The only way Singaporeans can get free holidays is to check in to Changi Prison. For the rest of us, holidays cost money-sometimes, a lot of it, if your main objective is shopping or you need to sleep in five star hotels.
Instead of leaking tons of money as you globetrot, here are a few ways to make money out of your travels and subsidise your trip.
Help people buy things overseas for a commission
Singapore might be flooded with shopping malls, but Singaporeans just can't stop buying stuff overseas, which might not exactly be a bad idea, considering many products are priced much lower in other countries.
Just ask the tai tais and OLs who've gone all the way to Paris to buy Louis Vuitton bags at prices that are 30 per cent lower than in Singapore.
Thanks to new mobile app Tompang the World you can now do this without having to resort to bothering your personal contacts. Just install the app on your smartphone, surf the list of requests from shoppers and then help them buy what their hearts desire for a commission.
If you're not a big shopper and have tons of luggage space, this is an excellent way to earn a bit of spare cash. Buying a large Prada handbag from Italy can save the purchaser more than $400, so a commission of $50 or $100 would not be out of the question. A suitcase full of purchases for Tompang the World customers can seriously subsidise your holiday.
You don't necessarily have to go through the app to offer such services, although it seems to be the safest and easiest way. If you're willing to put down lots of cash on expensive items and you have friends who want to buy them, broadcasting a quick Facebook message usually garners lots of responses.
Buy items to sell online
Another way to take advantage of the lower prices of many products overseas is to buy items to sell online at a higher price. This is essentially what many blogshops owners do-they source for products in Bangkok, Seoul or Shenzhen and then sell them online to Singaporeans.
That doesn't mean you need to develop an e-commerce website or start spamming people by tagging them in promotional posts on Facebook. If the products you pick are in demand, you might be able to sell them anonymously on online platforms like Qoo10, eBay or Carousell.
A friend of mine makes a decent side income selling products from China on Qoo10, while another acquaintance has been selling T-shirts from Bangkok internationally on eBay for years. The former cautions that it takes some time to find the right product mix. If you're not sure if something will sell, limit your purchases to a few items.
Freelance travel writing and photography
If you're not leaving home without your selfie stick, there's a good chance you'll come back with enough photos to scare your friends into avoiding you for fear of being trapped in a 4-hour long picture viewing session.
Learn how to pitch your work to editors and you can earn back part of the cost of your trip by selling travel stories accompanied by pictures. Pitching usually involves emailing the editors of publications and giving them a brief outline of the sort of articles you want to contribute. For instance, Tiger Airways' inflight magazine, Tiger Tales, accepts contributions.
Once you've gotten some experience, you'll be able to pitch stories a few weeks before you embark on a trip to any destination.
As you travel, other than taking lots of pictures, you'll want to take some notes on the places you've visited, particularly addresses or contact details pertaining to any sights, restaurants or shops you've visited.
Depending on what is customary at the publications you're writing for, you might be asked to provide these details so readers can follow in your footsteps.
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