Save Money Tips for Holiday to Malaysia
How you save your money on your trip to Malaysia equals how long you get to stay and enjoy the country.
Fora frugal savvy traveler planning on a long stay in Malaysia, your first move would be to check out the favorable exchange rates.
- 1 Pound sterling equals 5.41 Malaysian Ringgit
- 1 Euro equals 4.74 Malaysian Ringgit
- 1 United States Dollar equals 4.33 Malaysian Ringgit
- 1 Canadian Dollar equals 3.10 Malaysian Ringgit
There are many ways in which the savvy traveler can save through cheaper alternatives when it comes to transportation, food, and accommodation.
Malaysia may not be the most budget-friendly destination in the world. However, the country has great plus points when it comes to accommodation, transportation, and well food.
You can easily live on less than US$20 for food in various inexpensive restaurants, Kopitiam or hawker stalls.
Whether you’re a budget-conscious traveler or an experienced backpacker, these six ways to save money on your trip to Malaysia will come in handy.
Save Money Tips for Holiday to Malaysia – Eat like a local
The key finding cheaper eats is to do as the locals do. For breakfast, make your way to a warung (Malay stall) or a Kopitiam (Chinese coffee shop) for tasty yet affordable favorites meals of rice, noodles or bread.
Don’t worry about running out of food, as 24-hour Mamak (Indian Muslim) stalls are plentiful and provide freshly brewed coffee. Mamak hangout has both as South Indian delicacies like Roti Canai to Mee Goreng that is filling, cheap and good.
If you’re traveling in big groups, look for food courts in the shopping malls which are air-conditioned. There is a huge variety of food for different tastes and can be cheap if you share or watch out for promotions.
Look for Free Continental Breakfast in Hotel Deals
You can limit your search to hotel chains that advertise free continental breakfasts. You don’t need to go upmarket to find them: most basic hotel and motel chains have serviceable breakfast options.
In Kuala Lumpur you can easily book a hotel without a credit card, no prepayment needed – you pay at the property. These come with FREE cancellation and best of all FREE breakfast for as low at USD24 for twin occupancy a night.
Weigh Lower Room Costs Vs Higher Transportation Costs in Outskirts
For frugal travelers, it is staying outside the city center is the obvious choice. However, lower room costs on the outskirts may add high transportation costs to and from major attractions.
If you can near public transportation or plan to use a motorcycle than it will work out well. It is not easy to find the perfect balance. You can save on a night’s stay and spend all that on transportation and food.
Save Money Tips for Holiday to Malaysia Transportation
The big-ticket item would be your flight tickets. So planning ahead is really good.
Track flights and prices
If you’re not ready to book a trip, you can use Google Flights to track prices for a flight or route.
Track prices for a route or flight
You can get emails when the price for a flight you’re tracking changes significantly.
Take the train or the bus
Bus travel in Malaysia is economical and generally comfortable. Seats can be paid for and reserved either directly with operators or via online sites such as Easybook.
You can take the Electric Train Service or ETS Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh or the KTM from Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth. You can choose for a train with limited stops along the way, so the journey takes just a little over two hours to Ipoh and four hours to Butterworth.
The KL and Penang Hop-on Hop-Off City Tour is an informative tour bus service where you get to disembark and spend more time in certain areas within the city throughout.
Look out for flight deals or choose a flight with a stop
There are plenty of budget airlines connecting Kuala Lumpur and to Southeast Asia and beyond.
Low-cost carrier, AirAsia, Jetstar Asia, and Scoot are just a few. You can follow the airlines on their social media pages to be the first to know of their promotions and offers.
If you’re on a long-haul flight to Malaysia, you may want to find that flight with a stopover which costs a lot cheaper. It gives you a chance to stretch your legs a little before reaching your destination in Malaysia.
Save Money Tips for Holiday to Malaysia on Accommodations
The next item that will cost the most is your accommodation.
Save Money on Early Hotel Booking
The best way to save money is to decide quickly where you intend to stay before your trip.
Once you lock down on the area, you can start searching for the best deals on hotels online.
Use comparison sites to check on the best rates before you book your stay. Find hotels friendly to extended stays, long term hotel stays and check if they will throw in a free daily breakfast for you.
Waiting until the last minute or worst still after you arrive, will leave you with a big hotel bill, especially high-quality ones.
Negotiate Room Rates Directly with the Hotel or Hostel
Hotels, airlines and rental companies pay commissions for online booking sites and travel agents and tours.
Their commissions can be as high as 25% for sites that offer affiliates commissions.
Most travelers don’t realize that they can book directly with hotels to save costs for a no-frills room. You can ask just a room without a buffet breakfast to save money.
In Malaysia, you can easily get a local breakfast of a Roti Canal with Egg and a Coffee in a Kopitiam for under US$3.
If you are flying low-cost carriers, book ahead of time to secure good deals.
Use a Cash Back Website When You Book
There are plenty of tools and apps on your mobile that funnels part of the commissions they make back to users as a cashback or instant refunds. Check out the providers to expect 5% to 7% back on the deal.
Use a Rewards Credit Card When You Book
There are many travel rewards cards that you can apply for if you qualify. Depending on your destination and itinerary, that could be more than enough to cover the cost of your next trip – or at least go a long way.
Get Some Guides Before the Journey
There are FREE tours to join if you do your research well. You can plan your routes and have a simple strategy that will have you saving cash every step of the way as you travel around Malaysia.
Every last Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the month, visitors to Penang can join in Free cultural activities and sightseeing tours.
- Khoo Kongsi
- Penang Botanic Gardens
- Street of George Town
Light up your weekend in Penang and join in with one of these FREE activities.
Set Price Alerts on Google
Google rolled out a new shopping search tool with a price tracking option that can help you save money.
You can search for different products you might buy — a T-shirt, board game or new video game system — and Google will notify you with an alert on your phone when the price drops.
Here’s how to search for something you want to buy with Google Shopping and set up alerts for when the price falls.
Buy your travel insurance early or for the entire year if you plan to travel a lot.
Travel insurance typically only covers the cost of nonrefundable bookings canceled for certain covered reasons, such as unexpected job loss or illness.
Look for Last-Minute Deals
The last-minute trip is not always more expensive than booking well in advance. If you need a hotel at the last minute, check last-minute deal sites such as Hotels Tonight
Use Borrowed Luggage
If you don’t travel very often, you can borrow a piece of luggage or two from friends or family. For short trips, remember to pack light.
If you are buying a hard case, look for one that has a 1 to 1 replacement policy with a 3-year warranty – this will lengthen the replacement cycle by years.
I found we base the best luggage on the recommendation from the shop. If you ask the assistant, they will recommend a bag that has the fewest return to the shop for repairs.
No matter how long you plan to be away, you need to pack minimally. A week’s supply of fresh clothing is sufficient. Remember to pack weather-appropriate clothing that matches.
Don’t forget your medicines and do bring along a list of generic names for your medication. Other essential accessories, such as travel-sized hygiene items, chargers and USBs, power adapters (for international travel), plastic bags, and a lock for your stuff.
If you forget to pack, you can always buy when you reach the destination.
Keep a Spare Outfit in Your Carry-On
For me, I pack a spare outfit and two changes of underwear in my carry on. For lost luggage, you can buy replacements and put in your claims later. However, sometimes it is difficult to find the right size and type of undergarments.
Most delayed bags are located within a couple of days, so one outfit should be enough. If you are flying Low-Cost Carrier, please check with individual airlines for their cabin luggage allowance.
In Malaysia, your cabin luggage will be weighed before you enter your gate.
Best Time to Travel to Save Money
If you’re flexible it is easier to plan your trips. You can choose to travel offseason.
Travel During the Low Season
The cheapest time to travel to any destination is the low season. Malaysia is a tropical destination with two rainy seasons, neither of which are fun for sun-seekers.
In Malaysia, the wet season on the Peninsula East Coast and in Sarawak region is between November and February. The Peninsula West Coast experience sunny weather. The wettest months on the west coast and in the Sabah region are April to October. So, plan your holidays accordingly.
If your travel dates are flexible if you can schedule your trip for the middle of the workweek. Most major airline’s fare calendar rises on Thursday and Friday, spike again on Sunday, and then falls to a low point on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Know the Local Holiday Calendar
It pays to know if you are planning a trip to Malaysia. The times you want to avoid are local public holidays and during the school holidays when the locals go for their trips.