It’s the moment everyone’s been waiting for! The end of year holidays are here making it the perfect time to go on a family holiday! A family vacation gives you a chance to bond with your kids and enjoy fun moments together.
However, vacationing during the year-end holiday could be costly, not to mention more challenging since this is the peak season where fully booked flights or hotels are common, particularly during the Christmas and New Year season.
But if you plan your journey well and are smart at budgeting, you can still enjoy the best family trip ever, whether in Malaysia or abroad.
Follow our 10 simple tips to travel on a budget with your family.
1. Plan your journey well (and use the right credit card)
Whether you’re travelling by flight or car, not choosing the right time to fly or be on the road could be a nightmare. You may be stuck in long lines at the airport or traffic jams unless you opted to make your journey during less desirable times, for example, early in the morning, late at night, or midweek.
Also, when booking flight tickets, don’t forget to utilise your travel credit card. You earn air miles when your regular spends are charged to your travel credit card which can then be converted to Frequent Flyer Programme miles like Enrich Miles, KrisFlyer Miles and AirAsia BIG Points. These FFP miles can then be redeemed for free or discounted air tickets, seat upgrades, deals on hotel bookings, etc.
Check out the best travel credit cards in Malaysia right now, and how they help you save more on your travel expenses.
And if you’re someone who goes on road trips regularly, you might consider getting a petrol credit card which can maximise the value of your fuel spends with benefits like cashback and extra reward points. Here are the top petrol credit cards you should check out.
2. Create a detailed budget for all travel expenses
If you don’t create a budget or manage your travel expenses well, vacationing will instantly drain your bank account. Avoid this by keeping main travel expenses in mind, for example, accommodation, food, sightseeing charges, car rentals, entry fees, shopping, currency conversion fees, etc.
Create a budgeting table for your trip, like this one:
|Year-End Family Holiday Budget|
|Expenses||Cost Per Person||Total Cost Per Day|
Cab fares/ bus tours/ railways/ etc.
|Accomodations & Meals
Rental rates/ breakfast/ lunch/ dinner
ATM/ debit/ credit card fees
|Other Service Charges
Tips for hotel staff etc.
|Sightseeing & Activities
Entry fees for attractions, spa treatment etc.
3. Consider renting a house (where you can cook) and pack some groceries and portable cooking tools
Instead of staying in pricey hotel rooms, we highly recommend that you rent a whole house or villa or a budget homestay where you’re allowed to cook, particularly if you’re travelling within the country and driving your own car; this is because it will be easier to pack groceries and portable cooking tools.
This way, you’ll save more on food expenses, and there’s no need to pay for hotel service charges. Besides, there are plenty of affordable family villas and vacation rentals in Malaysia within the range of RM150 to RM500 per night, with private swimming pools too! Check them out on accommodation booking sites like Airbnb or Booking.com.
4. Make the most of money-saving travel apps
Check your Apple Store or Google Play Store to find the best travel apps that will help you save more money and time. For example, apps to find the cheapest local restaurant or halal restaurant, real-time exchange rates apps, offline map apps, instant translator apps, or attraction deals apps could be useful.
5. If you’re travelling overseas, check the local customs and the weather to pack the right clothes
If you’re travelling to a foreign country where you’re unfamiliar with its culture and local weather, it’s best to prepare the kind of clothes to bring, so you don’t have to spend more on buying the clothes you didn’t pack. Avoid shopping for clothes if the country’s exchange rates are high; buy them locally before you depart.
6. Pack light for everyone
For those travelling by flight, it’s especially important to pack light. Depending on the airline company and what type of cabin class you’ll be in, extra charges may be imposed if you exceeded their baggage weight limit.
This is an example of the average excess baggage fees (applicable to each 5kg of extra baggage) that you can expect (may vary between airlines):
|Destination||Excess Baggage Fees|
|Within Peninsular Malaysia/ within Sabah/Sarawak||RM40|
|Crossing between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah/Sarawak||RM50|
|Between Malaysia and ASEAN countries||RM60|
|South Asia and China||RM85|
|North Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East||RM95|
So don’t forget to check the luggage weight limit, and make sure everyone packs as lightly as possible.
7. Consider free or budget-friendly attractions and entertainment
If you’re on a tight budget, consider visiting tourist attractions with free entrance, or indulge in free entertainment, like picnicking by the beach or at a park. Researching on the internet can help you gather useful information. You can also check out our travel blogs for some suggestions.
- 10 Tourist Attractions to Visit for Free or Under RM10 in Sarawak
- 10 Tourist Attractions to Visit for Free or Under RM5 in Penang
- 8 Fun and Budget-Friendly Things to Experience in Kota Kinabalu
- Let’s Go! A 3 Days 2 Nights Budget Itinerary for Langkawi Under RM400
- 10 Fun and Cheap(ish) Things to Do in Malacca
8. Look for family travel deals on travel comparison sites
If you don’t want the headache of organising trips, consider joining a group tour or organised tours that cater to families. You can also find family travel deals on many online travel agencies or comparison sites, such as Traveloka, Expedia, or Klook.
Related: 6 Smart Tips to Holiday Debt-Free!
9. Teach your kids about basic budgeting, and give them cash to shop or buy souvenirs during the trip (if they’re old enough)
Teach your kids the basics of budgeting. If they’re old enough to handle some cash on their own, give them an amount of money to be spent for the entire trip. Remind them to spend wisely, and that you’ll not be giving any more cash if they run out of money. Monitor how they spend too; this could also be the perfect opportunity to teach financial responsibility.
10. Get a travel insurance policy
Before your international departure, consider getting a travel insurance plan. There are plenty of benefits that will come in handy. For example, medical emergency coverages, protection against trip cancellation and interruption and even loss of baggage. Check out our comprehensive list of the Best Travel Insurance Companies in Malaysia.
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