Planning your next holiday?
Here are six things you need to know
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With borders reopening and Covid restrictions loosening, we’re starting to see our social feed flooded with scenic landscapes and fun adventures posted by friends and family who have commenced their jet-setting adventures. This may give us the travel itch, and before we know it, we’re searching for our next destination on the internet. If this sounds familiar, this article is for you.

The great thing about the internet is that it opens doors to so many possibilities, which means that there are different ways to get to the same destination. But in order to get the best bang for buck, here are a few hacks that will save you some cash even before you decide on your destination.

Plan your holidays ahead of time

Don’t put off your travel bookings until the week before you intend to go. If you already have a trip in mind, planning ahead and blocking out the dates for travel is a good idea. Many airline companies release their flight schedules a whole year in advance, so there’s no excuse not to plan your holidays in advance. Apart from being able to block your leave dates ahead of your colleagues, being organised will save you quite a bit of money. To be precise, consider booking your tickets two to eight months prior to your actual travel dates as you’ll likely secure the best prices if you book within this window.


Use online travel agencies

In the past, visiting a travel agent was the only way you could get insider information for the best travel experiences. But with so many online travel agencies today, people have more freedom to travel on their own terms. Websites like Agoda and TripAdvisor allow you to do research on different destinations, book air tickets, and accommodation.

You can also read reviews from other travellers of similar profiles to see if the places you intend to go to really are as they are advertised. The best part about booking through these online travel websites is that many hotels allow a fully refundable fee if you cancel within a specific timeframe. This allows you to secure a low price, with the flexibility of changing your mind at a later time.

Travel during the off-peak season

School holidays and the Hari Raya season may sound like the perfect window for travel, and it is – for everyone. As much as possible, try to avoid them as you won’t only be joining a crowd of people all trying to get out for a break; you’ll also end up paying a lot more. From flights to hotel bookings, everything costs more during the peak season.

Also look out for shoulder seasons, which are common in countries with four seasons, like the UK. This is because people tend to go skiing in winter, and the summer holidays are generally when students get their longest breaks. Travelling in spring and autumn, which are the shoulder seasons, mean that you get better hotel rates, less local tourists, and the beautiful in-between seasons, where it’s not too warm or too cold.



Consider a place closer to home

The great thing about living in Brunei is that we are close to so many beautiful neighbouring countries. Kuala Lumpur and Singapore may be popular destinations, but if you’re keen on going somewhere different, perhaps look at other states in Malaysia. Langkawi island, Redang island, even within Sabah and Sarawak, there are many destinations you can check out.

Many Bruneians may have also done weekend road trips to Kota Kinabalu, or Miri. This is great because you get to travel at your own convenience and save on airline tickets. Consider staying a little longer the next time you drive down to these places and check out a few other places nearby. You’d be surprised at what you’ll find. A big benefit of driving is that you’ll also get to take the road less travelled. If you’re adventurous, check out Niah caves or Mulu Caves, or the national parks around. You can even pitch a tent at Lambir Hills for just RM5 (BND$1.50) per person.


Use rewards points or airline miles

Maybe ‘glamping’ is more your style, in which case don’t forget to check your wallets or apps for any existing promotions on hand. Typically, larger hotels and resorts run promotions in collaboration with credit cards or ecommerce apps.

If you have a miles card, like one of the Royal Brunei Visa cards, don’t forget to use those miles to offset some of the cost when purchasing your airline ticket. Your accumulated spending over the past two years may even be enough to get you a free flight, if not an upgrade to business or first class!

Crowdsource for information

Social media can be a great tool if you use it well. If you have a social media account, you already have a network of people ready to help if you ask.
For example, if you’re undecided between two hotels, then crowdsourcing is an easy way to get some real and honest answers. You could even ask for recommendations on places to visit on Instagram, and chances are you’ll get a few good options to explore. Who knows, your friends may fill you in on some secrets like where and when to get the best shots, or how to find that hole-in-the-wall coffee spot!


Here are the main takeaways

People travel for a variety of reasons, which is why it’s always a good idea to be clear on your travel objective. Is it to see something specific that has been on your bucket list? Or are you planning a getaway for some family fun? Depending on your answer, you may find yourself looking at different destinations. Whichever route you choose to take, go prepared so you’ll get the most out of your trip.


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