No budget? No problem!

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Travel doesn’t always have to be expensive – all you need is some planning and lots of determination. From how to leverage on the right deals at the right time, getting meals from the grocery and convenience stores, to utilising local public transport and free Wifi, here are some tips as shared by our friends at Traveloka, on how you can plan a vacation on a budget and make the most out of your ringgit.

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Mind Your Money

Keep an eye on exchange rates and seize the opportunity to grab good rates before your trip, so you can avoid unnecessary transaction fees at foreign ATMs. Set up price alerts with trusted travel sites to receive first-hand discounts on your preferred destinations, airlines and accommodation, so that you can make quick economically informed decisions. If you are a frequent flyer, sign up for programmes to gain mileage points which can entitle you to free flights or an upgrade on your next trip.

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Timing is Everything

Sometimes, travelling off-season can be a worthwhile decision. Hot spots where tourists typically flock to will be less-in demand, bringing prices down significantly. It is also worth trying your luck at the eleventh hour for last-minute promotions and discounts. Rely on trusted sites to get good snags on otherwise expensive treats, especially if you’re travelling with family. Another valuable tip is to familiarise yourself with the local community calendar to leverage on free events or festivals that may be happening during your visit. Not only is this easy on the wallet, you’ll also get to immerse yourself in the local culture! When selecting flights, avoid the crowd by opting for flights during the mid-week rather than weekends, and on major holidays rather than before or after. Overnight flights can also be a way to save money since you can catch some Zs on the plane, saving on a night at the hotel.

A tut tuk in Thailand. Credit: Pixabay

Be travel savvy

For a taste of the local life, skip cabs and take public transportation instead. If it is available, get a multi-pass to save you a good amount, such as the Oyster Card in London or the in EZ-Link card in Singapore. For a healthier option, rent a bike and course through the city (or village). If you’re looking for a full-day tour around town, check with your hotel concierge for credible local driver recommendations, with reasonable and comprehensive packages that will usually include several tourist spots and eating stops. Downloading a map or transportation app such as Grab to get around can also help to prevent getting cheated by local taxis with exorbitant charges.

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Dine considerately

When selecting a place to stay, leverage on those that offer free breakfast to lessen the burden of having to find one. Try to pack at least two meals a day by visiting the local grocery store – you’ll be surprised by the local treasures you will stumble across during your visit! A good idea would be to have lunch as the “dine-out” meal of choice, as you can skip the crowd and also embrace the cheaper meal option, as portions are generally smaller then and many places offer set lunches.

Save Wherever You Can

We might not notice it, but the little things – like getting a local SIM card or even buying water bottles – do add up. In this day and age, many local stores feature Wifi to attract guests, so you can even opt out of getting a local mobile plan. Bring your own reusable water bottles on the trip to avoid having to purchase bottles of water on the go. Boil water in your room or ask the hotel’s restaurant to help fill your bottles before starting the day. Another handy tip is to pack your own basic medical kit  with band aids, aspirin, flu pills and more so you won’t have to search and purchase locally in case of minor emergencies.