Where are you headed for the year-end holidays? With travel restrictions to most countries lifted, it’s time to put those unutilised leave days to use, and with good reason too. It’s inarguable that globe-trotting is good for your mental and physical well-being. It also broadens your horizons through unique cultural experiences, making you a more well-rounded individual.
Travelling doesn’t necessarily have to cost a bomb. With a little research and preparation, you can have a memorable trip without burning a hole in your pocket.
We’ve prepared some tips to help you save cost, maximise your enjoyment, and remain safe in your travels.
Get the most value from your flight tickets. Book your flight tickets through aggregator sites like Skyscanner and Cheapflights that compare prices and show you details such as layover times, travel times etc. These sites also help you to combine different airlines to get the most value, saving you valuable research time.
Maximise your layover period. Choose flights that have an extended layover so you can relax and take in the sights
Overnight trains. When taking long train trips from city to city, book an overnight train to save on accommodation. You’ll get a nice, long trip with plenty to see, and you can maximise your day for sightseeing.
Group fares. If you are travelling with family or friends, check for group travel fares and book these in advance. In many places there are multi-destination fares for groups travelling by train, allowing you huge savings. Make sure you have your tickets in order, as the penalties for travelling without a valid ticket are steep!
Pre-book tickets. It’s often much cheaper to pre-book tickets online for concerts, museums, the theatre etc. You also won’t have to deal with long queues.
Be smart with the exchange rate. A multi-currency account gives you the privilege of holding up to 24 foreign currencies in a single account. This can be a form of investment as well as a way to diversify your investment portfolio. The RHB Multi Currency Account* lets you enjoy exclusive currency conversion rates, which comes with a Multi Currency Visa Debit Card.
Upgrade your car rental. If you need to book a car, make sure this is done in advance and directly with a reputable car rental service. Download their app to get information on the latest offers and rewards. When you pick up your car, try your luck, and ask for an upgrade. They just might give you a complimentary upgrade, especially if you plan to use the car for some time, or plan to travel to multiple destinations where they have branches. Be sure to ask for insurance information, breakdown services, benefits, plus other terms and conditions to avoid future confusion.
Be flexible. We know you want to experience everything possible but chasing a jam-packed itinerary can be stressful and exhausting. Leave room for changes and last-minute plans. You’re on holiday! If you want to be stressed, go back to work!
Get your documents in order. Although most countries have lifted their restrictions, some require you to prepare vaccination documents. Check visa requirements as well, and make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from your planned date of travel.
Use your RHB benefits. To get the most out of your holiday, check for the latest RHB credit/debit card benefits and offers – you might be able to save on accommodation. Other benefits include airport lounge access, travel insurance, preferential exchange rates and points for spending overseas. If you aren’t currently an RHB cardholder, sign up now and get RM200 cashback!
Don’t carry loads of cash. When you are in a foreign country, don’t be Mr Money Bags. Use a debit card whenever you can (the RHB Multi Currency Visa Debit Card helps) and carry a small amount of cash to buy food and necessities. To avoid losing all your cash and cards to pickpockets, don’t put them all in a single wallet. Carry a “decoy” wallet with a little bit of cash that you can put in your pocket and store the rest in a hidden carrier on your body, along with your passport.
Exchange money safely. If you do need to use a money changer, scout around for reputable ones and compare rates. Exchange small amounts at a time to avoid drawing unwanted attention. Don’t listen to touts to avoid being scammed.
Trust your instincts. If something seems off, or sounds too good to be true, just refuse it. If someone approaches you and asks you to follow them somewhere, don’t do it. Missing out on a deal is better than paying a much steeper price for it later.
Dress sensibly. Wear plain, comfortable clothes that blend in. Depending on where you are going that day, try to avoid wearing clothes or items that are obviously expensive or flashy. These can make you an easy target. If you plan to go fine dining, pack clothes that are easy to maintain (do not wrinkle or require special treatment).
Don’t take everything you own. Only pack items that are easily replaceable in case your luggage is delayed/lost. Clothes can be washed for trips lasting more than a week. If you are going to a warm country, clothes made from microfiber (dri-fit) don’t take up as much space as regular cotton t-shirts and are very comfortable.
Be contactable. Sim cards are cheap in many countries. You can also use roaming in case Wi-Fi isn’t free or available. Carry a power bank with you to avoid being stuck with a dead phone. Always inform someone of your whereabouts. Call home or send an email. Social media is a good way to log your travel and keep your loved ones informed but don’t stay glued to the gram! If you’re planning on venturing off into the wilderness, tell your friends and family at home how long you expect to be off grid, where you are going, and who you are travelling with.
Experience the local culture and be respectful. Travelling is the best way to learn about other cultures. Learn how to say “hello” and “thank you” in the local language. Read up on the dos and don’ts. Remember, you are a guest in someone’s home country, so be respectful!
And perhaps most importantly, live in the moment. We know you want to take pictures and videos of everything, but you’re there to create memories. Put the phone down and be present with your travelling companions. It’s the time to connect, communicate, and make memories that will last a lifetime.
We hope you enjoy your vacation and come back refreshed and ready to begin the new year!