They say travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. This is definitely true. While it can give you priceless moments and unforgettable experiences, we have to admit that it often comes with a pretty steep price. We can’t put a price tag on expanding your horizons, but we can definitely help you make it a little less expensive.
I started young with traveling and my years of experience has led me to some hacks that can keep you from extra expenses. Today, I’ll be sharing with you my nine favorite apps that I use to make sure I don’t overspend and even save a pretty penny while I’m exploring a place far from home.
I truly believe that booking the most convenient flights while staying within your budget should be an Olympic sport. There are so many factors to consider — from someone’s schedule, the comfort that you get, down to the layovers. I use a lot of apps for this to check for the best rates. There’s Kayak and Skyscanner which I’m sure you already know about. And then, there’s Skiplagged. This app finds hidden-city tickets and can give you even more savings if you’re only looking for a short-haul flight.
What it actually does is it books you a cheaper, long-haul flight with a layover at your actual destination. Then, you simply skip the rest of the trip, exiting at the airport of your layover. In fact, the app is so good, it was sued by some airlines.
Tip: When using flight price comparison apps, always turn on the option to “watch” a flight you’re interested in and turn on notifications on your phone to get an alert right away. Sometimes, the prices can drop and you’d want to be the first person to grab that seat.
This is an online banking app that has saved my wallet one too many times while traveling. Some cities can be quite notorious for their money changers that charge commission so high, it feels like legal robbery. N26 lets me withdraw my money for free in most cities and has one of the best exchange rates out there. I have control over my money on my phone and I can also stay on top of my purchases since I get notifications for each transaction. They also make shopping fun and an absolute breeze since they give you a free Mastercard that comes in a nifty, clear design.
One thing to take note of is that this bank doesn’t have a physical branch. You apply for an account online via video chat and you’ll need your passport to prove your identity. To put money in your account, you can transfer funds from your other bank accounts. For cash deposits, you can go to their partner establishments (they’re usually supermarkets or drugstores) to put your money in.
Tip: When swiping any card while traveling, always pay in the local currency. You only go through the conversion once, saving you money.
We’re often told to stop converting currencies in our heads when traveling since it hinders the fun. Well, sometimes, it’s essential to do so. For this, I use XE which gives me up-to-date rates and in more than one currency at that.
Tip: Traveling to more than one country during your trip and eyeing that really cute top from & Other Stories? Price tags in EU countries often have the prices for Euro and countries that have their own currency, making it easier for you to see whether buying that top in Berlin is cheaper compared to buying it in Copenhagen or Stockholm. Save the currencies you’ll be using throughout the trip to make comparison a whole lot easier.
Expenses during your travels can creep up at you, especially while you’re enjoying a new place. From dining out to entrance fees for museums and major attractions, small expenses can accumulate rather quickly. This is why I set a daily budget every time I’m traveling. Sticking to it might be a more difficult task if I didn’t have Trail Wallet installed on my iPhone. It’s an oldie but definitely a goodie. I just set a daily budget and enter my expenses on the app. I can classify them by category (accommodation, food, etc.) and even add notes on them should I need to. It also allows me to set my home currency and that of the place I am traveling to so I know how much I’m actually spending. After a trip, it gives me — with colored graphs to boot — a comprehensive view of my spending, making it easier to plan for next time.
Tip: Enter your expenses as you go so you don’t forget to do it later on!
Another app that’s been around for ages but has proven that it can stand the test of time. If you’re someone like me who takes food seriously, then you’d want to eat at places that are worth your money and the calories. Yelp helps you find a restaurant that has the food you’re craving and is within your budget. Using the map function and veering away from areas that are touristy, while taking reviews and prices into consideration, can even bring you to some hidden gems that are only popular among locals. Want more savings? Download apps like OpenTable and TheFork. Not only can you make your table reservations through these apps, you can also get discounts when you dine at certain times.
Tip: Different city, different dining discount app. While OpenTable and TheFork are popular in more than one city, some countries prefer their localized version. It’s best to research in advance which dining app is the best at your destination to maximize your discount potential.
So that’s it for my money-saving, travel apps! Do you have any recommendations for me too? Would love to learn about the ones that you use in the comments section below!
Disney+ now streaming in Singapore
Have you subscribed yet?
The wait is over. Disney+ is now finally available in Singapore.
If you’ve been longing to stream Disney classics, new shows like The Mandalorian in the Star Wars universe, or just want a feel good flick from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you can now do so via the streaming app.
The subscription costs SG$ 11.98 per month or SG$ 119.98 for a year. With it you’ll have access to a library of 500 movies and over 15,000 episodes of some of your favorite shows from Disney Channel.
You’ll also gain access to content by other major entertainment companies like Pixar, National Geographic, and Star.
To sign-up, users need to go to the Disney+ website and you’ll be asked to input your email address so they can keep you updated on how to subscribe. A subscription plan lets the user stream on four different devices at the same time. There are also different profiles for each subscription just like Netflix. However, instead of just five, Disney+ gives you up to seven profiles.
GeekCulture put together a list of supported devices so check them out to see if you have any of them.
Netflix now has a Downloads For You feature
Not to be confused with Smart Downloads
Netflix wants to make sure you have something to watch even when you’re on the go with its new Downloads For You feature.
Not to be confused with Smart Downloads which lets you find the next episode of your favorite show even when you’re on the go, the Downloads For You feature automatically downloads recommended shows or movies to your mobile device based on your tastes.
Don’t worry though, despite it doing things automatically for you, you’re still ultimately in control. It takes two steps to opt in.
Go to the Downloads tab on your mobile device and toggle on Downloads For You.
- Choose the amount of content you want downloaded to your device (1GB, 3GB, or 5GB) and click Turn On. The more space you allow, the more recommendations Netflix will download for you.
Here’s how it should look like.
Just like Smart Downloads, the Netflix Downloads For You feature will only work while you’re on Wi-Fi. It’s also only currently available on Android with iOS testing happening soon.
Spotify will launch high-quality audio later this year
Since the advent of music streaming, Spotify has enjoyed its dominance as the most popular service with the most varied gallery of music. However, competing services, like Tidal, can easily one-up the industry leader in terms of audio quality. Despite Spotify’s relentless promise to deliver top-tier audio, the service hasn’t upgraded its audio quality that much. That will soon change, though. Spotify has now confirmed that high-quality audio is coming later this year.
Currently, Spotify is streaming its music at a paltry 320kbps. From an audiophile’s standpoint, 320kbps is the bare minimum bitrate for music listening. However, hi-fi audio — that is, bitrates that escalate from 1000kbps and go as high as 9216kbps– unlocks an entirely new experience for more discerning ears. To put it lightly, hi-fi audio sounds more vibrant and more alive, especially given a workable audio setup.
With the announcement, Spotify is reportedly pushing the feature to select markets at an unannounced date. Unfortunately, the company has not announced how much the new feature will cost users who want to upgrade. Hi-fi audio definitely costs a lot more. Tidal, for example, offers its highest quality audio for US$ 19.99 per month.
In the past, though, Spotify has talked about launching the feature for an additional US$ 7.50. At the time, the promise didn’t result into anything. This time, Spotify Hi-Fi finally seems official.
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