TIME AND MONEY SAVING IDEAS

This weeks blog is really a small basketful of ideas about websites and techniques which we’ve found to be very useful for helping us save money and time when travelling around South East Asia (and beyond).  So we thought we’d share these ideas with you.

Introduction 

Some of you will already be very well acquainted with many of the following items, but from our experience after talking to plenty of ‘would be adventurers’, there’s a lot of people who are always looking for ideas

Thai Airways

  • Flight Comparisons

There are a huge quantity of websites which provide information about flights, however arguably the best for making comparisons is Expedia www.expedia.com.au/flights

We’re not advocating you have to book through Expedia, we’re merely suggesting this is a great place to start to bounce around ideas (as it includes every viable airline and all the latest deals).   Pop in your current location and destination, and you’ll be given the widest range of options available, including connections and of course price.  Interestingly you’ll also see a rating out of 10 for a particular schedule, which allows you to gauge ‘savings vs inconvenience’

  • Frequent Flyers

If you travel on certain airlines regularly, make sure you sign up for their frequent flyer programs.  Nearly all of these programs are FREE, including some of the best, like Singapore Airlines. Many airlines allow you to acquire points with partners, and of course you can also link credit cards to programs (which can really help build balances).  Once you have a decent balance there are a few tricks of trade to make the most of them.  A great website for getting tips (and general news on all things airlines/airports) is www.ausbt.com.au

Note:  Qantas is one of the few frequent flyer programs who do charge a fee, but it is a handy program for many of us to be part of, so next Fathers/Mothers Day, or maybe a Birthday, why not ask someone to get it for you (just a thought)

  • Airline Sales

As long as you don’t mind getting on a few mailing lists, airlines often issue snap sales.  It can be highly beneficial to get in early and lock in a very sweet deal.   Many deals can come out of blue, but some airlines have regular announcements, such as Jetstar’s Friday Frenzy, and Cebu Pacific’s daily 5pm to 7pm deals.

  • Seating

You’ve booked your flight, and got a good price, but you want to ensure you’ve got a decent seat, then check out www.seatguru.com  And if you don’t want to pay to secure your seat, make sure you book in online (as early as you can) to avoid those awful middle seats.

  • Online Check-In 

Yes, its worth repeating, wherever possible CHECK IN ONLINE and reduce the risk of being caught in a horribly long line at the airport

  • Airport Lounge Access

There are times when you can avoid a long layover in an airport.  A cost effective way of getting access to some high quality lounges around the World can be found at www.prioritypass.com  It can offer an excellent escape, and chance to re-charge your batteries.  There are several payment plans available, or you can just access them ad-hoc.

Also, depending on which credit cards you use, some allow you access to lounges at airports.  For example, certain levels of Amex Card will get you access to the very comfortable Amex Lounge in Sydney’s International Terminal.

  • Credit Cards

Whilst we’re on credit cards, there are of course so many out there, its almost impossible to keep up.  But as mentioned earlier, some do provide the ability to build up some serious points on Frequent Flyer programs (so that’s always worth considering).  And www.ausbt.com.au is also a good site for getting information on this.

We often get asked what we consider to be the best credit card for travelling, and generally for most people it makes great sense to use the 20 degree Card www.20degreescard.com.au  It charges no annual fee, and no currency conversion fee.

  • Accommodation

There are an increasing number of people using Airbnb these days, and there certainly are some great deals out there, but of course there’s still plenty of amazing hotel deals available, and South East Asia has some of the best value for money accommodation on the planet.  The rise of the internet has been huge for travellers in booking a place away from home, and many of you will already have a favourite website.  We tend to favour www.agoda.com.au but that’s not to say, better deals cant be found elsewhere.  One thing we always do is check the latest ratings on Trip Advisor for any place we’re looking to stay at.  It’s rarely clear on a hotel website when a place is undergoing renovation, or there has been a drop in standards.

Whilst this is probably pretty obvious,  always check where the location of your hotel is on google maps.  Saving a few dollars in room price can quickly disappear if you have to use the local tuk tuk mafia everyday to get into where all the action is.

Street Food

  • Cafe’s / Restaurants

Nothing beats the savings that can be had by simply eating street food in South East Asia, but not all of us want to do that every day.  Started in Singapore and now widely available in Thailand is Eatigo (its easier to google this, then try and put in a link).  Basically, this site provides discounts up to 50% on a huge range of popular cafés and restaurants, saving you plenty of cash.  Well worth checking out.

If you’d like to keep regularly updated on all matters South East Asia, please visit our facebook page ‘Retire to Asia Community Group’ and join us.  

Please feel free to call 1800-961-377 or email info@retiretoasia.com.au and let the team at Retire to Asia help make your dream lifestyle a reality.

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