By Sabrina Loh
Travel savviness is the product of missed flights, confusion at the money changer, losing your keys, and countless little tiny errors.
Then one day, you begin to find yourself seamlessly navigating through airports and blending into a new culture like a ninja.
To help you speed up the process of becoming a smart traveller, we’ve compiled a list of ultimate hacks.
Finding Cheap Flights
Be flexible with your travel time.
Did you know that departure times influence the price of the flight ticket? That’s why weekend flights and peak season flights are always more expensive. The same goes for re-eye flights where the flight departs at night and arrives the next morning. Travelling on a weekday and off-peak could save you big bucks on your flight ticket.
Use incognito mode
Try other airports
Sometimes it may be cheaper to depart from other airports. For example, departing from Subang Airport to Singapore may be much cheaper than departing from KLIA.
If you're a frequent flyer of a particular airline, you’ll earn air miles points through the loyalty program. You can make the most out of these points to get discounts on flight tickets or to upgrade your seats.
🛩️ Fun fact — BigPay rewards you with airasia points every time you spend with us. That includes paying for rent, petrol, and groceries! Use these points to redeem major discounts on airasia flights later.
Making sure your phone is ready for your trip is an important part of being a smart traveller. While buying a local sim card is one way to go about it, it can also pose a challenge to buy due to language barriers and you often can’t get a hold of one until you’re physically in the country.
Enter eSIMs. It’s an electronic sim card that works exactly like a traditional sim card. It’s ready to use once it’s turned on and activated on the local network, so there’s no need to find a store, buy a sim card, and switch it out on your phone.
First, you’ll have to check if your phone is compatible with an eSIM, then do a quick Google Search on what eSim providers are available at the destination of your travels. For example, Vodafone sells eSIMs in the UK, Holafly in Europe, and Digi in Malaysia.
You’ll save tons on expensive international roaming fees!
Staying Plugged In
The plug you use at home may not work in the socket of the country you’re travelling to, because different countries have different plug shapes. A travel adapter enables you to plug your electronic devices into the wall to charge them.
Although you can get individual travel adapters that are specific to the country, it’s much smarter to buy just one international travel adapter that will work for you anywhere in the world you go. That includes your layover at the airport!
Did you know that the voltage output in every country is different? This is something many travellers fail to take note of, which is why the hair dryer they brought from their home country doesn’t power up or their phone charger starts smoking.
For example, Malaysia uses higher voltage than America. Your electronic devices from Malaysia will be expecting 240 Volts, but in America, they only use 120 Volts.
This is a substantial difference that a voltage converter can fix. Some electronics are designed so they can be used in different countries. They’re usually labelled as ‘dual-voltage’, so make sure you always check your devices.
The features you need the most when you travel, like GPS, translation apps, and camera are the biggest drains on your phone battery. This could be a disaster when you’re travelling. Make sure you arm yourself with a portable power bank, just in case!
With so many devices, charging all of them during your trip can be challenging. Even more so if you’re travelling with someone or an entire family!
Or picture this — you’ve been out exploring all day and you just want to wind down on the bed. But your phone is running low on juice, your cable is too short, and the wall socket is on the opposite end of the room.
Bringing an extension cord on your trip will ensure that all your devices can stay charged, and don’t have to sit at an awkward spot next to the wall plug. Sure, you can bring one from home but it’s usually very bulky. Extension cords designed specifically for travellers are portable, compact, and lightweight.
Travel electronic organiser
Whether it’s your phone, laptop, ipad, or camera, your electronic gadgets, modern travellers are armed with a lot of electronics. And that means a lot of cables. These gadgets are your lifeline when you’re travelling. That’s why it’s important to keep them protected and prevent them from getting tangled up or damaged.
A good travel electronics organiser comes with many pockets and compartments that are designed to carry SD cards, adapters, headphones, and dedicated spaces for larger devices. It should also have a water-resistant material to keep your devices protected from spills, leaks, and bad weather.
After packing your clothes, the next hurdle to organise is your toiletries. A toiletry bag keeps your grooming essentials organised and easily accessible. On top of that, a waterproof one can also prevent any unwanted spills from leaking onto the rest of your clothes.
A hanging toiletry bag with lots of pockets is a great way to free up extra counter space and lets you see everything at a glance, so you can easily choose what you need when you’re on the go.
Many people often forget to think about where they should keep their dirty laundry when travelling. Instead of squeezing your laundry into a smelly leftover plastic bag from your takeout, get a lightweight travel laundry bag that can fold up very small when not in use. It’s great for keeping your clean clothes clean and away from unwanted odours.
Imagine this picture — You’ve meticulously folded your clothes and packed them neatly into your bag, only to find them unfolded and scrunched up in disarray in the bottom of your luggage after collecting your luggage.
Or perhaps you can’t find the item you’re looking for in the depths of your luggage so you've to unpack everything. Yep. We’ve been there. You can avoid that with packing cubes, which are every smart traveller’s must-have.
Packing cubes help you to organise your clothing, gives your clothing extra protection if there are any liquid spills in your bag, and compresses your clothes so you can fit more items in your bag. It also makes unpacking quicker and easier without having to take everything out of the bag.
Finding things to do
Visit a City: Get access to over 1,000 travel guides in cities all around the world. Learn more about local businesses, museums, cafes, and your surroundings. The maps and guides on this app can be accessed offline so you don’t need to rely on an internet connection.
Meetup: One of the best ways to connect with locals and find things to do, Meetup hooks you up with people with similar hobbies and interests. You can join a local soccer game, go on a bar crawl, and even take a cooking class.
Withlocals: Nobody knows the place you’re travelling to better than the locals who live there. This handy app connects you with trusted locals who’ll be your ‘tour guide’.
All Events: Whether it’s a local concert, hockey game, serene yoga class, or local food haunt, All Events is a fantastic way to find things to explore in the city you’re visiting.
Carrying around wads of foreign currency strapped to your chest or hip? Forget about it! Fanny packs are bulky (and ugly too) and brand you as a travel rookie, making you a prime target for pickpockets. If the worst happens, you’ll lose all your money.
Keep all your finances secure and your fees to the minimum with digital wallets like BigPay. Your account comes with a prepaid Visa debit card that can be used with 14million+ merchants worldwide.
Every time you transact with it, it’ll automatically convert to the currency of your travels with fees kept to a minimum. On top of that, you’ll earn airasia points which you can use for your next trip!
BigPay is the perfect solution to all your travel needs
There’s a good reason why we’re known as a traveller's best friend. 😉
Real-time exchange rates
Say goodbye to confusing money changers. With the BigPay card, you’ll pay real-time exchange rates and nothing else.
Withdraw money anywhere
Use your BigPay card to withdraw money from your BigPay account through any ATM overseas that accepts Visa transactions. No need to queue at the money changer.
Instant money transfers
Need money in an emergency while you’re travelling? Transfer money instantly, completely free of charge, between two BigPay users.
Save big time
Top up your BigPay account with your credit card to save more on your holiday. Your first RM1,000 top-up is on us and any subsequent top-ups will incur a small fee of 1%. You’ll save tons on expensive credit card fees and high bank exchange rates!
The best part? BigPay is 100% free to get and free to keep. Sign up in as little as 5 minutes to experience it for yourself.
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