14th January 2019 - 5 min read
One of the most popular new year resolutions is to travel and see the world. But most of the time, the expensive flights and accommodation are enough to put many off travelling far. It doesn’t have to be this way! Here are a couple of our best travel tips to help you save when you travel.
It may sound counter-intuitive when many other places suggest against the use of credit cards when you travel, but there are actually several benefits.
In essence, owning the right credit card would give you a wide variety of benefits. For starters, cashback credit cards save you a portion of your spending. Some even have dedicated cashback benefits for overseas retail transactions!
Besides that, some travel credit cards also offer complimentary access to airport lounges in Malaysia and globally. You may be traveling on a budget, but it doesn’t mean doing so has to be uncomfortable. Not only that, some travel credit cards also offer incentives when you book hotel rooms or tourist attraction tickets with the card.
Finally, many credit cards offer complimentary travel insurance when you use them to pay for your flights – so you’ll have peace of mind when your baggage is lost or damaged, or your flight is delayed.
One final note: do remember that using your credit card overseas incurs a foreign transaction fee which is added into the converted amount. The fee varies between banks and credit cards, ranging from around 1-3% of the transacted value.
There’s a famous saying of “better safe than sorry” that everyone should always keep in mind. You should always get yourself insured when you travel to avoid hefty medical expenses in the event something happens during your trip, and be compensated for delayed/cancelled flights or loss of luggage.
In fact, most travel insurance policies are actually very affordable, and starts from just a few Ringgit a day for extensive coverage. Of course, the further you travel, the more expensive the insurance policy will cost, but in all honesty, getting travel insurance is just as important as getting reliable internet connections while abroad.
Note that if you plan to do some extreme sports, most standard travel insurance policies won’t cover you in the event of an accident. You’ll need to get specialized policies for that.
While credit cards and debit cards can be very convenient and safe, not all retail shops would accept credit cards. Smaller shops or those off the beaten path may only accept cash. And in countries like China, shops that accept Visa or Mastercard are extremely rare – cashless transactions are usually done via e-wallets or locally-issued cards.
Therefore, while you should make the most out of your card rewards, you should always carry along sufficient cash to last the trip just in case. This will help you avoid making expensive cash advance facilities on your credit card in emergencies.
Plus, if you’ve got extra foreign currency at the end of your trip, it’s a solid excuse to return to the country again in the future!
Finally, we have one of the most useful and important tip that travelers should be aware of. You’ll find aggregator sites for everything from flights, accommodation, tickets, and even unique experiences!
Accommodation aggregators such as Agoda, Booking.com, and Expedia are extremely popular because of the amount of hotels you can book on their platforms, and the ability to sort options by price, hotel ratings, locations, and even amenities. It’s also common for these aggregators to bundle packages for flights and accommodation at lower prices. The trade-off is that the arrangement may not be as flexible, but you stand to save quite a chunk of money.
If you prefer to search for flights yourself, services like Skyscanner and Google Flights are great tools. Like the aggregators above, they pull flight options from virtually all major airlines that fly to your desired destination. You can sort by price, total flight duration, and even by airline alliance (so you can fly with airlines that earn your desired air miles!)
Not the hotel-staying type? Peer-to-peer site Airbnb is a favourite among seasoned travelers for its ability to offer unique accommodation owned by locals. We’ve come across listings such as yachts in Barcelona, wooden cabins beneath the Northern Lights in Sweden, and even love hotels in Japan. Most of the time, prices per night are lower than hotel rates, and they always deliver a unique experience. Speaking of which, Airbnb has been curating “experience” packages that you can try, which are locally-inspired activities like making your own tatami mats in Osaka, go on a bushwalk in Perth, or even making your own soup dumplings in Shanghai.
Finally, sites like Klook offer advance ticket purchases for popular tourist attractions at discounted prices. You’ll find tickets for attractions like Disneyland, to day-trip tours in popular cities around the globe.
Be sure to combine the savings you get from these with the best cashback credit cards to maximise your savings!
Travelling abroad has never been more accessible, and should not be considered a luxury. Thanks to budget airlines and online aggregators, anyone can broaden their horizons and see the world. By using the right tools at our disposal, a great travelling experience can be memorable, exciting, and affordable.
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