Planning a holiday technically isn’t as daunting as it seems.  Sure, some people turn it into an award-winning career (hello, Chan brothers), but unless you’re planning a holiday for over twenty people, you can plan your own and save lots of money.  Plus, you can actually go to places you want to go and skip the tourist traps or stores that some travel agencies partner with to patronise.


Follow these simple tips, and you’ll be a pro at planning your next holiday soon!


Decide who is going, where you want to go, and when you should go


Before you start checking out destinations, decide who is going on this holiday.  This decides what sort of holiday it will be; if there are elderlies, you might want to consider having more transport options, more conservative food options, and definitely more resting points in your itinerary. 



If there are children in the group, find out what piques their interest.  Children often get overlooked or neglected because “they’ll just follow wherever we go” or “as long as they have their toys or gadgets with them, they’re fine.”  However, consider these holidays as a great way of opening up their worldview and perspectives on life, art and culture; and they may even discover interests that they didn’t know about until now. 



Next, consider the destination. It could be a Tik Tok video of a destination that caught your attention or a bucket list destination. It could also be an Instagram picture that inspires you or anyone in your group to say, “Hey let’s go try this place!”.  There are no hard or fast rules to deciding where you should go. Be adventurous and try a new destination you’ve never been before, or play it safe and book a holiday you’ve been on before because it was such a wonderful experience.  What’s important is that you gain a new perspective, if not a new experience; the bond and synergy you have with the people that you go with will always be different because it’s a different time in your life. 


The hard part aka getting the cheapest airplane tickets and traveling within the shortest time 


Here comes the technical part of planning a holiday, and most people detest this part.  They would rather an agency take care of it for them. Bring out the bargain hunter in you and feel proud when you have managed to “beat the system” and booked your holiday AND be able to save enough money to have extra spending pocket money on the trip!



Let’s keep it brief: 

- Consider the school holidays – to avoid them or not. Prices are usually higher during these periods and more in demand. If you do have kids and they can only travel during these periods, opt for less popular or lesser-known destinations because that’s where fewer of the parents will be bringing their kids for a holiday.



- Consider stopovers and the duration.  Sometimes it’s not such a bad thing to have longer stopovers, as some airports are huge and you will need time to get to the other plane, especially when you have elderly people and children.  You can also take that time to explore what that airport has to offer, since nowadays many international airports have amenities in the transit area for passengers. 



- Sometimes stopovers offer a free tour of the neighbouring cities if the hours are long enough. You could experience two holidays in one journey!



- Some booking sites offer discount bundles of plane tickets with hotel accommodations, so browse around on sites such as Klook, or sites where they offer membership discounts, or airline carrier website (like Airasia) where they have seasonal offers and deals. 


Picture courtesy of Klook


Booking your home away from home


Alot of us are accustomed to hotels when on holiday – a small room with basic amenities if you’re on a budget. Forking out more money for a bigger suite with some semblance of interior style. Why not consider Airbnb and service apartments.  


Consider what you need and what you want:


- A hotel provides services and convenience but could be small with limited amenities. Hotels are in central areas, so you are near a lot of the attractions, but it could be pricier. 



- An AirBnb home or service apartment like Frasers Hospitality provides the feel of a second home away from home with all the comforts of a home.  But like any home, you’re required to either pay a cleaning fee or tidy it yourself, otherwise risking a bad review from the host. You’re also able to experience the local neighbourhood surroundings like a local although it might be farther from the attractions. It is definitely a cheaper option and you can find a home that suits the number of persons in your group. 



- Sometimes the accommodation is the holiday itself – like a villa in Bali where you have an in-house butler or staff that will provide meals and arrange whatever activity you have in mind for you. You can spend quality time in the compound, enjoying the surroundings and arrange for a driver to visit one or two attractions. 


If you’re new to Airbnb, read up on the dos and don’ts before booking a place.  Our tip is to read the bad reviews and see the rating for the listing. Sometimes it’s not the 100 good reviews that you should take heed of but those two or three bad reviews where they highlight the issues that made them rate the place low and if those factors will bug you while you’re staying there.  Definitely factor in safety (of the neighbourhood) and cleanliness first and foremost, anything additional is a treat to credit your host. 


Planning your itinerary (also known as how to please everyone without sacrificing fun)


After you’ve booked your plane tickets and accommodations, it’s time to do your homework. Yes, even holidays could benefit from a little homework.  Not only will you be able to save money, but you will also be able to avoid any hiccups, like attractions being closed on the day of your visit.



Watch Youtube videos and read articles on the destination, these often have useful tips for travellers such as things to look out for in terms of safety, discounts, deals, and the best, little known eateries and local foods you should try. 



Jot down on your phone memo app the places you want to visit, taking note of closing days and special discounts (for the elderly and students).  Prioritise the ones that are nearer to your accommodation and group them into proximity to one another so that you can allocate the day you want to visit a few particular places that are in the same area. 



Do not be overly ambitious in trying to visit as many places as possible.  You are on holiday, not the amazing race.  Allow time for travel, meals, and definitely time to admire where you’re at.  Being on holiday should not be about boasting to your friends that you’ve been to a place, but about really appreciating and experiencing what the destination can offer. In the end, you’ll only end up short-changing yourself and the people you travel with will only remember being rushed and not having any worthy memories. 


Packing smart with style


Many of us fall into the trap of packing pragmatic, functional clothes but forgetting the style. Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean you should forget to dress stylishly.  Make it a point to look good in your holiday pictures because you’ll be reminiscing fondly and feeling good when your friends compliment you. 



Assess your wardrobe for essentials and bring one or two more stylish items. Only buy new items when you’ve looked through your wardrobe to ascertain if you really need a new item for the holiday.



Bear in mind the climate of the destination you’re travelling to – browse Youtube videos on walking tours of the particular month or season you’re going to travel to. Observe how people dress to gauge what sort of attire you’ll need.


Look for items that are multi-functional. For winter, consider a blanket scarf – it is functional as a normal scarf but keeps you warm enough.  You can also use it as a poncho, and it folds up nicely as a pillow when you need to. 



Coordinate your holiday wardrobe so you can reuse some items every other day. For example, you can bring a shirt or blouse if you’re going on a winter holiday and layer it over your inner wear, accessorise or pair it with a different pair of jeans for different looks on different days. Wear a sweater over it. The key is to layer – this is applicable in warmer climates as well. A t-shirt can be worn with an unbuttoned shirt, folded sleeves, or tucked in or out depending on the look. 


Coordinate colours that you love. Winter doesn’t necessarily mean blacks or neutrals, you can have a colourful winter wardrobe. Same for summer holidays as well – you do not necessarily have to be colourful, you can wear neutrals if that is what you fancy. 


It’s the little things that matter



Now that you’ve done all that, don’t forget to also pack a first aid kit or common medicine like painkillers and diarrhoea pills.  Travel insurance is also an essential item in any holiday because you will be out of your comfort zone and in a foreign land, so having that insurance to cover mishaps like lost luggage or clinic or hospital visits will bring you peace of mind should such mishaps happen to you or someone you’re travelling with. 



With that, you can now relax and look forward to your holiday.   See, it only took you six minutes to get through how to plan your own holiday!


Book your holiday activities via Klook and enjoy member discounts HERE


Everyone loves a cruise, so why not book one with your family?  Members enjoy exclusive discounts HERE


Need a safe and stylish accommodation for your holiday, consider service apartments.  Members enjoy exclusive discounts and privileges HERE


Don’t forget to get your travel insurance. Members enjoy treats when they sign up for their travel insurance HERE


Have a pet that needs to be cared for while you’re away? Members enjoy a discount when they board their pets HERE


Sign up as a CSC member and enjoy not only exclusive facilities but also discounts with merchants, promotions and participate in our members-only events and activities.  Sign up HERE 

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