My free time is now occupied by crafting the perfect and COST EFFICIENT Singapore holiday for me, the hubby and our two “kids” (I.E: The baby bro and the baby sis). One of the few things you must realize is that we are intent of saving a few Singaporean Dollars while having the trip of a lifetime. The Queen and I have been to Singapore and basically experienced some of the really cool things (cable car ride, Underwater World, Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Merlion and the whole enchilada). The only things we haven’t seen are the attractions built and open in mid-2010 onwards. Hence, we have yet to experience Marina Bay Sands, Resorts World Singapore and Universal Studios Singapore.
However, the baby bro and the hubby are traveling to SG for the first time, and me being the “travel expert” of the family is currently drafting an enjoyable and CHEAP itinerary for the rest of the family. Do note that we are doing this trip on a very strict budget, but we wouldn’t want to compromise the quality of the trip. I’ve arranged three family overseas trips prior to this and I am very proud of the fact that we’ve come across really cool deals that didn’t put strain our budget. I managed to find a hotel in HK which the hubby and I got from 6k for a 3 day and 2 night stay; a hotel in HK in 2008 where the sibs and I stayed for roughly 1k each for 3 days. In short, I am quite used to penny pinching while ensuring that we don’t feel short-changed of the experience.
To save money, here’s what we are doing right now:
1. We availed of a budget fare from JetStar.com – for 4k round trip, you can’t go wrong. Yeah, I know JetStar’s F.A.s are quite aloof and “masungit” but they are very efficient, the same way the airline is known for its efficiency and safety. Plus, JetStar lands on the Changi Main Terminal (Terminal 1) and not on the budget terminal like Cebu Pacific. Maybe this is also the main reason why we don’t book Ceb Pac for SG…we don’t like landing on the budget terminal.
2. I am usually very dependent on AsiaTravel.com and Octopus Travel.com for hotel booking, but right now I am also directly emailing hotels to inquire about their rates. Aside from the fact that rates given directly by hotels are way cheaper compared to travel sites (of course, these sites has to make a living right?), asking hotels directly gives me a chance to negotiate for rates. Singapore hotel rates are very expensive: the cost of staying in a 2 star hostel/budget hotels is comparable to rates for 3-star hotels in HK.
3. Our itinerary is a mixture of costly attractions (Universal Studio Singapore–which is a must, we think) and cheap activities (strolling on the Esplanade, visit to Sentosa) where we plan on spending on really important things. For example, this early we voted off riding the cable car going to Sentosa (which costs SGD 24 each) and instead use the newly opened Sentosa Boardwalk, which only charges SGD1, and offers a refreshing view of the marina from Vivo City going to Sentosa. The SG23 which we were able to save, I am transferring the expenses to viewing the Songs of the Sea (SOS) program at night (which costs only SGD12 or SGD13, I think). Also, our itinerary for the first day is composed mostly of FREE activities, except for the climb up the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark (SGD20) which we think is a must for everyone.
4. Its Hawker Fare all the way, baby! We spend time watching Singaporean culinary lifestyle shows over at Asian Food Channel (a part of our itinerary for the Orchard Road stop of the trip), so we are already salivating with the idea of eating SGD3-SGD4 fare. My hubby is obsessed right now with Hainanese Chicken rice so we will definitely visit the original Wee Nam Kee.
5. Other “diskartes”
* Buy USS tickets online so that we will be able to skip the long lines.
* Buy a 3-day Tourist Pass which we can use going around Singapore, plus it has a SGD10 refundable fee when we return it at the airport before leaving for Manila.
* Buy water and other consumables in groceries instead of 7-11.
I am really excited about this trip, and quite honestly this is the only ray of sunshine in my otherwise miserable everyday existence. Planning the trip keeps me sane and alive, and gives me something to look forward to.