The bucketlist every 20-something should complete.
We might live on our very own tropical island, but that doesn’t stop us from dreaming about exploring ancient ruins and climbing mountains… or wandering around a pool in a whimsical kaftan, mojito in hand.
We know, you’re thinking: “Yes… but it’s so much admin.” We agree. But the reason we all rush to pack our bags and book something before a long weekend, is that stepping away from normality recharges us in a way that weekend brunch at our local cannot. We live in a country surrounded by some of the most incredibly beautiful and historic places in the world – let this be the year you explore them!
And, with us doing all the research, all you need to do is book, pack and leave the island.
The cheap girl’s guide to the best travel deals
Think travel agents are now exclusively for aunties who haven’t mastered the Internet? Think again! Travel fairs held at Expo (like the annual NATAS Travel Fair) and Marina Bay Sands (like Travel Revolution) have some of the most incredible deals you will find anywhere, on- or offline.
The Internet is, of course, your second-best source of travel deals. Start by filling your inbox with promotions. Sign up to flash deal sites like Groupon Getaways, which has crazy cheap offerings such as a hotel and ferry to Batam for just $50 and five-star hotel stays at half price. Low-fare alerts from all the local budget carriers – Jetstar, Tiger, Air Asia, Scoot, Silk Air – are also a must, and if there’s a particular route you’re interested in, sign up for low-fare alerts from a travel aggregator like Kayak, Expedia, Skyscanner and Zuji.
As for accommodation, browse sites like Agoda, Wotif, Last Minute, Booking Buddy, Trivago and Tripadvisor, but make sure you cross-reference both the deal and the reviews with other sites. You want to look for accounts written by real hotel guests, not fake reviews planted by the hotel themselves (quick tip: click on any glowing reviews to see if this is the only place they seem to have liked enough to comment on).
Before you book online, call the hotel to see if they are willing to match the online price if you book through them directly. Too often, there are system glitches that mean rooms booked online through aggregators aren’t available when travellers turn up at the hotel. Also, hotels don’t usually need you to pay in advance so if something happens and you have to change your booking, you won’t have flushed money away.
Whilst hotels are (usually) the easy and reliable option, they aren’t necessarily the best way to experience a destination. Airbnb lets you stay in people’s homes for a more authentic insight to local life. It’s not always cheaper than a hotel if you decide to book an entire home (as opposed to a room in someone’s home), but it can be a lot more memorable.
How to score an upgrade
The key to really living the high life up the front of the plane is to not pay for it yourself !
The most likely way to get yourself upgraded is to be a loyal customer who spends a lot of money with an airline. Secondly, you’ll need to dress and act as though you are worthy of being bumped up a class, so bury your comfy clothes in the bottom of your suitcase and dress for business, literally!
Then pull out all your charms when you check in. Once you’ve thrown in a few pleasantries, you can ask how full the plane is and whether there is any chance of an upgrade. Google ahead to see if there are any tricks or wait lists for your particular airline.
“I’d definitely recommend Laos, as it’s a destination that’s just opening up and hasn’t become too touristy yet. People need to go there in 2017 before it becomes too crowded, especially now that you can fly to Laos directly from Singapore.”
Jaclynn Seah, travel blogger for The Occassional Traveller (theoccasionaltraveller.com)
1 Jaclynn taking in
the sights of the
2 A majestic