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4 Travel Essentials That Will Help You To Save Money When Travelling

Mark Cheng

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If you were to do a random poll of Singaporeans, you’d probably find that 60-70% of them have travelling on their perpetual life wishlist. Why the wanderlust? Well, there could be a huge variety of factors (haze, anyone?). Regardless, it goes without saying that travel is a huge part of most Singaporeans’ lives.

When it comes to planning out itineraries and travel arrangements, Singaporeans border on having OCD. If you want to talk about kiasu, travelling is probably close to the top of the list of things people are kiasu about. But when it comes down to saving money whilst travelling, Singaporeans are still not fully utilizing these 4 things that can help them to save a significant amount of cash on their travels:

 

1. Additional Luggage Allowance

One of the biggest regrets that many travellers have, especially when travelling to slightly more cosmopolitan cities, is that by the end of their trip, their luggage is an explosion waiting to happen. Underrating one’s propensity for shopping often results in extremely tiresome packing and repacking.

But how can this cost you money? Having to spend more on additional check-in luggage allowance or, in more extreme cases, having to buy an extra suitcase just incurs additional travel costs.

These days, airlines are slightly stricter with check-in luggage allowances, and some of them even go as far as to weigh your carry-on luggage when you check in as well. If you’re planning to go on some hardcore shopping trip, be sure to get more check-in luggage allowance.

 

2. A Suitable Data Plan 

Having an Internet connection in most urban cities can be a lifesaver for a lot of less savvy travellers. It could mean the difference between getting lost and wandering the streets for hours versus being able to navigate going anywhere like a pro. Many lazy people just end up paying for their providers’ overseas Internet packages, but we all know that it’s just a ridiculous rip off.

Getting an overseas SIM card could be a solution as well but there are several downsides to that. Firstly, changing SIM cards and running the risk of losing your local SIM card is quite real, and some overseas SIM cards also require you to change your carrier settings manually as well. Secondly, managing your balance on your SIM card is just extremely troublesome, especially if you keep getting notification messages in a foreign language.

Having to top up your SIM card should you run out of credits is obviously that can be better spent enjoying your holiday. Lastly, it would also mean that you are uncontactable on your Singapore number. While there are workarounds for this, who can really be bothered?

Thankfully, there is a fantastic and extremely affordable solution in the form of ChangiWifi, an overseas travel wifi rent service made available by Changi Recommends. The Overseas Travel Wi-Fi is a battery-powered router that allows the user and their travelling partners to connect multiple smart mobile devices. Being pocket-sized, it provides a personal hotspot for navigating around in a foreign country conveniently and the secured network makes accessing the cyberspace safe.

So for the many Singaporeans who travel in groups, this is a way more affordable means of getting connected to the Internet, with rental prices starting from as low as $5 a day, supports multiple devices and allows multiple people to connect to the device at any one point in time. Splitting the costs amongst your group means you’re saving a lot more than if you had signed up for an overseas data package with your own mobile provider. Currently, they even have a promo offer for bookings and travel before 31 Dec 2015, with rental at $5/day for Taiwan, and $8/day for Japan.

The best part is that getting hold of this router is extremely convenient. Pick up is available at the airport so you can settle this right after you check in, instead of having to go to some random place in town to collect the device before flying off. Returning the device also happens at Changi Airport so it’s really as hassle free as you can imagine, especially since going to another country and looking for a place to pick up a prepaid SIM card can sometimes be a harrowing experience.

For travellers who need a router at the eleventh hour, they can either call the hotline at +65 6701 1185 or WhatsApp +65 9427 6977 to inquire on the router’s availability. More details about reserving Overseas Travel WiFi for last minute travels are available on www.changiwifi.com.

To avoid disappointment, you can actually reserve the device online, preferably at least 3 working days prior to your departure. This is especially important during peak season travel due to the high demand.

Right now, ChangiWiFi is offering a promotion to all MoneySmart readers where you get to enjoy a promotional WiFi rental when you travel to Taiwan at $5/day (usual rate $12/day). This is valid for travels by 31 December 2015. Just enter the promo code MS5 when making your booking.

 

3. The Right Travel Credit Card

Many travellers think that getting a generic air miles card is sufficient to earn when you travel, but many people don’t think about the differences in cards that can help you to maximize your savings on your travels. As a baseline, certain cards reward expenditure overseas, whilst other cards reward travel-related expenditure, such as booking flights or hotels online, using the card to book transport arrangements, etc.

Generic cashback cards are great if you just want to use one card to settle all your travel needs, but there are also popular air miles cards that zoom in on particular travel spends that can help you to greatly accelerate your air miles accrual.

At the end of the day, using the “right credit card” is really all about understanding your spending needs and then matching the rewards with that. If you need to do a little more research, you can find all the necessary information on MoneySmart’s Credit Cards Comparison Page.

 

4. Travel Insurance

If a good credit card helps you save money before and during your trip, then travel insurance is even more important. Many people assume that travel insurance only helps after your trip if something should happen, but they don’t realize that travel insurance also covers the period before your trip.

Can’t make a trip due to an unexpected emergency? A gigantic tree fell in the middle of the PIE and you got stuck on the road for 2 hours and missed your flight? Travel insurance can cover all that. Apart from covering you from mishaps before your trip, it also obviously helps with expenses incurred for anything that happens during your trip.

But even when you’re done and back home safe, it can still play a part. Let’s say you reached home before your luggage did, and you had to wait a day or so for your luggage to return. Even if you didn’t necessarily need the stuff that was inside, you could still get some money back from that.

If you’re not sure what policy you should be getting, a simple comparison on MoneySmart’s Travel Insurance Page will give you more details as to the differences in coverage and policy details. After that, applying directly on the site is a breeze.

 

This article was brought to you by Changi Recommends.

What other things do you feel are essential to help save money on a trip? Share your thoughts with us here!

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Mark Cheng

I rant and rave a lot, but when I'm not busy doing that, I'm managing the content for MoneySmart. I love Singapore, but I also believe in helping it to improve bit by bit, and that's where MoneySmart comes in. Have some thoughts? Drop me an email at [email protected]