Plan Your Year-End Holiday Without Breaking Your Bank

Plan Your Year-End Holiday Without Breaking Your Bank

After two years of staying home and keeping socially distant from everyone, it’s natural to feel like it’s time for that well-deserved holiday.

While you’re excited about your year-end trip, you’re probably also worried about the the peak holiday season price surge. Can you afford a hotel? Will flight tickets be more expensive than an Ed Sheeran concert? What if you end up broke when you get back?

Don’t let all that deter you from taking some time off. Here are a few travel tips that can help you plan that year-end holiday without breaking your bank account:

Start right now

You’ve delayed planning long enough – every minute is precious. Decide where you want to go, who you’re going with, how you want to travel, and what do you want to do. From there, it will be easier to look through your itinerary and identify areas that can help you cut or save costs.

Planning early gives you time to shop around for better deals on flight tickets and accommodations. Especially since airlines often provide discounts for making bookings months ahead of the actual travel time.

Visit Malaysia 

If you’re craving for a beach holiday, don’t immediately resort to the usual destinations like Phuket, Krabi, Bali or the Boracay. Instead, consider local islands like Perhentian, Redang, Langkawi, or Pangkor. It’s much cheaper to travel locally and easier to coordinate with your friends too (especially if they don’t have passports).

Not a fan of crowds? Roadtrip to some ‘secret’ islands like Tenggol, Rawa, Kapas, Sibu and so on. If anything, you’ll have a unique holiday to share on Instagram.

Choose a country that does not celebrate Christmas 

If you insist on flying out of Malaysia for your holiday, consider a country that is not big on celebrating Christmas. The holiday-shopping season raises prices throughout the month of December, and it’s prime time for travellers – especially if you choose to go to a country where Christmas is a big deal.

If you really want to go on holiday around this time (because of school holidays), consider visiting countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, or Vietnam. They don’t raise prices as much for Christmas and are also closer to home.

 Travel in a group

Traveling in a group is makes everything cheaper as you’re splitting the costs with your friends or family; whether you’re booking a hotel room, getting an AirBnB, or renting a car. You can also bring a friend that is familiar with your destination. They can help plan the trip, and so you don’t have to spend money on hiring a tour guide.

Travel packages also sometimes offer group discounts. So save some money and bring your friends along to share in the fun.

Pack light

We know it’s tempting to bring your entire wardrobe with you when going on a trip, but that might end up costing you a few extra hundred bucks. Avoid maxing out your baggage allowance by packing light and making sure that you have allocated some room for your impending shopping. This way, you can avoid paying extra for baggage fees on the way home.

Consider reusing clothes, or doing laundry while at your destination. It’ll help reduce the number of items in your luggage and leave room to pack a little extra for the return trip.

Packing light applies to road trips too, as all that extra weight increases fuel consumption. Just make sure you don’t forget to anything important when cutting back on what to bring along.

Don’t travel on weekends

Avoid leaving or returning on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays altogether if possible. Flight tickets are the cheapest during midweek, so it’s best to plan your trip around Mondays and Thursday. People also tend to drive back to their hometown over weekends. Which means that destinations reachable by car also benefit from weekday travel.

But then again, this might require you to burn more annual leave; so you think carefully if can afford it.

Use travel comparison sites

Websites like Skyscanner and Google Flights are very handy when it comes to searching for the cheapest flights. Just key in your preferred date and location, and these sites will do all the work for you. They literally search through hundreds of airlines to find the most affordable flights; doing all the hard work for you.

In fact, if you’re flexible about your plans, you can just search ‘Kuala Lumpur’ to ‘Everywhere’, and Skyscanner will list the cheapest to the most expensive options for you – making it much easier for you to decide on a destination that fits your budget.

Google Flights allows you to subscribe to alerts – letting you know when your desired flight matches your budget. It’s just a matter of planning around the given date.

Chalk up a free itinerary

Lucky for you, a lot of people have travelled when they are either short of cash or close to being broke. Thanks to them, you can find plenty of guides online on free things you can do in almost every country in the world. Whether you’re traveling in Malaysia, heading across the causeway to Singapore, or crossing continents to Paris or Amsterdam, there are plenty of things you can do for free. In fact, some of the free attractions and activities can be more fun than the paid ones. Many museums and galleries offer free entry. You can also opt for walking, discovering the local culture and marveling at art installations and such. This way, you’re only paying for your flight, accommodation, and meals.

Google Trips is also a handy travel app that includes an offline map for navigation and extra information about your holiday destination. It even gives you suggestions on where to go and what to do, and it does all this without an internet connection.

Now that you’re equipped with these helpful travel hacks, go ahead and plan that year-end trip without draining your bank account!

This article was first published in November 2018 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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