Have you ever caught yourself scrolling through your Instagram feed, coming across photos of beautiful places and scenic views, and daydreaming about an epic holiday? And then, you check your bank balance and cry… 😭
But, hey, it’s more than possible to embark on an epic holiday without breaking the bank — as long as you plan ahead (if you are reading this blog article, odds are you have begun planning!) and stick to several budget-savvy hacks.
To help you stretch your money on your epic year-end holidays, we’ve rounded up five money-saving tips. Read on to find out how to keep it cheap on the road.
1. Decide on your budget
This is classic travel advice, but also the most essential advice you can — and should — follow. If you want to keep your expenses low, it’s important to decide on a budget and stick to it.
An effective way to budgeting is creating a budget worksheet on Google Sheets (yes, we are nerds), but you can use any free online spreadsheets or travel budget apps. Set the total amount that you want to spend throughout the trip and identify your big ticket items — transportation, accommodation, and meals. As you enter your travel costs in your budget, you can quickly see where the money is going, how much you will need to add or how much extra you will have.
Remember to put aside a little bit of money for emergencies. Should the unexpected happen, you will be able to protect your travel budget from blowing.
2. Come up with a plan
This is where the fun really starts — decide where you want to go. Your plan should cover everything — how to get there, where to stay, and what to do.
Having a well-thought-out plan means less unexpected spending, and it’s often cheaper (and less stressful!) to book transportation, accommodation, and activities well in advance. Trust us, last-minute plans often eat a big chunk of your budget.
We’d highly recommend checking out the accounts of other travellers who have been to the destination you are going. They may have some tested and tried tips for getting the most out of your trip.
3. Venture off-the-beaten paths
An epic holiday needs not to include fancy resorts, posh restaurants or luxurious experiences. Travelling off the beaten track can fill you with even more fulfilment and bring more colour to your travels.
Go to places that are not on blogs or Instagram — just ask the locals. Discovering “hidden gems” and exploring the lesser-known nooks and crannies is an immersive way of travelling. Immerse yourself in the local culture and learn about the town and its people.
Plus, touristy traps can be an absolute nightmare for your wallet. Taking the road less travelled would mean getting to explore places without any crowds or exorbitant entry fees.
4. Search for free things to do
They say the best things in life are free, and that’s especially true when it comes to travelling. A great — and the best — money-saving tip is to look for free things to do wherever you are heading.
Most cities offer free walking tours, which give you the chance to explore some of the city’s best corners with the informative guidance of a local tour guide. The guides are usually passionate locals who want to share their beloved city. Do note that free walking tours are not always 100% free and you may be expected to tip the guide at the end of the tour.
Other free activities you can enjoy include visiting the museums, walking in the gardens, trekking the forest reserve, food hunting at the night markets, and catching live entertainment from street musicians.
Fun fact: Do you know that we have self-guided walking tours to explore Kuala Lumpur? Play tourist in your own city and get to know the many sides of Kuala Lumpur on foot at your own pace.
5. Hunt the best deal
Amazing deals happen all the time, but you just have to know where — and when — to look. Being on the lookout for discounts and promotions can help you save big money on your holidays.
There are a number of websites that share deals every day — Traveloka, AirAsia, Skyscanner, Agoda, Trivago, *cough* SOCAR. You can also set up email alerts for specific destinations. This is best for when you have a specific destination in mind and want to know the best time to book.
Want the best deal on SOCAR? Ask and you shall receive — stay tuned to our social media to find out. Hint, hint: Cuti Paling Epik.