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Part 1 – planning a trip

Since a lot of people are clearing their leave during this December school holidays and going on overseas trip, Cheaponana.com has decided to share with our beloved readers some practical tips on reducing expenses during these overseas trips.

1) Get cheap air tickets – Plan your holiday in advance

With so many budget airlines in the market, the intense competition generated means that we the consumers stand to gain! Sign up for the newsletters of the various airlines so that you’ll be in the know whenever a promotion begins and start planning your leave.  Budget airlines flying out from Singapore include – Tiger Airways, Jetstar Asia, Airasia, Scoot.

There are other online airline travel agencies which may provide cheaper airtickets than those sold on the airlines’ website. For instance, a ticket to Bali via Qatar would cost more than $400 from their website, but using a portal such as MISA travel, we managed to get a good deal at $280. There are others such as cheaptickets.sg or Zuji so do check them out and make comparisons. For full fledged airlines, sometimes booking early is not enough. Do watch out for their promotions which may vary from time to time.

2) Source for cheap accomodation

Accomodation would usually cost half the expenses for one’s trip. By reducing the amount of money spent on accomondations, one can then spend more money on food and shopping!

a) Stay for free

It’ll be great if one can travel to a holiday destination where there is a family member or friends staying/working/studying there. But what to do if you are not so well connected? Check out couchsurfing, which is a site that allows one to meet like-minded people from across the world and sleep on their couch for free! Sometimes if you are lucky, you may even get a proper bed or a room. However, do exercise discretion and check out the ratings and feedback of the hosts and chat with him or her first before commiting yourself. You do not want a pleasant holiday trip to become a nightmare for you.

b) Compare prices

How do you decide on where to stay for your holiday trip? For most people, it is either via recommendation from family, friends or strangers on forums or designated hotels from group buys/tour operators. Tripadvisor has always been our favourite review site of the accomodation in foreign cities, and once you have decided on the hotel or B&B that you want, they have a function for you to compare the prices across various booking sites. Of course, always cross-reference this price with that of the official website if it is available as sometimes there can be variation in prices. Another site that we’ve tried out recently is Airbnb. It provides a list of homes or rooms that owners put up for rent and the prices are much lower than that charged by hotels, so you can potentially stay in someone’s bungalow instead of a hotel room, for the same price!

3) Book tours online or go for free tours

Depending on your holiday destination, sometimes one will need to book tours – either to immerse in the culture of the cities or while your time away. There are various walking tours in different cities and some of them are “free”! You do not need to pay a single cent to book these tours, just turn up at the location and look for the guides wearing the T shirts. You walk with them throughout the city and at the end of the day, you tip the tour guide according to what you feel he/she deserves to be paid. In Europe, Sandemans is highly recommended. Cheaponana has tried their tour guides in various cities in Europe and the standard has been pretty consistent! Also check out this list of free walking tours across the world here.

Apart from the free tours, also check out the various tours offered in various cities. Forums are usually a good place to start, so check out Tripadvisors for ideas and advice for various tourist spots. For instance, in Australia, Daytrip is a good place to book tours as they are almost 25% cheaper than when you obtain a booking from the tour operators.

We will discuss more tips in our Part II guide. Watch out for it!

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