Who doesn't love 'hacks'? Here are a few to help you save money, whilst being awesome and having an epic time.
1. GET A TRAVEL FRIENDLY CREDIT CARD
Oh my goodness. I have just done research of epic proportions. 3 hours or so on credit card research? So unfortunately this only applies to Malaysian credit cards. So those of you who aren't Malaysian can pretty much tune out now and skip to 2.
Ringgit Plus is a good website for comparing travel credit cards. I personally got the HSBC World Mastercard as they had really high credit card points to travel miles conversion rates and general money to points conversion rates.
2. GET REAL FRIENDLY WITH TRAVEL ALLIANCES
For Malaysians, you'd normally have an Enrich membership, which now translates into a One World membership so that's pretty useful as One World encompasses a lot of major airlines.
You'd rack up so many miles if you try to use One World Flights as much as possible. But don't be fooled in picking an alliance flight if there's a much cheaper non-alliance flight. You'd probably save more just getting the cheaper flight than the extra miles (generally, meas thinks).
You also get special perks like, queuing up in the Business Class queue if you get to Silver Tier for Enrich, which makes it so much easier to check in. You don't have to fret about whether there'll be a queue or not at the airport.
3. CONTINENT/WORLD PASSES....or not?
So, Fung and I have been planning a massive trip to the US and I initially looked at getting a pass of some sort thinking it would be cheaper. Well bottom line is that it's probably cheaper if you're actually going around the world with a pass (I think it came up to RM 15k for a round the world pass on One World). But for our purposes, just travelling around the States, it was cheaper to get budget airlines/take buses around the States rather than buy a North America continent pass.
On the other hand, I bought the ASEAN pass from Air Asia and it massively saved me money. You can check it out here: www.airasia.com/AseanPass. The pass cost RM 499 for 10 credits, and RM 899 for 20 credits. They have 1 and 2 months validity, respectively. I'm way too lazy to show you my exact calculations but it was super worth it. Here's a more detailed review. I got the 10 credits pass and travelled: KUL - YANGON - BKK - HO CHI MINH - KUL for 6 credits. I didn't manage to finish the pass but it was still well worth it. I had to pay airport tax but that wasn't too much. The rough total price for the trip including airport tax was RM700.
But don't get me wrong there definitely were huge problems with it too:
- You can't do multiple people bookings. This is a problem if seats are limited and you're not sure if your travel companion will be able to get a seat.
- A lot of seats may be unavailable. AirAsia does this to basically limit the seats available for the pass people.
- Route limitations: you have to go back to Bangkok as a base the majority of the time travelling in South East Asia. E.g. BKK - HCM - BKK - Yangon etc.
- Massive technical issues that we had to contact Airasia a million times for. You could only contact them through their online chat which we had to wait for for SO FREAKING LONG. The queues were like 95 people waiting please hold.
SO if that doesn't sound good to you, which it most likely won't, don't get the pass. But if you're a cheapskate student like I am, go ahead and risk the perils that being frugal brings with it. Hahaha.
So I learnt Spanish for three or four years from Year 8 to Year 11, and I love languages. This app is so good for learning a language or brushing up on one. It is super useful as evidenced by this study here hahaha. You always need evidence for your claims you know hahaha.
My point is: if you want to learn languages of the places you want to go to, get this. It's awesome. You can practise speaking on it too.
5. COLLECT MOMENTOS
Huge fan of this hack hehe. Perhaps my memory is particularly terrible, or maybe everyone else's is too I just don't know it. But you have to collect momentos! A gap year is so so epic. You don't want to forget your #youngwildandfree days do you?? I thought this was a super cool article from Buzzfeed on how you can preserve momentos. Or you can get on that video craze and take clips and make a VLOG!
Well, this blog is one of the ways I'll document my gap year, as you can probably tell already :P The written form can't be dead I'm sure.
Have fun hashtagging #wanderlust and whatnot y'all,