So, you’re one of those serial vacationers who’re always scrolling through the office’s leave calendar to check when you can take off on your next adventure. Well, there’s nothing wrong with the fact that your frequent holidays are the main thing keeping you sane.
But it also means that some cost-saving advice would benefit you more than that guy who only goes anywhere that’s not Malaysia once every two years. Here are some tips that can help you free up some cash to save and invest… or squeeze in an extra trip or two in 2017.
Plan to travel alone or only with people who can respect your budget
In theory, travelling in a group can help you save money on accommodation since you won’t find yourself in the situation where you’re a lone traveller forced to rent a double room all to your lonesome self, or have nobody to share a taxi with.
But in practice, travelling with other people can bust your budget if they’re prepared to pay more than you. You might be happy with staying in the cheapest Airbnb apartment you can find, but your friends might prefer to spend more on a hotel because it’s more hassle-free. You might want to eat street food at every meal while your travel companions can’t understand why you can’t just eat at restaurants, since they’re cheaper than Singapore’s anyway.
Since you’re presumably going to be with your travel companions 24/7 for the duration of your trip, you might be forced to partake in activities that you’d ordinarily not spend on. Your friends might want to go to a spa or spend an entire day shopping, while you’d rather spend your day visiting temples.
Conversely, the scope for saving money is incredible when you travel alone, especially now that AirBnB exists, since you can simply rent a small single room rather than be forced to get a double room at a hotel. If you do travel with someone, it’s safer to stick with people you know well, whom you’ve travelled with before and who have the same travel philosophy as you when it comes to budgeting.
Be flexible when it comes to destinations
If you die-die want to go to Iceland, just as Iceland has hit its peak as one of the biggest travel fads in recent years, and you die-die- must go in April this year as it’s the last month of the Northern Lights season, then be prepared to pay dearly for the experience.
On the other hand, if your main objective is just to get away from Singapore for a few days/weeks a year to de-stress, explore new territory or just have fun, you can take advantage of the flexibility to scout out air ticket sales and scoot off during low season when everything’s cheap.
For instance, let’s say you want to take off on five weekend getaways per year. If you don’t have fixed dates on which you must travel, nor do you have the burning need to visit certain destinations during the year, you can take full advantage of the various sales the budget airlines hold each year. Subscribe to their newsletters and you’ll be able to book cheap tickets to random destinations in advance. You could see yourself heading to Penang in May for $60, or to Phuket for $80 if you swoop in at the right time.
Come up with a travel budget at the beginning of the year
Budgeting when you’re already on a trip is hard. You’re far away in a foreign land, using an unfamiliar currency, and the only thing on your mind is how to have the best trip ever.
The key is to budget for your trips before you actually leave. Even better, if you’re the sort of person who goes on multiple overseas holidays a year, is to come up with an annual travel budget, benchmarked against your projected earnings and savings for the year.
When you do this, the full financial impact of going to Japan three times in one year or taking that three-week multi-city trip to Europe will hit you, and you can then plan backwards to make your trips fit your budget. For instance, if your budget for a two-week trip to London is a tight $1,800 including flights, you can then plan to stay in cheaper Airbnb accommodation or even hostels.
There’s also the possibility that you’ll realise your trips are way out of budget. You can then plan to go on fewer trips, downgrade some of your bigger trips to cheaper weekend getaways, or take on a side job to earn the amount that exceeds your budget. That way, your vacations will not have a negative impact on your projected savings for the year.
Being smart about accruing air miles is also another very common way that many Singaporeans use to travel frequently. Now, this doesn’t mean you should go out and spend a bunch of cash just to earn those air miles because… that would just defeat the whole purpose of this article. But with services like Cardup, for example, you can actually earn while paying for things you are already doing.
Previously, paying for items such as rent, school fees or insurance premiums were outside the realm of credit cards. A service like Cardup allows you to pay all those things and more with your card and earn miles as you do it. That’s definitely a good way to speed up your next free air ticket.
How many overseas vacations do you typically go on each year? Tell us in the comments!