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Image credit: FlickrKim and I are in Singapore this week visiting friends. We saved up for 18 months to make this trip happen and we have finally arrived. The weather is a little more humid than we’re used to but the island is beautiful and the people are great.

In the midst of our travels I thought I would share 5 things you can do to get the most out of your vacation:

1. BYOF (Bring Your Own Food) – It is amazing how much food costs in other places. If you can bring your own snacks, like protein bars, trail-mix, etc; That can save you a lot of money in the long run. Bringing your own drinks, can be a money saver as well. At the Singapore Zoo, the bottled drinks were $3.00 each, where the same drink only cost $1.25 at the local 7/11.

2. Pay Cash for it – There is something to be said for being able to pay cash for a vacation. It says, “I can afford it.” Generally speaking, if you don’t have the cash to pay for something, you can’t afford it. You have to resort to borrowing money from someone else to pay for something you can’t afford at the moment. I recently introduced to you the Countdown Fund, which I think is the best way to save up and pay cash for a vacation.

3. Google it Beforehand – Search on the internet to see what there is to do in the city you are visiting. We did this recently before our trip to Singapore. We were able to come up with a ton of options, one of which we just did yesterday, visiting the Singapore Zoo. I usually will type something like “Top 10 things to do in Singapore.” The way I see it, if someone spent time to research a place and has been there, they might be a good source of information.

4. Buy in Advance – Plane tickets and hotel rooms can be very costly. The earlier you can buy them, the better. This takes planning and having money already saved up in the bank, but can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

5. Set a Budget– Don’t just fly by the seat of your pants, because that can be dangerous and  not fulfilling in the end. If you make a plan and stick to it, it is amazing how much more liberating that can be. “How is it liberating?” you may ask. Because you know that you have the money to pay for everything you want to do. You don’t have to wonder how you are going to pay off the credit card you put the trip on at 14.95%. Or you don’t have to worry about how you are going to pay the bills when you get home. If you set a budget, and say you have $1,000 to work with, then you know exactly what you can AND cannot afford.

What other tips do you have to get the most out of your vacations?