New countries, new experiences… It’s all very exciting! Until you realize you’re broke, that is. Don’t get caught in a situation like that. Instead, follow our guide and plan smart: By saving a little here and there, you can chock up huge savings on your trip!
#1 Double-check your passport!
Just because your passport hasn’t expired doesn’t mean you’ve nothing to worry about! Some countries actually require three to six months of validity for you to enter. Another thing to check is tourist visas—while most countries do not require it for Singapore passport holders, it’s always better to research to make sure. Australia, one of the top destinations among Singaporeans, is one such example. (Read also: Hitting The Great Ocean Road? Well, You’ll Need An Australian Tourist Visa)
If you get denied entry, you’ll have to double back to Singapore—that’s not only expensive, but also super sian.
#2 Don’t scrimp on travel insurance.
We know… Going online and reading up on (*cough*boring*cough*) coverage plans is no fun. Collating all the information and comparing them is even worse. Plus, you’ve probably bought travel insurance a gazillion times before and nothing ever happened. So maybe there’s no real need to buy it, right?
The truth is, there are lots of things that can go wrong when it comes to travelling overseas. Things like cancelled flights, lost luggage, or even an unfortunate accident, just to name a few. Not only are these situations a huge inconvenience, they can also be very costly. So when these “rainy days” come round, you’ll be glad you paid a modest fee for the “umbrella”.
Also, being under-covered is just as bad as not buying insurance, so make sure you do your due diligence and compare across plans to find the most suitable one for your needs.
For example, HyfeAssure by Changi Recommends offers affordable plans and most importantly, instant cash claims (up to $200) at Changi Airport. This means that if you have any small claims, you can settle them immediately upon return to Singapore, and get your cash right at our booths (located across all terminals). (Read also: Travel #Adulting: Must I Really Buy Travel Insurance?)
Bonus tip: Carry a copy of the policy (either in your phone or a print out) and bring it along with you so you can check your coverage on the go! You can also check what supporting documents you need to request for, so that you can process your claims when you’re back.
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#3 Use the right credit card, and tell the bank that you’re travelling.
You probably have a “main” credit card that you use in Singapore, but instead of simply using it overseas too, check the overseas expenditure rebates and currency conversion charges of all your cards first. You may have a better one to use. Most conversion fees are around 2% to 3%, but rebates can go as high as 5%, which is a real bargain!
While you’re at it, give your bank a ring and tell them you’re travelling. There’s nothing worse than shopping to your heart’s content, only to have your card rejected at the cashier! Most banks have anti-fraud security protocols in place, so it’s entirely possible that they may freeze your card if they suspect fraudulent activity. If you’ve never used your credit and/or debit cards overseas, you will also need to activate the overseas spending permissions on your cards.
#4 Don’t pay in Singapore Dollars (SGD).
Some overseas stores allow you to pay in your home currency, and to many, this sounds like a great idea. They think, “It’s good because this way, I will know exactly how much is charged to my credit card!” While that is true, paying in SGD is often more expensive. This is because of dynamic currency conversion—the overseas store gets a cut too, so on top of the bank’s currency conversion fees, you’re paying an additional fee to the merchant. Many times, it can be even double that of the bank’s conversion fees.
#6 Do your due diligence and research money changer rates!
Many travellers make the mistake of putting off money changing. After all, there are money changers at the airport, right? True, but they often have the most expensive rates. Let’s not talk about the times you were rushing for a last-minute flight—those cases bo bian. But if you’ve been planning your trip for months, you definitely have the time to do research and check out various rates across different money changers.
It may look like a small difference, but it adds up—especially when you’re talking about hundreds of dollars (maybe even thousands, if you’re changing for the whole group)!
RELATED: Get UNLIMITED 4G high-speed internet with ChangiWiFi at as low $5/day*!
#7 Make sure you switch off mobile data and roaming.
This one is a real pricey lesson, so listen up to avoid getting your fingers burnt! When you switch on your phone upon touch-down at your destination country, head to your phone’s settings and toggle off mobile data and roaming. If you don’t, your smart phone will automatically detect a local service network, and continue pushing notifications like it does at home.
Yup, your WhatsApp messages will flood in, but you’ll be paying through your nose for it!
Our solution? ChangiWiFi, of course! Pay a cheap daily rental fee, and you’ll have access to unlimited high-speed WiFi for the rest of your trip! Do note that you should still switch your mobile data and roaming off—when WiFi signal is lost, your smartphone may automatically revert to using mobile data, and you’ll be charged for it. (Read also: 5 Super Easy Ways to Save Data & Battery While Travelling)
Travelling for a special occasion? Announce it!
Maybe it’s your wedding anniversary. Or your best friend’s birthday. Whatever it is, go ahead and tell your selected airlines and hotels! Most of them have a budget set aside for little gifts and surprises to make the experience extra special for their guests.
Ready to embark on your adventure?
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