It’s that time of the year when public transport (strangely enough) doesn’t seem so crowded anymore. And weekends at the malls feels like weekdays because there aren’t as many people. And even the hawker centre or restaurant near your office is less packed at lunchtime because many people have gone away for the holidays! 🙂 And if you’re still in Singapore, you are probably yearning for a holiday but wishing it’s not so expensive. I know exactly how that feels. So here are 5 creative money saving tips for holidays that I’d like to share with you. 😀
#1: Save on BAGGAGE fees
*Swop luggage for a backpack: You’ll end up bringing less and it’ll weigh less too! 😛
I flew by Tigerair to Indonesia recently – no hiccups, thank God! – and noticed that an Indonesian lady (I’m not sure if she’s a domestic helper so I won’t speculate) was at the check-in counter at Changi Airport and holding up the entire queue. Apparently she had exceeded the baggage allowance for cabin luggage and had to pay S$50, which she wasn’t pleased with.
And for some reason unknown to me, you cannot pay for excess baggage at the check-in counter. You have to walk over to some other counter somewhere else. It would be any traveler’s worst nightmare if he/she is already running late for a flight!
So… here’s what I suggest: weigh your luggage at home first. Then purchase sufficient check-in luggage allowance online before even heading to the airport (maybe purchase an additional 1 or 2 kilograms more than what your luggage weighs because the weighing scale at the airport might not exactly tally with the one you have at home). Then… here’s a tip you’ll want to thank me for (HAHA)… Have the heaviest item (that’s not too bulky) in a small handbag or camera bag, and place it on the ledge in front of you at the check-in counter, effectively blocking the counter staff from noticing it, and even if he/she does, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be asked to get it weighed ‘cos it’s small.
I’ve used this trick in the past for a heavy DSLR camera (now dead), souvenirs (that I regret buying), and even books (one of the worst things to bring along when you’re flying via budget airlines). 😛
#2: Bring everything in MINIATURE and SHARE whenever possible
Why bring an entire tube of toothpaste when it’s just a 4D3N trip? If you’re sharing it with 5 friends, then by all means, go ahead. Otherwise, look for small tubes. I don’t recommend using toothpaste provided by hotels because they usually taste weird.
So I have a stash of small toothpaste tubes, miniature bottles of skincare, and even those miniature perfume spray bottles that usually come as free samples with magazines. Keep those!!!
I know of friends who bring their entire 100ml bottles of perfume with them when they head overseas. I’m not sure why anyone would do that unless they are holidaying for 3 months or more.
With everything in miniature, you save on luggage space and can purchase souvenirs or do some shopping without fearing that you’ll exceed your baggage allowance when you’re heading back home.
#3: Bring your own F&B on budget flights (OOPS!)
Of course, if it’s affordable for you, go ahead and purchase in-flight meals off the menu. Better yet, book them together with your flight ticket so as to get cost savings and sometimes, even free vouchers.
The next best thing to do would be to have your meals at the airport and board the plane with a full stomach, and be ready to sleep throughout the duration of the flight.
During those rare occasions when you JUST have to bring some food on-board, such as during transits when there’s just not enough time to sit down for a meal and yet you aren’t willing to spend so much on meals onboard, then grab a sandwich or some food that you can easily polish off within 5-10 minutes… and…
Eat them during takeoff and when the plane’s gaining altitude!
That’s when the cabin crew have to be in their seats with their seatbelts fastened, and they won’t be around to tell you that “Sir, no outside food is allowed on this flight”. GIANT DISCLAIMER HERE: I will not be held responsible should choking occur for whatever reason. If you’re incapable of taking small but quick bites, and spitting food out if something goes wrong, then DO NOT follow this tip.
And always bring your own water bottle – not just for choking episodes but because flights can be extremely dehydrating for our bodies! I refill my empty water bottle just before boarding the plane at Changi Airport. The water from the water cooler is FREE and you can take as much as you want. Once on board, however, a small bottle of water can cost upwards of S$4. In the event that you have to purchase water on a flight, ask for 2 cups of ice (cabin crew are usually happy to oblige) and you can share that bottle with a friend (save some money) OR just wait for the ice to melt and you’ll have more water to last the entire flight! This is the reason I’ll always ask for 2 cups of ice, whether I’m flying solo or not. 😀
#4: Make all flight and hotel bookings INCOGNITO and don’t pay full price (DUH!)
I’ve read more than a few articles on how to save money when booking flights. Apparently Tuesdays are really good for that. But one good tip I’ve found is to do my price comparisons using Google’s incognito window.
In the upper right-hand side of your screen, just below the red cross button is the button you can click on and see “New incognito window” as one of the options. Or just press Ctrl + Shift + N.
If I’m just browsing today and not actually paying for flights and hotels yet, I don’t want those sites to track my browsing history, know my travel dates or preferred airlines and hotels. If they do, then when I check back online tomorrow, the prices would either remain the same, or have gone up. Meanwhile, a friend might be able to get discounts just because no browsing history has been tracked.
Also, don’t pay full price. Even a mere 7% discount can add up to be a lot of money. Expedia Singapore has some discount codes for up to 60% off!
#5: Notify your overseas FRIENDS and they’ll help you SAVE lots!
This picture shows the truly DELICIOUS satay (or Sate) in Surabaya that I had last month, thanks to my pals who brought me to the best food places in Surabaya. This was CHEAP and GOOD (and every savvy Singaporean’s dream-come-true). The meal (including rice and drinks) for 4 people came up to just S$12. We each had 10 sticks of satay!!! *faint*
My pals drove me around in their vehicle, so I saved loads on taxi fare. Also, they brought me to the cheaper and better places to buy souvenirs and local delicacies like lapis Surabaya (kueh lapis, Surabaya-style). I’d have paid at least a 30% premium if I bought those items at the Juanda Airport, and there’s no guarantee that I’m getting tastier kueh even if they are more expensive. It’s like in Singapore: those Merlion chocolates will cost WAYYYY more if you buy them at Changi Airport versus at Mustafa, no? 😉
~ That’s all, folks! ~
If you’re traveling, I hope these 5 tips come in handy for you! 😀 If you have more to share, please drop me an email or leave me a comment below. 😀 Click to read my previous post about 5 creative money-saving tips for “young” people like me. (Did you know that making a donation can give you 3x tax savings?)