Singaporeans often have the mindset of not being able to travel often due to time and financial constraints, where one is unable to leave his full-time job to pursue their passion for travel.
“Traveling is expensive” is a myth, and in fact, you do not have to quit your job nor break your bank in order to travel often. Here is how you can travel more in 2016, especially since there will be six long weekends in Singapore.
1. Maximise long weekends in 2016
As announced by Ministry of Manpower, there will be six long weekends throughout 2016 where you can have a short getaway with your loved ones without disrupting your school or work schedule.
Here is a 2016 calendar with Singapore’s list of public holidays that may come in handy when you make travel plans. Keeping the dates in mind, one suggestion would be to plan and book your flights early to avoid expensive fares when the dates draw near.
2. Always keep updated with flight promotions
Because the availability of promotional fares are based on a first come first serve basis, be the first few to know about such promotions by signing up to their mailing list or opting to receive immediate notifications from their respective facebook pages.
a. Budget Airlines
Budget airlines are typically cheaper because of their no-frills package. Keep weekly tabs on these budget airlines sites or Facebook pages to keep yourself updated with the latest flight deals – especially on selected Tuesdays or Fridays – since they usually have special promotions on those days.
Scoot – Take Off Tuesday (7am to 9am)
Jetstar – Friday Fare Frenzy (4pm to 8pm)
b. Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines occasionally offer special rates to a select number of destinations. You do not always have to resort to travelling via a budget airline, since flights with Singapore Airlines usually includes insurance and check-in luggage, you may be pleasantly surprised that during certain promotions, you actually spend lesser or equivalent than you would with a budget airline.
Another recommendation is to use Skyscanner, a search engine that helps you search, collate and compare fares for flights and hotels. Skyscanner is a convenient alternative instead of going onto different websites to compare fares, hence saving time and hassle.
d. Credit Cards
Lastly, your credit cards from various banks can also entitle you to discounts when you book your flights with relevant airlines. Keep a look out for such promotions as they can help you save up to 20% on your fares.
Instead of paying a hefty sum each night for a luxurious hotel room, you can opt to book your accommodations by searching up over a million listings on Airbnb – a website to list, find and rent lodging all around the world.
Booking your accommodations via Airbnb typically allows you to save up to 70% of hotel rates. Especially when travelling in a big group, opting to rent an entire apartment via Airbnb is significantly more affordable than booking a few hotel rooms. Additionally, the local host can provide you with much needed information to must-visit places, and help navigate within the city.
There are also other alternatives to accommodations, such as staying in a hostel or to couch surf, the latter being a popular option for solo-travelers or backpackers. Search over millions of listings via websites such as HostelWorld and Couchsurfing.
4. Opt to travel to nearby foreign cities
Palawan, Philippines (source)
Since Singapore is closely located to a number of other countries and cities, flight tickets to these countries are generally more affordable. Other than travelling to frequently visited cities such as Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok, opt to explore cities that you have never been to. Consider lesser known but equally as beautiful destinations such as Yogyakarta, Cebu, Chiang Mai and so on.
5. Create a travel budget
Set a goal
Save up and set aside a certain amount of money before making travel plans. While travelling may seem really expensive to you, think about how a new pair of sneakers can actually cover your flight tickets to destinations like Bali, Vietnam or Bangkok.
Plan your itinerary
By specifically planning and listing out the itinerary for the entire trip, you will be able to determine the estimate costs of each activity, avoid unexpected expenses, and in summary, derive a firm travel budget. Often, we find ourselves converting much more currency than required, and budgeting will enable you to specifically convert the amount required for the trip and prevents you from overspending. However, do bring along extra local currency in case of emergency.
Utilise deal saving websites
Another tip on budgeting would be to look up local coupon deal websites such as Groupon or AllDealsAsia, since these websites often offer deals and discounts for food and activities in various cities and countries. With the assistance of google translate, one can diligently scour the platform and spot a good deal or two, just be sure to read the fine print.
6. Utilise social media
Social media is now a big part of our lives, and not only is it a platform for sharing of media, it is also a resourceful tool when it comes to researching and planning for your travel itinerary. Keep a look out for local ‘instagramers’ and foodies from the country that you will be visiting, and check out their go-to places and recommendations. This helps plan a better travel itinerary comprising of authentic experiences and food recommendations by the locals.
7. Share your travelling plans with your friends
If you have plans to travel to a certain city, share it with your friends via your social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Seek your friends’ recommendations, and if you’re lucky, you might even find yourself a new travel partner who is keen on travelling to the same city. With that, you can share and split your accommodation and flight costs with your friend, and at the same time foster a budding friendship.
8. Re-invent your perspective of travel
Traveling does not mean you have to stay at the most popular hotel, visit tourist attractions, or eat at famous restaurants. You can enhance your travelling experience by trying out local food, visiting breathtaking places or partaking in activities you have never tried. Only then will your travel experience be more fulfilling.
With proper and adequate planning, budgeting and organization, you can travel and explore the world more often without having to quit your job, or put yourself in debt. Buy less, and experience more.