This article was contributed by Revolut.
According to a survey conducted by Revolut in May 2021, 77% of those polled in Singapore would like to travel “as soon as possible”. With more countries reopening their borders and relaxing quarantine requirements for vaccinated inbound travellers, it seems our pent-up desire to see the world again will, at last, find an outlet.
But it’s also been more than a year since many of us travelled abroad. If you’re feeling some anxiety about getting back to it, you’re not alone. In a survey by London-based Inmarsat Aviation, 43% of respondents polled in Singapore said they expect to travel less frequently by air.
In the post-pandemic world, overseas travel is no longer just about money. Many of us now have to factor in additional time, in case we have to serve a quarantine due to exposure to an infected person. Some of us may even end up getting hospitalised and run up extra expenses.
“It is not at all strange to experience conflicting emotions around travelling,” says James Shanahan, CEO of Revolut Singapore. “But with sensible planning and personal responsibility, we can all come to enjoy travelling once again.”
Travelling in the “new normal” doesn’t have to be manic or confusing. If you can get your basics right, more than half the battle is already won. Remember “F.A.C.E”.
F is for Finance
The last thing you want is to be rushing around, trying to get currencies exchanged. Not only do you have to handle physical cash that has passed through many hands, you might also find yourself agreeing to unfavourable rates.
Using a multi-currency app like Revolut could benefit you in 3 ways:
One, you can exchange your SGD for another currency and hold it in an e-wallet in the app as part of your pre-departure prep. With Revolut, you can exchange and hold over 28 currencies at the interbank rate, which is better than the rates you will find at the airport money changers.
Two, if you’re going to a country whose currency is not one of the 28+ in-app currencies, you can still make withdrawals in the local currency (over 150, in fact!) using the Revolut ATM card. This card also doubles up as a contactless payment card. Revolut will perform the exchange using a currency that you have, e.g, SGD or USD, often at a more favourable rate.
Three, when you’re back home in Singapore, the Revolut app lets you exchange your remaining foreign currencies back to SGD — if you want to. Or, you can also just hold them in the app and use them for your next holiday.
A is for Admin
Before you let go of your worries and take in the sights and flavours of another country, don’t forget to do your homework. “Due to the force of habit, many of us may automatically look up information meant for departing travellers when in actual fact, we need to look for the requirements for inbound or arriving travellers to Singapore,” James comments.
You want to make sure you comply with the measures set down by the Singapore government for travellers coming here. Before you fly home, there is often a mandatory PCR or ART test you need to take no earlier than 48 hours before your departure. A reliable resource to always check up is ICA’s SafeTravel website.
Do also remember to research the arrival requirements of the country you are planning to visit and ensure they have reciprocal arrangements with Singapore or recognise the vaccination certificate issued by the Ministry of Health, and don’t forget to obtain your Vaccination Certificate and Pre-Departure Test Certificate on Notarise.
As a tip, you might want to set up an alarm in your phone’s calendar to remind you when you need to take a test for when you’re departing from or returning to Singapore. Where possible, book an appointment with a recognised provider so you don’t waste precious holiday time waiting in a queue.
C is for Coverage
What if you got diagnosed with COVID before you could return to Singapore? Whereas before many of us may have dispensed with travel insurance, it is simply foolhardy not to buy one now.
Some countries may even need you to show a physical copy of your policy upon entry. South Korea, for one, requires inbound travellers to have travel insurance with a minimum coverage of 30 million won (approximately SG$34,000) for COVID-related medical and hospitalisation costs.
If you or someone in your travelling party is infected with COVID, your friends or family members will be required to isolate themselves. You’ll have to be prepared to pay for these additional nights at your choice of accommodation, along with any other expenses, yourself.
Events like this can be extremely stressful — money- and time-wise. So, a way to mitigate all that stress is to be prepared and ensure you are adequately protected with travel insurance designed to take away some of that financial stress caused by COVID.
“Don’t wait till you’re at the airport to purchase your travel insurance. Some policies can cover you from as early as 30 days leading up to your departure date so if you’re forced to cancel or postpone your trip, say, 10 days before, you can be eligible for a payout,” James reminds us.
Oh! Also, print out physical copies of your policy in English and, if possible, the language of the country you’re visiting.
E is for Exposure (less is more!)
As a rule of thumb, we should still try to avoid crowded places to reduce our risk of exposure. Or, at the very least, do a bit of planning and pre-book tickets to attractions and make reservations for restaurants we want to check out.
“There is a Rewards feature built into the Revolut app where you’ll find cashback deals from brands like Agoda, Trip.com and Klook,” James says. “Book your day trip to Stonehenge or find a deal for a hotel in Seoul. This will save you time from standing in line or having to jostle with the crowd for tickets.”
For those who prefer to use their laptop or desktop to plan your trips, download the Revolut Shopper Chrome extension and Revolut will automatically apply these deals when you check out with your Revolut card.
There will be many unexpected twists and turns when it comes to travelling. With proper planning in place, you don’t have to be caught off-guard.
If you are interested, you can sign up for the Revolut card here.
This article is contributed by Revolut. Revolut is helping over 16 million customers worldwide to easily exchange currencies, perform overseas ATM withdrawals, and make contactless payments with little to no fees. Find out more at revolut.com.