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Stretch your travel dollar and hit all the must-see and must-eat destinations on a budget

Stretch your travel dollar!

Hit all the must-see and must-eat destinations on a budget.

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Thinking about your next big holiday at the end of the year? Are you looking forward to a peaceful retreat on the scenic beaches in Bali, or perhaps anticipating a shopping spree in Tokyo? 

Regardless of the destination, one thing remains certain: a well thought-out budget can make or break your dream holiday. If you are looking for ways to enjoy the holidays without stretching your wallet, look no further! 

Be realistic with your travel budget

It goes without saying - proper budgeting is the most important tip when it comes to travelling! To prevent stressing yourself with a surprise credit card bill at the end of your trip, state upfront how much you will spend on your trip. Do extensive research about the destination you intend to visit so that you can take into account all the costs that you may incur (such as transportation costs, accommodation and data roaming). 

To stretch your shopping budget on your next vacation, check out the tax refund rates and requirements at your destination.  

Appreciate Depreciation

Cool, now that budgeting is out of the way, let’s talk about exchange rates. Taking advantage of the exchange rate is a smart way of saving money while travelling! When the Singapore dollar is stronger than the currency in the intended destination, you can get more foreign currency for every Singaporean dollar exchanged. This means that you have MORE spending power when you travel! This will allow you to enjoy experiences like shopping and cafe hopping for less! For instance, I’ve always been a huge fashionista, but some trendy stuff in Singapore can be way too pricey for my wallet. So, when I realised I could snag more fashionable, and also sustainable clothes at a much cheaper price in Bali during my last trip, I could not resist!

Cheap treats 

Here comes my favourite tip: when it comes to travelling, food is king, but spend like a pauper! When travelling on a budget, doing research on local food hotspots is essential to stretching your dollar. Look for local favourites and hidden gems by checking online reviews. For me, I depend largely on social media for food inspirations. Speaking of my Bali trip, there was this one unforgettable moment. After days of devouring nasi goreng, my friends and I were REALLY craving for something sweet. We were on the verge of surrendering to the nearby Mcdonald’s. But we discovered a short video on social media of a local Balinese recommending “Terang Bulan” (an amazing pancake delicacy in Bali). Just 5 minutes later, we were already heading to a street vendor that served up the sweet pancakes. Moral of the story is: navigating platforms like Tiktok or Instagram can lead you to local treasures, making your travels not only affordable but also satisfying.

Able to nego?

Bring out the haggler in you! You don’t have to be a master negotiator to save money overseas. When you visit the local flea markets or bazaars, do not be afraid to negotiate with the vendors. Start the ball rolling by asking questions like “Can we negotiate?” or “Your product is really amazing, can you lower your asking?” Be honest and friendly with the vendors, and chances are they will reciprocate!

Bargaining is common practice in many cultures, so have fun snagging deals when you travel! However, remember to always be polite and courteous! Even if you do not reach an agreement with the vendors, it is always good to leave a good impression with the locals.

Early bird gets the cheapest worm

When it comes to travelling, be as kiasu as possible! Booking airline tickets well in advance is a key way to stretch your travel dollar. Airlines tend to offer more affordable prices that are booked far ahead of time. Keep an eye on fare comparison websites and be flexible with your travel dates to snag the best deals! 

The same goes for booking accommodations. Many vacation hotspots offer lower rates for those who can commit early. Additionally, by booking early, you have a broader selection of places to choose from, ensuring you find the ideal place that suits your preferences and budget.

By the way, did you know there are telegram groups dedicated to travel? There are some pretty sweet deals available on these channels as well. 

The writer is a final year university student and voracious traveller who enlightened his older colleagues on Gen Z travel tips when he was a GXS intern.