9 Travelling Tips for the DIY Travelers


Dear Readers,
This week I am wearing my wanderlust hat ,so I am going to share with you some traveling tips in this post and what are the things I look out for before I go on a trip. There are many tips out there and I guess I can't completely list them all down. So here are some generic ones which I can think of. Feel free to share more in the comments section!

Without fail for the past few years, my husband and I would go on a wedding anniversary trip so this year is no exception. When I was planning for the trip I was thinking, why not put together some useful tips so that others can benefit too?

So, here we go...

Tip #1: Avoid last minute flight bookings

When booking with budget carriers like Scoot, Tiger Air, Jetstar Asia etc, book at least 3-6 months ahead. Look out for promotional fares. For Scoot, it is usually on Tuesday mornings. You may even subscribe to their newsletters so you'll get the first hand news. 

Image credits: The respective airlines

Do check out your personal blackout dates to avoid the change of flight charges. Do avoid school holidays, national holidays (in both Singapore and your destination country) which are usually the peak seasons if you are not traveling with your children and have plenty of annual leave days to spare. 

Fares are cheaper during non holiday seasons. When making the flight booking, do ensure that your passport number and names are entered as accurately as possible. Amendments means additional hassle and money.

Nowadays, full fledged carriers (non-budget airlines) like Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways etc, may even offer more perks and discounts. With frequent flyer cards and free mileage to claim, your flight may even be free.

Check your options, compare prices. Book on group fares if you travel in a group for more savings. Non budget carriers are good because you need not worry about having to pay for additional baggage and meals, whereas for budget carriers you will need to purchase in-flight meals and baggage separately.

Tip #2: Book on new hotels
Before I make any hotel reservations, I would usually read up reviews via TripAdvisor. Check with friends whom have visited the destination or check the out the hotel booking sites for recommendations. 

Another tip is to be adventurous and go ahead with the newer hotels. Because they are new, you get to be the first to enjoy the facilities, and of course enjoy good discounts and prices. I usually book my hotels with websites such as Agoda, but you can check out other sites such as Expedia or Hotels.com as well.

Image credits: Trip Advisor

For the budget conscious readers, you may try booking on sites which have locals renting out their homes like Airbnb.

Tip #3: Pre-plan where to visit
Because you are not using any travel agents and have nobody to plan your itinerary, you have to do this yourself. Set an objective which you would like to achieve in this trip! Is there somewhere in particular which you would like to visit? Snap a picture of the map of the place where you are heading so you can reference later, in case you do not have internet connection in the country. I usually switch off my data roaming when I travel so i tend to get disconnected from the world until I get free weak Wi-fi from the shopping malls or from the hotel and airport (if any).

Is this going to be a shopping trip or adventure trip? Is this going to be a yoga retreat or you just want to laze by the beach and do nothing all day? Read up reviews of what to do and where to go, draw up a simple itinerary so you can have something to follow. Include details like how to get there, how long you will spend there, what to purchase, what to do and other stuff like your dining plans. 

You can get ideas from travel agencies by collecting brochures from them and adding your own research information. Plan your local tour and sight-seeing trips beforehand, book your land tours online via websites such as Viator. You may book land tours with the hotel concierge or their local travel agencies when you get there, but this is going to be more costly and time consuming. 

Image Credits: Viator
Tip #4: Perform relevant checks
Check on the weather so that you know what to wear and what to bring along. You may wish to avoid or go for, certain activities if it is going to be a rainy or cold season.

Check for any on-going security threats, is there any areas to avoid? Is it going to be a public holiday there? There may be traffic jams and influx of tourist during the festive celebrations so get yourself prepared for it. Check out the currency which is being used and any travel advisories before your trip.

***Check for Visa requirements and apply at least 1-2 months ahead of your traveling time.
Check for your passport validity. You need a passport with at least 6 months validity before you travel. If you are a frequent traveler, do ensure that you are not running out of pages within your passport.

Image Credits: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Tip #5: Register yourself with the relevant authorities

Do make it a point to register yourself with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in case there are any major threats, so that you remain contactable at all times during riots and major emergencies, for guys, remember to notify MINDEF.

Image Credits: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Tip #6: Purchase travel insurance

Get yourself covered and reimbursed in medical cost, if you were to fall sick during your travel. Travel insurance also covers you from flight delays, theft, baggage loss and for some even compensation for accidents and time loss caused by terrorism related issues.

Tip #7: Bring along a travel adapter, extra locks and luggage tags
The travel adapter will help you manage with the different types of power outlets and the extra locks and luggage tags will help you with added security and baggage identification.

I personally tend to travel light so my husband and I would just make do with 1 backpack and we would skip checking in our luggage. This saves time as we need not wait for our luggage at the baggage pickup.

If we are unable to achieve the 1 backpack and have to check in our luggage, we will tie a long coloured ribbon so that we can identify our luggage easily and from a distance. Who knows if someone is using the same luggage bag as ours?

Tip #8: Budget your expenses 

I usually like to use cash during my travel and avoid using credit cards where necessary due to security reasons. I would budget and bring slightly more cash. Do bring along some home currency as you are going to need them before you fly and after you arrive back home.


Tip #9: Travel light if possible (Fashionistas may not agree)
Avoid bringing expensive jewellery and clothes for obvious reasons. I like to wear T-shirts as they are easy to wash and can easily be paired with a bottom like shorts or jeans, which I can wear over a few days. 

I would also wear a good walking shoe throughout my trip to avoid blisters and being uncomfortable. I would totally avoid heels and platform shoes especially for long trips.

Sneakers, sports shoes and walking shoes are highly recommended, you can check out brands such as Crocs and Skechers.

Carry with you some plastic bags, large zip lock bags or laundry bags for soiled clothes so you can keep them separately from cleaned clothes. I use vacuum zip-lock bags to save luggage space as well.


Don't forget to make arrangements for your pets and newspapers
Do remember to make alternative arrangement for your pets and newspaper subscriptions. Get a neighbor to help with the newspaper, or temporarily stop them from sending. 

For your pets, do put them up at the boarder's place or get your family and friends to temporarily look after for you.

I hope you have benefited much from this! Do share with me your traveling tips in the comment section too.


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