Budgeting is one of the most important things to do when planning a holiday. Follow 7 guides to prepare your budget to enjoy Phuket without spending too much.
Nowadays, it seems like everyone and their parents have travelled abroad, whether to see far away relatives or even to check out exotic destinations like Phuket. The advent of low-cost airlines has also helped a lot of people travel abroad easier. The strength of Singaporean passport also helps, with hundreds of countries allowing Singaporean passport holders to enter without a visa or with visa on arrival. The list includes Thailand, which makes Phuket extremely attractive for Singaporean travelers. Not far from home, you are into a great vacation, with countless day and night activities to try.
However, going abroad is not as easy as it sounds, especially for beginner travellers. There are a lot of things to consider, one of them is the budget. If you don’t budget your overseas trip accordingly, you will be shocked by your credit card bill at the end of the month or become strapped out of cash in the foreign country you visit. No one likes either situation, of course, so proper planning is necessary for a silky-smooth travel experience. Better safe than sorry, lah!
Wondering what the tips for budget travelling are? We have compiled these 7 tips from veteran nomads and frequent travellers alike. These budgeting tips will help you travel easier without breaking your wallet. Read on to know more.
1. Hunt online for deals and vouchers
Airline sites often hold sale ticket, and hotel booking sites most likely offer incredible deals for Phuket hotels (and Phuket resorts if you want to splurge a bit). Most deals come with a hitch though, which means you need to travel at the specified time to get them—you can know more in-depth by reading tips #4. Some of the deals could significantly cut your travelling budget. For example, you can stay in one of the cheap hotels in Phuket starting from S$100 per night. Combined with the free flight tickets, you will get serious savings if you plan accordingly. It is even possible for you to enjoy a full weekend in Phuket with only S$200.
To make your budgeting easier, you can book Phuket hotels at some booking sites without booking charges. If you are unable to come, sometimes you can get free cancellation. Flights are not as flexible though – free or discounted flight tickets often come with fixed departure date and non-refundable so make sure you plan for your trip well in advance. Planning is especially important if you travel with friends or family.
2. Advanced savings
Ideally, you will want to save up for at least 6 months to a year before your trip. The earlier you start saving and budgeting for your trip, the less amount you need to save every week or month. To increase your discipline at savings, you can open a time deposit account in your bank. Once you set the amount you want to save and the saving period, your primary account will be charged with a calculated amount every month/week. Your savings can even earn interest, and every little bit helps when it comes to travelling budget, so time deposit account is one of the preferred solutions to save for travel.
If you want, you can also try other savings methods, such as the traditional piggy bank or the infamous S$5 bill savings – where you save every S$5 bill you received. Trying out various savings methods is also fun as long as you don’t count the savings yet until the date of your trip is nearing. You will be surprised by the amount you are able to save!
3. Get free activities to explore the city
In Phuket, there are a lot of free activities you will want to try as the city seemingly never sleeps. All you need to know is where to look. Don’t be afraid to dive into unknown waters and visit non-touristy areas – you will be surprised that a lot of things can be experienced even without paying a lot of money (read tips #6 to know more about this). This, however, does not mean that you should avoid paying for anything in your travel.
To start your adventure in Phuket, you can visit one of the 30 beaches in the day and spend your entire day lazing around, swimming, or sunbathing to get your natural tan. At night, discover vivid nightlife at the Bangla street. You may need to buy some drinks to fully experience the night entertainment there.
4. Travel in low season
Do you know that flying on Tuesday will allow you to get the best ticket price? Travelling in low season will allow you to save a lot of money. Besides, most tourist destinations will be less crowded, allowing you to enjoy your trip more. However, you will need to adjust your holiday timing with your work to ensure that you get proper leave days. If you plan your trip with family and friends, make sure your schedule matches theirs, so your trip is more complete.
According to most travel blogs and websites, low season is around November to March, with the exception of Christmas and New Year trips. FareCompare has an excellent website called Getaway Map that shows when flight tickets will be very cheap. The website is very easy to use and informative, allowing you to pick destinations before showing the map because apparently, every destination has its own low season.
5. Use a travel-friendly credit card for all travel expenses
Travel-friendly credit cards will allow you to reap a lot of benefits related to travel. The most common benefit of a travel-friendly credit card is airline miles. Every dollar you spend will be converted to points that you can exchange to airline miles in the designated airlines. This is very convenient as you can save for your travel while you spend. Most banks have travel-friendly credit cards, you just need to call the customer service or visit the branch office to apply for one.
Other perks of travel-friendly credit cards are travel-related features. For example, some cards will reimburse you if you lose your wallet and card overseas, while other cards have concierge numbers which will help you with travel-related inquiries. To know the features available on the competing travel-friendly cards, you may want to visit the bank’s website or call the customer service.
6. Live like a local
One of the most common beginner travellers’ mistakes is to live like a tourist. They use a chartered car, makan in tourist-friendly locations, and stay in 5 star hotels in Phuket. Not only they will miss a lot of experiences when going abroad, but making this mistake is also very expensive. Apparently, in most countries, tourist-friendly spots are more expensive than “local” spots.
To avoid this mistake, try staying in Phuket hotels with cheap rates and surrounded by attractive destinations reachable by a short walk, and eat out in places where local eats. Google Maps, Lonelyplanet, and Wikitravel could be your friends. Try to use all three tools as a reference to find out local, otherwise undiscovered, places. Experiencing how the locals live is one of the joys when travelling, so try not to miss that out!
7. Don’t be afraid to splurge a bit to experience more
Ultimately, travelling is all about the experience. If you need to splurge a bit to fully immerse yourself in the place you are travelling to, feel free to do so. Sure, you will need to adjust your budget a bit if you want to splurge, but being too stingy is not good when travelling. The art of balancing travel budget is something that needs to be honed, but once you found the balance, you are in for a treat.
Fortunately, a week in Thailand could be cheaper than, say, a week in Singapore, so you can adjust your budget a bit easier. For example, you may want to splurge for local-made alcohol a few times in a week and drink water instead of beer/alcohol for the rest of the week. Or, you might want to eat in a fancy restaurant a few times, and eat where locals eat for the rest of your holiday. That way, you boleh enjoy what Phuket offers and still save money.
Budgeting for your travel sure is not easy. However, things will get much easier after you find the right Phuket hotels to stay. And all your work will be paid off when you see the beauty of Phuket. With some perseverance, tips, and tricks, you can budget for your travel easier and focus more on what you want to see in your destination.
All these tips are also applicable if you want to visit another country, such as Vietnam, Malaysia, or Indonesia. To apply these tips, you just need to consider the living costs in the country you want to visit. Pay attention to factors in accommodation, transportation, food, tickets to tourist attractions, souvenirs, and other miscellaneous fees associated with your travel. Also, remember that sometimes the currency might fluctuate, so you might need to adjust your budget when you arrive.