If you think that travelling is expensive, you are not alone. Most people have the same perception as you. But is that really true? In reality, the cost of your travel depends on how you travel and how many travelling hacks you have in your pocket.
Here are four travelling hacks that will make travel much less expensive than you think, especially for small budget travellers.
1. Go cashless with DBS multi-currency account
Pickpocketing is one of the most annoying and frustrating things that can happen to you while you are overseas. It depletes your travelling budget, which is already small, to begin with! Apart from doing all the necessary preventive measures like anti-theft crossbody backpacks and travel pouches, limiting the cash you have on hand can also help. Instead of lugging so much cash around (especially if you travel for a long period), why not go cashless?
DBS Multi-Currency account allows you to keep foreign currencies in your bank account. You can transact overseas directly in the relevant foreign currency without being exposed to conversion or administrative fees. You can also withdraw cash from overseas ATM, albeit at a cost of S$5 per withdrawal. DBS Multi-Currency account currently allows you to transact in 11 foreign currencies: Australia Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Euro, Hong Kong Dollar, Japanese Yen, New Zealand Dollar, Norwegian Kroner, Sterling Pound, Swedish Kroner, Thai Baht and US Dollar.
If you are planning to go cashless with DBS Multi-Currency account, one additional hack you need to know is to bring an additional card that links to the DBS Multi-Currency account. In the event that you really get pickpocketed, you can still fall back on your backup card. But, trust us, it is much easier to protect one card than a wade of cash.
2. Learn about the cities and culture with free walking tours
For some of us, travelling is more than just a time to relax. It is also a time to learn about the cities, its people and its culture. Often, we do not have the luxury of time to fully appreciate the city for its uniqueness. If you want to learn about the cities’ people and culture within a short period of time, free walking tours are your best bet.
Free walking tours bring you on an expedited journey across the city’s rich culture and history. For half a day, you get to learn about most of the major events that happened to the city. It is also a good time to burn off some calories so that you can enjoy local cuisine at night.
Most of these walking tours are conducted by local experts who live in and love the city. They operate on tips only, which means that you can decide how much you want to give. While you can walk away from the tour for free, it is good courtesy to give a small token to the guide to appreciate his/her efforts. We advocate everyone to tip 5-10 dollars in the local currency depending on how much you have enjoyed the tour. Even with the tip, it is still well within your budget!
Oh, and did we mention that most cities also have free pub crawls? (P.S. You might need to pay for your own alcohol though)
3. Avoid roaming charges with overseas SIM card
Admit it, you NEED the internet to survive overseas. From checking how to reach your next destination on Google maps to finding the best food places, the internet is indispensable for travellers. In this day and age, we hardly know of anyone who still uses travel guidebooks for travel (except for the travel purists). However, roaming charges can be expensive, regardless of which telco you are tied to.
Instead, we recommend getting an overseas SIM card that allows you to surf the internet without any cost worries. These SIM cards are typically much more cost efficient, i.e. lower cost per GB of data. If you are only travelling to a single country, you can consider getting one at the airport. But if you want to save even more, get it from the local 7-11 or convenience store. It is MUCH CHEAPER than the airport’s vending machines.
If you are travelling to different places, there are also SIM cards that allow you to connect to the internet in multiple countries. SIM cards for the Europe and Asia region are pretty popular, which you can find easily on Qoo10, Klook or iShopChangi.
For some countries, it also makes sense (and is easier) to buy a prepaid SIM card from one of the local telcos in Singapore. We like M1’s Data Passport and Starhub’s Happy Roam plans for their convenience and affordability.
4. Stay at Airbnbs where you can cook
Airbnbs are good choices if you are looking for a cheaper alternative to hotels. But there’s one other thing that Airbnb offers: The option to cook. Eating out can be an expensive affair, especially in countries or cities where the cost of living is higher than in Singapore (think Europe). For budget travellers, one way to save is to cook your own food. If you buy raw ingredients from the supermarket, it costs 40-50% less than eating out.
Bonus: Another tip that will help you save money is to scan supermarkets for soon-to-expire items. Many items are being sold at a discount if the expiry date is near. Since you are going to consume it on the day, you can get them for half the cost (or even lower)!
What other travel hacks do you think has worked well for you? Let us know!