2018 School Holidays in Malaysia - Planning Ahead

Planning your holidays around Malaysia's school breaks is a great way to make sure you're optimising your leave days. Here's how to do that this year!

The 2018 school holidays in Malaysia are broken down into four terms. Depending on if you have children or not, the dates of the 2018 school holidays will play out differently for you. Each quarter of the year presents opportunities you can take advantage of, once you familiarise yourself with the Malaysian school holidays of 2018.

If you do not have kids and are looking to travel, look out for dates that to do not overlap with any school holidays. However, if you are looking to take advantage of the school holiday periods, make your purchases as early as possible, before the demand kicks in. Most operators need to fill out their bottom line first. The prices would generally be cheaper further out than closer in. Even then, there is the factor of flight time and day of week to consider in order to get better fares.

Chinese New Year - 15 February to 19 February

This period of school holidays would have been great to take advantage of, but unfortunately, these dates have passed. So let’s move on to the 2nd period of school holidays.

Term 1 - 17 March to 25 March

Middle of March till the 25th would be a good time to travel before the year gets hectic and more expensive. While a lot of people aren’t traditionally used to the idea of travelling early in the year, this change in strategy could be significantly cheaper and puts you and your kids in a nice mental frame for the year.

Take note that the following school holidays in June, will overlap with Hari Raya and would cost a lot more in terms of accommodation and travel, particularly in the domestic market. Planning ahead and knowing that the next term is going to be costly, take advantage of the knowledge and travel during March instead. If you are among the many who celebrate Hari Raya, use the first term holiday wisely as the mid year holiday would be spent with your family, instead of going elsewhere.

Mid Year - 9 June to 24 June / Hari Raya - 15 June to 16 June

This school holiday presents better opportunities for international travel as compared to local. For those who are celebrating Hari Raya, they are going to be travelling back home to their respective home towns. That softens the demand for international destinations and could make this a great opportunity for travel, depending on the destination.

Try avoiding countries that are celebrating Hari Raya as those destinations will be experiencing high passenger traffic heading back to their home country. That inflates the price of your flight ticket and accommodation. On top of that, many businesses would be closed during the period, giving you less than a satisfying experience overseas.

Term 2 - 18 August to 26 August

This quarter, before and after the second term holiday, is one of the best times to do the things you want to do. It is after the dreaded taxation period, and your finances would be on more stable ground.

If you are celebrating Deepavali or Christmas, then you should travel during this period or load more of your expenses earlier in the year. On the other hand, if your heavy expenses are behind you, this is the time to live your life. There is no point in saving every ringgit and sen you make, and do absolutely nothing with it. Your money should be spent investing to make more money or invested in yourself to expand your horizons and your family’s. You wouldn’t want your kids to look back and say you did absolutely nothing during the 2018 school holidays.

Year End - 24 November to 31 December

Despite being in the peak period of the year-end school holidays, there are still destinations for you to explore during this time of year. While peak season can make it difficult to pick out cheaper destinations, it is important not to waste money on destinations either. Do your research and do not waste your money by risking destinations that are experiencing monsoon season. There is nothing worse than travelling to a beach destination and spending your entire holiday in the hotel room.

Besides travelling, this is the season parents prepare their children for school. In order to save and get things at rock bottom prices, we have been conditioned to purchase flights, clothes, groceries and everything else, during a sale or as early as possible. However, if you are a parent, this is the one exception of the year when you would be thankful that you did not buy school uniforms earlier in the year. School uniforms are a seasonal product and an exception. Wait until the end of the year and let the stores compete with each other, while you hunt down the best bargains for your kid's school uniform.

Financial Planning for the 2018 Holidays

Planning for the holidays is fun, but the most important thing is to have sufficient funds to do what you need to do. There is no point going on a trip when you do not have enough to experience the food or culture. It is even worse, if you shop for clothes during your yearly shopping spree, and not have enough to eat the following week. Credit cards will not be your answer at this point, it will only dig you deeper into debt.

To best plan out your finances for the year’s school holidays, apply for a separate bank account which you can completely max-out. That way, you won’t be diving too deep into your savings by accident.

What is scarier than not having enough foreign funds while travelling overseas, is having an emergency. Just late last year, there was a case of how a family went to Korea for a holiday and their father had to go for an emergency surgery. They did not have travel insurance and it left them with a medical bill of RM1.3 million. Medical charges can be exorbitant while overseas. Thank goodness there were Malaysians who were kind enough to donate and help this family out. People tend to find insurance-related issues far-fetched as the excitement and positive energy of a trip makes it difficult to grasp the reality of a negative occurrence.

But these dangers are a reality, and it would be best to have yourself a travel policy in place whenever you travel. Take a quick peek at our comparison tool and pick one out the next time to travel, so that you may have a wonderful and carefree trip during the Malaysian school holidays in 2018.

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