque places, and shopping their hearts out at outlet malls overseas. If you are making plans or saving up money for an upcoming year-end trip, here are some tips on how you can stretch your dollar and save the moolah for your shopping list instead!
1. Use your credit card miles to book flights or hotels
Have you been accumulating precious miles from your credit card expenses over the course of the pandemic? Put them to good use for your upcoming holiday and use them to offset your plane tickets or hotel bookings. Do your research as well to see if there are any perks specific to your credit card or bank - you may just be able to score an unexpected bonus like a free room upgrade.
2. Travel during off-peak periods
While you may have to use up a little bit more of your annual leave, the benefits of travelling during off-peak times are certainly worth it. Generally speaking, prices for hotels and flights will tend to be discounted, and you won't have to jostle with other tourists too. Also, flying out earlier in the week, say Monday or Tuesday, is usually cheaper than a flight on peak days like Friday or Saturday. You are likely to get a better deal for a later flight in the day too.
3. Be flexible with your travel dates
No last-minute plane ticket purchases, please. Plan well in advance if you can, and look out for flash sales from airlines. Also, if you're not particular about your travel dates, set airfare deal alerts and search for flights within your acceptable time range to suss out the best promotions instead. Most airlines have a search function to help you compare prices and deals for the week or month at a glance.
4. Enjoy mobile data for less
While there's no way we can do without our phones overseas, we can definitely avoid hefty data roaming charges while using Google Maps or streaming your favourite Netflix show during hour-long rides. Subscribe to a suitable data roaming plan from your telco (there are options that allow you to utilise your local data bundle while travelling) or rent a pocket Wi-Fi router and pick it up at the airport before flying off - you're bound to save a pretty penny that way.
5. Get a multi-currency wallet or account
Regular credit cards work just fine for overseas purchases, especially if you don't wish to carry around too much physical cash. However, they also come with hefty transactional fees and unfavourable exchange rates. Avoid these hidden charges by getting yourself a multi-currency wallet or account to transact in various foreign currencies worry-free and at rates, you're comfortable with.
6. Book activities ahead of time
Save the hassle of searching for things to do and keep your budget in check by pre-booking activities or even tours ahead of time with trusted travel partners or directly with attractions. You're likely to enjoy a better price when booking online in advance instead of doing so at the very last minute in person.
7. Visit attractions that are free of charge
Great fun doesn't have to burn a hole in your wallet. If you're on a tight travel budget, plan to include activities that are free of charge but just as engaging in your itinerary. For example, many museums offer free entry on certain days of the week. Alternatively, visit public gardens, explore a local farmers' market or join a free walking tour of the city.