Travel

Money-saving hacks for your travels

Tips to stretch your budget a little longer on your next vacation

Vacations have a way of making your hard-earned money disappear.

Every little thing can add up, and before long, you find yourself way off your budget and struggling to make it through the holiday.

Here are the best money-saving tips to help you have a great time without inadvertently creating a financial disaster along the way.

Skip the hotel breakfast

Most are basic and hardly worth waking up for, unless you are staying in a five-star hotel.

Room packages still come with the option to include breakfast - an easy way for the hotel to pad your total bill, as all charges are subject to tax and service fees.

By booking your room without breakfast, you will either get to enjoy sleeping in or have a little adventure exploring the nearby food stalls for a more authentic local meal.

Pay in local currency (with an MCA)

If you have the habit of visiting a particular country repeatedly, you will want to start looking for ways to avoid currency conversion charges, which can add up, especially since they are applied on every transaction.

One easy - and trendy - way to pay in local currency is to apply for a multi-currency account (MCA), which lets you maintain deposits in the currency of your choice.

You can also choose when to purchase the foreign currency you need, helping stretch your holiday budget a little bit further by letting you avoid unfavourable exchange rates.

When you have saved up a sufficient amount in your destination's currency, just take along your bank card and make a withdrawal when you land.

Be sure to check for any automated teller machine service fee that your bank may charge.

If you do not want to get an MCA, the next best thing is to pay for your overseas transactions in the local currency. This is because payment networks are known to charge horrible conversion rates if you choose to pay in Sing dollars.


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Stick to ride-hailing apps

If you have to get around using cabs or taxis, try using the country's ride-hailing apps instead.

Assuming your host country has a service that you already use (such as Grab or Gojek), then it is just a matter of firing up the app when you need a ride. All the better if you have credits or a cashless payment method to use with your app.

If the country you are visiting uses a completely different app and you cannot register your card for payment, install the app anyway and opt to pay in cash.

Booking your rides through the app will let you avoid touts, preventing you from getting gouged by unscrupulous fly-by-night drivers. Also, your trip will be recorded for your safety, and your driver and vehicle are much more likely to be properly registered.

Get travel insurance

The cost of emergency medical treatment can be so overwhelming - especially in serious accidents - that few of us can muster the resources to deal with it.

On a less harrowing note, your airline may mishandle your luggage, causing the loss or damage of expensive or important belongings.

The last thing you want to do is fork out extra money to replace your camera or laptop at the end of your holiday.

Some credit cards come with travel insurance that automatically activates when you use them to pay for your vacation.

Airlines also offer travel insurance packages you can bundle with your flight. Then there are always online travel insurance portals that can get you the coverage you need in minutes.

However you choose to get your travel insurance, be sure that your plan covers your exact needs.

Make prudent use air miles

Frequent flyer programmes such as KrisFlyer or Asia Miles allow you to earn air miles which you can exchange for perks, benefits, accommodation, experiences and attractions.

As a general rule, converting your air miles to free flight tickets gives you the best value. Other perks, like upgrades, discounts and hotels may not be worthwhile.

This article first appeared on Her World Online (www.HerWorld.com)

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