Almost every travel goal I’ve ever heard involved spending more, not less, money.
Aiming to visit every continent in the world, go on holiday every month in the coming year, or visit this or that unmissable city are all goals that involve spending.
Since going on trips in the near future is practically inevitable, since Singaporeans are some of the world’s most frequent travellers, make these money-saving travel goals instead.
Cook at least half your meals in your Airbnb kitchen
Okay, you’re spared if you’re going to countries like Thailand or Malaysia where street food is cheap enough to negate any savings from cooking.
But the next time you go to a country where a meal costs more than what you’d pay at a food court in Singapore, commit to preparing some of yours in your Airbnb or hostel kitchen.
This is especially useful in countries where eating out is expensive, like Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark and France, where you’ll find yourself spending the equivalent of 30 SGD and more on a mid-range meal.
Do not shop or buy any souvenirs
Are you the type of person who departs Singapore with a suitcase that’s only 30% full because you’re going to need the space? Do you allocate entire days to shopping at factory outlets?
Then tell yourself you will not shop or buy any souvenirs on your next trip, not for yourself or anybody else.
You can also deliberately avoid spending a long time in shopping malls (unless you’re there for food or there’s something non-shopping related that’s of interest) and schedule other activities to fill the time you would otherwise spend shopping. When you’re at local markets, immerse yourself in the sights and sounds rather than scoping out things to buy.
Your colleagues may not get to enjoy snacks bought on your trip and left in the pantry, and your friends and family might not receive gifts this time round, but believe me when I say they’ll quickly forget you ever went on holiday.
Budget for your trip before your departure
For many people, the closest they get to budgeting before they go on holiday is comparing flight prices.
But once they arrive at their destination, they lose track of how much they’re spending. Effecting transactions in a foreign currency and paying by credit card certainly don’t make things easier.
Just as you should maintain a monthly budget in your daily life so you know how much of your income you’re allowed to spend, you should do the same for your trips.
Add up the cost of your air tickets and accommodation, and then figure out how much more you’re willing to spend on food, transportation, sightseeing and so on.
Don’t be surprised to find your budget a lot tighter than you imagined. Better to know in advance, so you can take measures to spend within that budget, such as by opting for more street food meals over restaurant meals, or skipping certain attractions you could do without seeing.
Book your air tickets with a credit card that rewards you handsomely
The great thing about booking air tickets, especially for more expensive long haul flights, is that you’ll often spend enough to enable you to satisfy your credit card’s minimum spending requirements.
Don’t limit your search to cards that reward you for travel bookings, either. As most people book their tickets online, you should also consider cards that offer cashback or air miles for online spending.
For instance, the OCBC 365 Credit Card offers 3% cashback on all online spending so long as you meet the minimum monthly spending requirement of $600. That means you get $30 off when you buy air tickets worth $1,000.
You might even want to go so far as to sign up for a credit card before you book your tickets. Not sure which ones to sign up for? Compare online shopping and air miles credit cards right here on MoneySmart.
What are your travel goals for this year? Share them in the comments!