- Travel during off peak period. That means, travel outside of public holiday periods or school holiday periods.
- Scour groupon or scoupon for bargain deals. During off-peak periods, there will be a lot of good deals for travelling (accommodation, flight or package of accommodation and flights).
- Use budget airlines. Some flying tricks:
- To save accommodation money arrive at the hotel before check in time (around 5 - 6 am), explore the city a little, with luggage “checked in” at the concierge (5 star hotels normally accept this) & check in at check in time (normally between 10 am to 2 pm). In comparison, if you arrive at 10pm at night, you pay for a hotel for 1 whole day but you only utilize the hotel for a few hours and just for sleeping.
- Sleep during the flight and be right awake on the city. Don’t waste money and time sleeping in your city of destination (unless that’s what you want).
- Bring meals from home, if no meals are not provided by the airlines.
- Don’t shun five star hotels.
- They offer good (free) facilities, such as kids’ day care, tennis courts, squash courts, swimming pools, running/jogging tracks, gym, spa, etc for free (inclusive in your accommodation fee). Using these facilities will take up most of your time, and you will have less time to shop (spend money). Playing tennis, playing squash or running are good for your health, too.
- They offer meals (at least breakfast) included in the accommodation package. This saves you money and trouble. You don’t have to go out in the morning to look for meals and coffee. You can wake up with mini bar (coffee and tea) provided, go for jogging or swim or both, then have breakfast fully prepared.
- They offer good (aka free) transport arrangements such as transport to and from airport, transport to and from tourist destinations or restaurants, etc.
- Go to the third world countries (Indonesia, Thailand, etc), where your dollar will stretch more because their living cost is generally less.
- Travel with friends. It will cost less - you can share food, hotel room,taxi fare, etc with them and thus, bringing down the holiday costs.
- Utilize your Qantas points - accumulate your Qantas points during the year on groceries - for hotel deals and flight deals.
- Avoid tourist traps. Look at zomato for local cuisine at good prices. Look at tripadvisor for reviews.
- Exchange money (a little) before you fly to your destination. This can be used for taxi, trolley, phone calls (at public phone), tips, etc.
- And exchange more cash at your destination.
Reasoning the exchange rate normally is much better at the holiday destination for their local currency. Therefore, exchange more cash once you have arrived there. Also, when you are already there, you will know how much cash you will need.
Tips for looking where to exchange: don’t just go to the nearest ATM or bank to exchange, call up a few currency exchange retailers and ask for quotes and ask if they are mobile or fixed (some quotes are mobile remember currency moves tick by tick every second. some currencies are fixed, normally it is those that are unwanted.) The better rates are normally offered by currency exchange retailers slightly further away location from the CBD and the tourist destinations.
Trick: exchange bit by bit, don’t change all of your money all at once at your holiday destination. Store your money (both currencies) in the safety deposit box (along with your passports, of course). Only a little money is with you at any given time.
- Use credit card that provides good exchange rate without any annual fee. 28 degrees from GE finance is good.
- Use your accumulated time in lieu. Save your annual leave.
- Cash out your accumulated annual leave when applying for the time off and buy more into shares or managed funds.
- Do not exceed your luggage quota - plan what you are bringing and what you are buying, do not overshop. If you stay in a five star hotel, you won’t need toiletries (towels, toothbrush, comb, etc). They are all provided by the hotel, so don’t use up your luggage quota for something that is already provided.
- Shopping tricks
- Have a budget and stick to your budget.
- Know what to buy and buy appropriately (according to the country’s produce), for example: I know that this year, I need to replenish my stock of dressy (office party appropriate) clothes, jeans, towels, and mats, because they are worn and torn. And I know that I am going for a vacation in Bali, Indonesia. I know Indonesia is a third world country and labour is cheap there and I also know they produce cheap jeans, towels and mats, but not so dressy (office party appropriate) clothes.
Therefore, in Indonesia, I will only buy jeans, towels and mats. Where to buy in Indonesia? Local market and supermarket (carrefour, giant and indomaret, but not Hero or ranch market). Ask your hotel staff for a local market and supermarket that is cheap for jeans, towels and mats. Just shop in one market or supermarket because you must not forget to incorporate travel cost (time is cost, too). Remember, travel cost will add up the per unit cost of your purchases.
In third world countries, like Indonesia, the shopping (Zara, Topshop, Body Shop, etc) won’t be much less than Australian’s Zara, Topshop or Body Shop. Sometimes, when Australians shops are on sale, the Australians’ Zara, Top Shop or Body Shop can be sold much cheaper.
So do your research first.
Find the specific items that you want in Zara or Body Shop or Top Shop in your home country. Know the prices of each of them. Then compare the prices of the items you are eyeing in your destination. Buy in the country or city that offers cheaper price.
The more you travel, the more you will learn of shopping tricks that works for you.
- Shopping tricks in third world countries like in Indonesia.
Go to local market or supermarket (like Carrefour, Giant and indomaret, not Hero or ranch market) and stock up (replenish your almost used up stock) on Indonesian products for daily living products:
- kitchen utensils
- plates, bowls,
- indonesian produced clothes (pyjamas, t-shirts, shorts)
- all sorts of towels (face towels, hand towels, body towels, kitchen towels, etc) all sorts of mats (bath mats, floor mats, etc)
- gillette razors blades (Refills), gillette (the razors)
- basically stock up on things that are made in Indonesia
Tip: Do not over shop on little handcrafts or artcrafts things that don’t have specific functions. They usually don’t last long (fall apart quite easily) and they don’t have many functions except for being dust collectors.
Note: to easily find about where to go for local market or supermarket, ask your hotel staff and emphasize on local and cheap market or supermarket.
- Shopping tricks in the third world countries, like Indonesia.
- Dry clean your coats, jackets, suits, gown there.
- Resole your shoes there, it costs around $2 - $7 per pair in Jakarta, Indonesia. I have never bought shoes since 2009. (I bought a pair of good shoes for each function (work, casual, dressy, etc) and resole them).
- Go to a tailor there and make a couple (or a few) of your favourite pants, jeans, skirts. I went to a street tailor and it costs me around $5 to make a pair of pants, jeans and skirts, which I use everyday.
How to do it? Do you have a favourite pair of jeans and pants? Do you have a favourite skirt and shirt? Do these jeans, pants, skirt and shirt have simple cut? Bring them to along to your Asian trip, bring along similar fabric at sufficient amount (buy them in your discounted fabric store) & remake them.
Tip: Ask any locals for a tailor to make jeans, pants and skirts.
Trick: Keep the template simple (no ruffles, no complicated line - just a simple line).
- Have a haircut there. It costs me $2 - $5 for a haircut. You don’t have to go under-the-tree hair cut, you can go to a simple hairdresser. In a hair dressing shop, but not in a fancy shopping centre or a mall.
- Shopping tricks in Hong Kong: stock up on many things basically.
Again go to local market and stock up on basically everything, from socks, pyjamas, thermals, underwears to kitchen utensils, cutleries.
Tips: Where are the markets? In suburbs like Wen Chai, underneath the luxury apartments, there are local markets. They sell food, clothes, skin care, makeup and many other things. It could be better to stay there, because you can experience Hong Kong a lot better (like a true local). The food there is good. And the access to anywhere is excellent.
Trick: Many many items are cheaper (Zara, Swarovski, skin care, makeup, mobile phones, etc) in Hong Kong than in Australia, but not always. Always compare the price between Hong Kong and your home country beforehand. Some items in Zara Hong Kong are sold at the same price as Australian Zara. Why do you waste luggage space when you can buy the item at the same price in Australian Zara?
Trick: you may be tempted to stock up on skincare and makeup from sasa and bonjourhk. Don’t. Just don’t. Yes they are much cheaper in Sasa and BonjourHK. But buy them online. You can save on the luggage space and you can earn loyalty discount.
- Shopping tricks in US: stock up on shoes, clothes, bags, they are generally much cheaper than Australian’s shoes, clothes and bags.
- Shop winter clothes at the end of winter (during US winter sale). It will be ready in time for Australian’s winter.
- Do not start shopping in the first shop you see. Sight see in the shops and malls around the city, know what are on the shops and the prices. Then go to the factory outlets and start shopping. (Factory outlets are far from the city - needs to take a bus or to drive. Malls are normally in the city - easy to reach). This way, you can buy similar stuffs at cheaper prices in the factory outlets. And if you still like the item you saw in the mall prior going to the outlets, you can buy them later - after the trip to the factory outlets.
- Buy local (US) products or local (US) brands such as ralph lauren, tommy hilfiger, etc. They cost much less in the US than in Australia.
- Before you shop, stop and think
- Do i have an exact specific use for it?
- Do i need it or do i want it
- Do i have a place for it?
- Will it be within your budget?
Only buy if every box is ticked.
- Compare taxi and uber prices before travelling at your holiday destination. Sometimes, uber costs less.
- Uber normally has good deals, such as: free travel for the first time.
- If you need to buy or get an item in any city in Indonesia, use go-jek, http://www.go-jek.com. It costs less than you making 2 trips (to get there and to get back home).
- Don’t forget to tip the hotel staffs, taxi drivers, assistant hairdressers, your room service, your dining room service attendants - anyone who help you along your way practically.
- Make sure you have sufficient travel insurance.
©™ Kaizen Money Smartt
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