They say that traveling is the best education. Saint Augustine once said that “the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” But what if life isn’t just about cooperating? There are simply just too many bills to pay. You have your necessities (such as food) that you need to prioritize spending for. There’s even the portion you have to set aside for savings. And to top it all off, you have limited resources to go around.
In the past few years, travelling has become the popular choice for millennials in spending what is left of their hard-earned income and their vacation days. Years ago, travel used to be something you’d save up for and finally do after years of working. But now, with the internet, cheaper airline ticket prices, and lower costs of accommodation, it has gotten much easier. World travel has become a more attainable target.
Some even work their budget entirely around it. When before they’d go out for coffee every morning, now they choose the cheaper option and brew their own. Or optional beauty expenses like breast enhancement pills are sacrificed for the sake of the all-important travel budget.
In Southeast Asia, Singapore has become one of the go-to travel destinations. And even if you’re on a budget, there are ways to still fully experience and enjoy Singapore. Here’s how:
Take advantage of that seat sale
Let’s face it. There are so many airlines today that we’ve lost count. But it’s been a good thing for travelers. With the industry being saturated, airlines are forced to compete to get everyone’s attention. And that means ticket sales discounts and promotions for the consumer.
Budget airlines are even an option now. If you’re traveling somewhere an hour or two away, then you don’t really need all those business class amenities, right?
Singapore’s Changi Airport is one of the busiest in the world. There’s no doubt that there are tens of airlines travelling to and from Singapore on a daily basis.
Subscribe to airline newsletters. Follow the social media accounts of airlines. Watch out for their next promo, their upcoming seat sale. You might just get your next ticket for as low as a dollar.
Who needs a travel agency?
You don’t need to book with a travel agency to get around. Get online and research the best places to go in Singapore. There’s a horde of travel sites giving advice on where to go for whatever activity you want to do.
Singapore may be small. It is just a city-state after all. But don’t be misled. Singapore is rich in history and culture. At the same time, it is quickly adapting to the future. So there is something for everyone.
While you’re at it, do some research on all the laws of Singapore. Singapore is known for its cleanliness and safety, and there’s a reason for that. It has a lot of strict laws which are being implemented that prohibit certain acts and behavior. For example, there is a ban on chewing gum and it is considered illegal to even import it into the country.
Fine dining on the streets
When someone says hawker food, Singapore usually comes to mind. Singapore is known for its hawker centers or food courts. And they are everywhere. Each hawker center has dozens of hawkers or food stalls to choose from. Food is guaranteed to be cheap and delicious.
Skip the fast food chains and the fancy restaurants, and go for the locals’ choice. Singapore’s street food scene will not disappoint you.
If you find yourself walking into a hawker center for a bite and you don’t know which stall to buy from, look at the lines. Whichever has a queue in front of it usually means that their food is good. So good that people are willing to wait and stand in line for it.
Some of the more popular hawker centers in Singapore are the Chinatown Complex (the biggest hawker center), Old Airport (one of the oldest), and Maxwell Road (home of the Michelin star Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice).
Skip the hotel accommodations
Yes, there are hundreds of hotels in Singapore. But the good ones usually do not come cheap. The hotels in good locations also tend to be pricier. If you want to stay somewhere more modestly priced, you’ll have to book farther from the popular locations.
Online marketplaces where people rent out their rooms or their entire properties to guests have gained popularity. This is because they’re typically cheaper without sacrificing the quality of your stay. Regular users would say that they offer better value for your money.
On the flip side, however, you won’t be getting the usual extras in hospitality that hotels would normally offer, like a free breakfast buffet. But in a city like Singapore, that shouldn’t really be a problem with good food being easily accessible anywhere.
Walk it out
Cars are a luxury in Singapore. Taxes imposed for purchasing one are so high that it’s meant to discourage you from buying one in the first place. That’s why almost everyone commutes there.
There are three main modes of public transportation in Singapore – taxis, buses, and the MRT (or the Mass Rapid Transit).
The most convenient are easily the taxis. They’ll get you from Point A to Point B with minimal effort on your part. But they are also the most expensive of the three. The cost of riding a taxi versus a bus or a train could be as much as nine times more outside of rush hour.
You can take the bus or the MRT, but understand that they have predetermined stops and stations. There’s no guarantee that there will be one near your location. Or that there will be one near your destination. Sometimes, you’ll have no choice but to walk. Walking has its benefits though; it’s free and you get to burn off calories from your last meal.
Once you’re in Singapore, you might notice that you’ll see barely anybody walking on the streets. It’s not because there’s no one around. It’s just that everyone’s underground. Singapore has a massive underground walkway system. And given the choice between that or walking under the scorching sun in the streets, you’ll definitely choose underground. They’re well-maintained, well-ventilated and safe, so you don’t have to worry about your personal safety. Some even have Instagram-worthy street art.
If you’re new at this whole traveling and backpacking thing, Singapore’s a good start. It’ll ease you in nicely and won’t leave you stressed out after your trip. But Singapore’s just one country among almost two hundred in the world. In Asia, there are forty-seven more you can explore. There’s so much to see. Travel more. And most importantly, have fun.
Melissa Lobo is a young and energetic writer, a mom to a sweet little boy, and a fur-mom to two perfect pooches. Before becoming the Associate Content Director for Project Female, she was a journalist specializing in topics related to women in politics and policy affecting women.