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Up to RM40 Tax for Flying Overseas Next Year. Use These Hacks To Cut Your Pre-Travel Costs

BY Nisya Aziz

Updated 11 Nov 2019

Did you know that the government has proposed to impose a departure levy (also known as a tourism tax) when you travel overseas which will take effect from 1 June 2019? The rate suggested is RM20 to ASEAN countries and RM40 for other countries like South Korea, Australia, US and etc. Yikes!


What's covered in this article?

Now, before any of you get salty about this, you should know that the departure levy rate here is still comparatively cheaper than most other countries. For example, Singapore is charging $47.30 (RM143.69), Thailand is at ฿700 (RM88.80) and Hong Kong SAR is at HK$120 (RM63.87), just to name a few. 

See… it’s not that bad, right? Yes, we may have to fork out that extra Ringgit, but do understand that this was proposed to boost domestic tourism, which is the backbone of our tourism industry. It is said that 50% of the tax collected will be shared with the state governments to develop their tourism activities/facilities. So, in a way, you’ll be helping the country to enhance the economy. 


But... if you’re still kiamsiap about it, there are hacks to reduce your pre-travel costs

1. Clear your browser’s cache

It’s okay, we’re not judging your browser history. But, when making a flight ticket price comparison, don’t forget to clear your browser’s cache and cookies with every new search. According to most kaki travels, some airline booking/travel sites can track the number of times you’ve visited their websites via your cache/cookies. 

Sometimes they’ll use this information to increase the flight ticket price a little - which results in you feeling kancheong and ending up buying the tickets ASAP. By clearing your browser cache and cookies, you’ll be seen as a first-time visitor, which means you’ll get to see the new/better offer instead. Oh, to save yourself the hassle, just use the incognito browser!


2. Buy tickets directly from the airline’s website

When possible, avoid buying flight tickets from travel agencies or third-party platforms like Expedia, Traveloka and etc. We agree that it’s way more convenient to do so... “Then, what’s the problem?”, you may ask. Well, it’s because they will usually charge you extra for their services including the surcharge, booking, change or cancellation fees.

Also, remember that some of the featured airfares advertised by the travel agencies or websites aren’t necessarily the cheapest or as good as they sound. This is because they might have formed a business partnership with participating airlines to increase their sales. 

So, if you want to save more on your travel costs, buy your flight tickets directly from the airline’s website. Just remember to do your homework first and compare the price of the flight tickets via Adioso or  Skyscanner.


3. Whip out your Travel Credit Card

Now, this only applies if you’re a frequent traveller. If you don’t have a travel credit card then you should start applying for one because it often comes with lots of perks that can be redeemed later such as FREE flights, travel inconvenience coverage (missed flight, lost and delayed luggage), and more. 

You can read more about the benefits of travel credit cards in our previous article. And, if you want to know which travel credit card suits you best, check out our credit card comparison tool.


4. Keep an eye on the currency exchange rate

In the Klang Valley, there are few money changer chains that offer great exchange rates like Vital Rate, Max Money, NS Cashpoint, UAE Exchange and Metro Exchange. But you shouldn't count on that alone. Do monitor the exchange rate at Bank Negara’s website or if you feel like you can't keep up, use a rate tracker by TransferWise to get notifications on the latest exchange rate.

It is said that when the US exchange rate depreciates, other currency value would usually drop as well (this doesn’t happen often). When this happens, take the opportunity to change your money even if your travelling date is months away. No doubt that it’s a bit mafan, but if you’re rajin enough, you’ll save some moolah.


5. Take full advantage of the free check-in/carry on luggage

Basically, if you’re just travelling for 3 to 4 days, paying for checked baggage fees wouldn't make any financial sense (unless you love shopping abroad) - especially when your level of cheapskate-ness is high. This is why you should master the art of packing lightly and start wearing many layers of shirts/pants. But first, you need to know your airline’s luggage policy. 

For example, FireFly gives you 20kg baggage allowance, while AirAsia provides you with a free 7kg carry-on luggage in the form of 1 cabin bag and 1 laptop bag/handbag. Malaysia Airlines, on the other hand, offers 30kg (economy class), 40kg (business class) and 50kg (first class) for checked-in baggage allowance for all international destinations, except for North/South America. 

All in all, there are so many other ways to reduce your pre-travelling costs. That being said, it depends on your financial capability, lifestyle, needs and level of frugality. If you have any other tips to cut cost, don’t forget to share with us in the FB comment section!
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About the Author

Nisya Aziz

A storyteller at Finology, who drinks coffee like its water, Nisya enjoy bringing valuable, educational and entertaining content to others. When not busy crafting content, you’ll find her in the boulder gym or on stage, performing theatre shows.


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